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Trump, Brexit & Little England

The world is looking a little gloomy to me at the moment.  Yesterday the Russian Prime Minister, Demitry Medvedev’s intransigence over the faltering Syrian ceasefire, left him warning that the world was “slipping into a new cold war.”  So we look to the USA to provide some kind of leadership and what do we see:  A real possibility of Donald Trump being elected as the next president.  It’s true there is a long way to go between now and the US elections in November, but I am struck by how Hilary Clinton is losing traction and I can’t see her biggest challenger and ‘socialist’ Bernie Sanders, beating Trump.  The Americans, like Labour party members in the UK – and the electorates of Greece and Spain, are looking for anti-establishment figures.  Bernie Sanders tied with Hilary in Iowa and thrashed her in New Hampshire.  To many Americans, she looks like too much of a shoe-in and I think that many more are going to reject her as the primaries go forward.  Yet the more bonkers Donald Trump behaves, the more people seem to want to vote for him.  Memories of Mayor Boris Johnson’s clowning, except his relatively inoffensive, visionless approach to running London has been a far cry from Trump’s proposed banning of muslims entering the USA.  Trump is like Bush on steroids (with a dash of Sarah Palin), exactly what Putin needs to give him the excuse to invade another sovereign piece of territory. The potent mix of ISIS, Trump, President Assad, Putin and a bumbling, ineffective EU could lead us into something devastating.

Meanwhile, David Cameron is entrenched in the fight of his political career.  Staying in the EU would appear to depend on his ‘tinkering around the edges’ agreement with Merkel and fellow EU leaders.  Yet the latest EU referendum polls tell us that the Leave camp has an impressive lead of 56% compared to Remain’s 44%, with less than 20 weeks until the likely referendum date of 23 June 2016.  I have grave doubts that the Prime Minister can turn this around.  Is the UK about to exit the EU?  Quite possibly.  And that will be the perfect excuse for the SNP, riding high on their May 2016 win in the Scottish election, to declare that there have been substantive changes that make a further referendum on Scottish Independence appropriate.  Many Scots were angered by Westminster’s half empty promises from the 2014 independence campaign.  This time the SNP could well win.  Not only will the UK be leaving the EU, but England will lose its partner of more than three centuries, Scotland.  So at a time when global relationships are so vital, when we need to work together on security, climate change, economic development and global inequality, England with Wales and Northern Ireland goes solo.  Of course we will still be able to look to our special relationship with the USA and President Trump.


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