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Showing posts from January, 2017

Trump in his supporters' words

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There is a lovely twitter post by the Toronto Star's Washington correspondent, who asked various Trump supporters in Washington for the inauguration their view of the man they admired.  He tweeted their responses with their pictures, without comment.  Have a read.  If you are cynical about Mr. Trump, you will find the responses intriguing, and will certainly be left asking, "But how could they think this?"


Theresa May and the delusion of a special relationship

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Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, has arrived in the US to be the first foreign leader to meet President Trump, and she sounded as if she was in optimistic form, suggesting that “opposites attract”.  The visit has caused a resurgence of hope in Britain that the much vaunted “Special Relationship” is back in vogue.  In Britain, the term “special relationship” refers to what is believed to be a unique partnership between the two English-speaking powers of Britain and its old colonies across the Atlantic. 
The problem is that Britain is rather more devoted to the idea than the United States.  Whilst the new president undoubtedly has some anglophilic tendencies – he is, for example, restoring the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office, and speaks positively about the British vote to leave the EU – the British prime minister should tread warily.  Mr. Trump himself is quite clear in his commitment to “America First” – it dominated the thinking in his inauguration speech – but B…

Supreme Court defends constitution

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Tempers have calmed down a bit in the more extreme fringes of the media and the decision of the Supreme Court justices - by an 8-3 majority - to reiterate the lower court ruling that parliament is sovereign when it comes to legislation, may be greeted by rather less fuss than met the original lower court conclusion.

In part, this may be because the fanatical Brexiters have now realised that their precious project - whatever form it finally takes - isn't going to be blocked by parliament.  The rage of the Sun and Daily Mail tribe and all their acolytes was never about constitutional propriety and always about the invidious cheek of anyone daring to challenge Brexit.  But parliament will accede to May's request to initiate Article 50.  It was always going to.

I forget what the Spectator magazine stance was when the first ruling was made, but editor Fraser Nelson has this time produced a careful and effective acknowledgement of why the Supreme Court was right.  It's well wo…

The certifiable lunacy of the Trump White House

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Has the White House had a certifiable lunatic as its resident in previous years?  Here we are in the second day of the Trump presidency and the most important thing on the mind of the most powerful individual in the world is how big his crowds were at the inauguration.

As he addressed his intelligence community - or part of it - you might have thought he could have come up with slightly more pressing topics of consideration for his speech.  But nope.  Crowd numbers and the mendacity of the press were his highlights.

We know Trump cares about his ratings.  During his bizarre transitional period he found time to lambast Arnold Schwarzenegger for his low ratings as the new host of the "Apprentice".  He even gave himself a nickname.  "Ratings Machine DJT".  So this stuff is important.

The two picture above have had wide circulation.  The top one shows the crowd for Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009.  The second shows the crowd for Donald Trump's inaug…

Give Trump a chance

Donald Trump has broken a lot of norms, but it is likely he might keep to one at least - making his inaugural address today an address that reaches beyond party or personal politics to speak to the nation, and the world, at large. He'll doubtless do it in inimitable Trumpian style, but the man we hear today won't be Twitter Trump.  It should at last be President Trump.

His has been the most chaotic transition in a long time, not least because of the large number of potential ethics and financial conflicts from his predominantly billionaire cabinet.  Trump lowered standards himself with his failure to make his tax returns public - and even to hint that he hadn't paid any - so it was hardly likely that his conflicted cabinet nominees would somehow try and raise the bar again. I wonder whether future political candidates will decide that it is worth keeping to the Trump standards?  I think they'd like to, but I suspect they will lack his sheer chutzpah and that utterly f…

Trump's New Normal

The Washington Post puts it best here:

Washington veterans marvel at how much Trump has been able to get away with because he just doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks. The president-elect has disregarded the longstanding tradition that there should only be one president at a time. He talked to the leader of Taiwan in contravention of the One China policy; his national security adviser has been in contact with a senior Russian government official. He’s refused to fully divest his financial holdings, given his son-in-law a government job and ordered his aides to declare war on an independent ethics office that raised questions about these arrangements.

Just reading through that reminds us of how far the goalposts have moved.  This may be a failure of news reporting, although to be fair most outlets are busy trying to hold Trump accountable; there is just so much material that it's difficult to keep track.  Perhaps the big problem is the lack of obvious public discontent.  Th…