President Trump

Well it’s been an interesting start to Trumps Presidency.

Over here in the United Kingdom the public reaction has been well to put it mildly hostile. The Media has been quite frankly negative particularly the major TV stations. The emphasis is on America moving to a protectionism not seen since the 1920’s. Trumps inauguration speech was treated with a sense of fear across the  European continent. Perhaps with the exception of the United Kingdom who have moved to befriend Trump following the Brexit vote some 7 months ago. A wise move in my opinion. After all Trump does consider himself half British and is very much an anglophile. A condition we need to nurture for the next 4 years. This can only be good for my country but the road may be a rocky one.

There should be no fear that Trump advocates America 1st. Every leaders first priority should be solely to act in the interest of their country and it’s citizens. He has not been elected to lead the World he has been elected to lead America. Why should anyone expect any less of him? Why has this speech been thought to be America closing in on itself? I actually think the opposite for reasons I will explain

In his 1st few days Trump has issued quite a few Executive Presidential orders. These have become a feature of the medias attacks on him. However it is not uncommon for these orders to be issued. Franklin Delanor Roosevelt was a prime instigator and he is regarded as one of America’s greatest presidents. There are others, look them up, but Obama was not one of them. Maybe the reason they have become controversial.

The latest ban on entry to the United States from 7 countries stands out as controversial as it is seen as an attack on Muslims as all 7 have predominant Muslim populations. They also which seems missed in the Media, are in the main Countries which harbour Islamic fundamentalists and anti American sentiment. The ban is limited to 3 months as I understand it. Whilst I make no judgement on this ban I can understand the reasons behind it. It was after all a campaign promise by candidate Trump and one he was elected on. I do think however it should have had an agreed deferment time to spare all those already in the air or on the way. Not thought through properly but Trump likes to put things in place immediately and then move on to the next problem.

The wall again was a major campaign pledge and we should not be surprised that he is pushing this through. From what I read it looks like the Great wall of China will be copied across the border. If the Chinese could do it 400 years ago surely America can?

The major issue though and one on which I believe Trump will be judged in History is not America First but what he does with Putin and Russia. It has to be a good thing, I believe, to have a go at understanding Putin and Russia’s place in the World. Lets face it Obama never did and his Presidency created or prolonged the instability in the Middle East. His Foreign policy in the middle East and Libya was disastrous for the world although Bush and Blair are primarily to blame.

Putin has seen Russian influence in the World sink. Much of Eastern Europe has fallen under the influence of the West. Many Eastern European countries are now part of the European Union and all now within Nato. We need to accept that Democracy as we see it is not the be all and end all in all parts of this amazing world we live in. We need to accept and live with all different religions and cultures.

The Ukraine over through a Democratically elected President who favoured closer links with Russia. America and the west supported them and their wish to join the European Union and eventually join NATO. One can only guess what Putin thought of this. His annexation of The Crimea was denounced by the West despite an overwhelming wish of the people of The Ukraine to rejoin their Russian colleagues. Ukraine had been an integral of Russia for over 400 years before the break up of the Soviet Union and there remains a large proportion of the Ukraine population who regard themselves as ethnically Russian. No surprise there but not talked about in the West despite it’s adherence of democracy and the will of the people.

Trump rightly regards Putin as a strong leader focusing on Russia and it’s influence on the World stage. Having been to Russia recently my belief is that Putin is a highly respected leader and one who puts Russia first. Putin wants a relationship with Trump of that I have no doubt. Both parties want a deal but both want to be seen to benefitting from a better relationship

Over the next year I expect the following to happen

NATO will be re organised with each country making a 2% contribution to it’s costs. America’s financial contribution will reduce but not it’s commitment to defend the borders. The Press have long focussed on the Baltic States being under threat from Putin’s Russia. Nothing could be further from the truth in my view. An attack upon the Baltic States would be an attack against the European Union as well as Nato and one that would have no benefit for Russia or Mr Putin. Even if I have this wrong Trump could not sit back and let him take them. Whatever Trump is he wants to be seen himself as a strong leader. Putin would only invade if he felt Trump would do nothing. The time for Putin to act would have been under Obama not Trump. There appears to be a degree of respect between Trump and Putin  and I expect they will live together in peace

Trump will agree to a deal in Syria initially accepting President Assad in some form of government role. Potentially a coalition government overseen by Russia and supported by other local countries perhaps including Iran with limited involvement from America

The Ukraine will split in two or a settlement reached guaranteeing it’s independence and neutrality. There will be no more push for it to join the West

Trump and Putin will agree to form an alliance to rid the world of ISIS. How they do this remains to be seen but I have no doubt after a settlement has been reached in Syria and possibly Ukraine an all out attack on Syrian and Iraqi occupied territory will commence.

Other issue include America’s relationship with China, revitalising deprived areas in the rust belt of America and taking on the drugs cartels and reducing illegal immigration to the country. A feature for future blogs I think

This President will certainly keep me and the media busy as he rolls out his promises to the Nation and the World

Interesting times

Regards

Grey Moustache

 

 

 

 

 

President Trump. Why the surprise??

Well I went to bed on Tuesday night here in the U.K with every political commentator on the BBC and our Commercial TV stations ITV and Sky all calling the election for Hillary Clinton. The polls said she had a 4 -6 point lead and in the battleground states she was ahead in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. The latter because the Hispanic vote which had come out early in Florida was expected to vote en masse for Hillary. It did not. Mainly due to Obama’s recent deal with Cuba which many felt to soon and too lenient.

I also understood that the  US networks were all set to call the election for Clinton at 10pm on the basis of exit polls. Then the results started to come in and a different picture emerged. There are echoes here of the 1948 election when a major US newspaper called the election for Thomas Dewey in its headline when Harry Truman clearly won.

Echoes of Brexit here.

So why were we all surprised both in the UK and over in the USA. the answer is simply The MEDIA. They are out of touch with the Public and did little to explore the real intentions of the voting public and what their concerns are. The same is true in the UK. The media over here has presented a negative view of the President elect. Apparently his approval rating over here is just 15%. Well part of that is down to the negative campaign and to some of the things he said about Women, Immigration and his opponent. You only had to listen to a popular  BBC political programme called Question Time when David Dimbleby the presenter found it hard to find a Trump supporter. If he did the cry went up “Shame”. Celebrities when interviewed here apologised. They were all for Hillary but she lost.

If we had an unbiased media and if the pollsters would have looked under the surface we should not have been surprised. It was the same both sides of the Pond. The media should look to change and just explore the facts and look under the surface. The Washington post to it’s credit reported favourably on a speech Trump gave a week before the Election on Strategy and policy. However they said whilst they supported what was said it was too late to effect the Election. How wrong they were.

America needed CHANGE and the ONLY candidate to offer that was Trump

 

That’s why he won and why our polls and Media did not see this coming I do not know.

Grey Moustache believes Trump has a great opportunity here with both Congress and Senate Republican to implement change. He will need to water down some of his outlandish statements and listen to his advisors.

Judge him by what he does not what he says.

He will I believe be tough on Immigration, Open on Foreign Policy, tough again on free trade deals, reduce taxes particularly to businesses whilst investing in American Infrastructure.

If he can achieve most of this his popularity will go stratospheric and he will walk the 2020 election. A lot of so called experts and current opponents of this man could look extremely silly to put it mildly. It’s really now all down to him how history will judge this presidency. Great or Negligent. I can’t see a middle way for this President.

 

 

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Clinton v Trump. The Great Debate

I have been fascinated by American Politics since I was a teenager and followed the Presidential race between Kennedy and Nixon. The result was as close as it could be with Kennedy scrapping through on the popular vote just but convincingly on the electoral College vote. The subsequent closest election was Gore v Bush Jnr where Gore won the popular vote and Bush the college. Hence we had 8 years of the disastrous presidency of George W Bush

I recorded the Monday night debate as it commenced 2am London time and watched it all the following afternoon. All the media in the UK declared Hilary the “winner”. I have to say she was prepared, articulate and cool and calm. Trump was self promoting argumentative but essentially believing that he can win and America wants change. Essentially that is what this election is all about. Hilary represents the No change option. She is a died in the wool politician and part of the establishment. Trump is the change candidate who seeks to run America as a business. For the 1st time in many years there is a candidate not part of the political elite who, if elected, would not be beholding to any donors/supporters having primarily funded the costs of the Election himself. If he wins big and gets a Republican congress he could be a Strong President. The last one I would describe as strong was Ronald Reagan a late comer to politics and essentially an outsider originally.

The problem he has though is that America has currently a President who was a rooky politician and may not want another one. Clearly this is his Achilles heal and one I feel not yet fully exploited by the Clinton camp. His policies appear “irresponsible” to the political elite but are they??

He has been attacked in this debate and in the English media for

Not releasing detail of his tax returns

Having supposedly supported the Iraq was but now saying he did not

His opposition to Barak Obama and to whether he was born in Hawaii or Kenya

His temperate nature and his suitability to have his finger on the nuclear trigger. This I believe is the main issue he needs to attack. He is a successful and rich businessman. You do not get there by having a bad temperate. He is a highly intelligent man proven to make judgement, decisions and act accordingly. He is fully aware of his responsibilities in having nuclear weapons. He speaks highly of Vladimir Putin and Putin of him. This eliminates the nuclear threat between these two countries and if the can work and negotiate effectively with each other we may benefit from a more peaceful world

All these may have hurt him but in essence apart from the last one are they really crucial to his ability to run the USA and be an effective President. I am not at all sure

On the plus side he offers policies to bring jobs back to the Country, Trade agreements that support American business, A tougher immigration policy which is becoming popular throughout the world now esp. in my country and tighter fiscal control with lower taxes for business  allowing them funds to expand and subsequently take on  employees. He is also seeking to revise Nato and get the countries it supports to make a positive contribution and not rely almost entirely on American funded support

In summary he wants to renew America

Clinton focusses on higher taxes for the rich, a greener world and a robust foreign policy continuing with America’s role to police the world. It is essentially more of the same and a continuation of the Obama legacy of which she played a large part over the 1st 4years of his Presidency

Essentially the American public have a distinct choice here. Its one of a proven competent well informed experienced politician against an assured and now successful businessman who has ideas which resonate with a good deal of the Electors but are deemed by the media and political elite to be outlandish and ill thought out. Whilst the media will continue to promote Clinton the American public will decide on the 8th November which one it will be. Do they want change or more of the same. I am not sure which way it will jump. But it will have to decide in just 6 weeks time

 

 

 

 

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Syria Whose to Blame

The war in Syria has lasted more than 5 years now and may now be reaching a crucial phase. Tragically we see on our TV screens and read in our papers the atrocities happening on a daily basis Aleppo. Children are at the forefront and hospitals are being bombed and aide convoys carrying food are destroyed on route to starving civilians caught up in a dispute which could have been prevented and resolved 4 years ago. The “government”forces of President Assad supported by Russia are currently “on the march” and believe they can retake whatever is left of the Eastern part of Aleppo effectively by bombing it into the ground. This I regret to say is not a new form of warfare as history clearly shows us most recently in Vietnam and to a greater state WW2. The laws of humanity are ignored in a bid to eliminate anyone who stands against you. The difference here is that this is effectively a Syrian civil War fought entirely within the borders of one country. To look for a peaceful solution one has to look at the causes and deal with them

Syria had been a relatively stable Country albeit run by a one party state until the advent and spread of the so called “Arab spring” when we saw the rise of dissent with “dictatorial” Arab regimes across the North of Africa and eventually spreading into Syria. Dictatorships are not uncommon around this world of ours and in some cases do work.This was regretfully encouraged by the Democratic governments in the West to see an end to these regimes which were not party to our view of Democracy. In effect the West lead by the United States and followed by  Cameron government supported the rebel regimes in Libya, now a failed state, and Syria with disastrous consequences for the civilians of these countries. The entry of Russia in support of the Assad regime has aggravated the matter to put it mildly. Russia has long had strategic interests in the area and seeks to maintain these by support for Assad. This should come as no surprise and their entry may hasten the demise of ISIS when attention switches to the fall of the ISIS capital.

Effectively the West needs to find a way to bring a permanent cease fire to the attack upon Aleppo. To do this it must grip it teeth and do things it would rather not consider.. To walk out of The United Nations when the representative from the Syrian Arab Republic speaks as happened yesterday serves nobody and exasperates the problem

The West must accept that Assad will have  to be involved in any future peace negotiations. To ignore him whilst he is “advancing” is just plain stupid

We need to get Russia on side to achieve any sort of peace in this region. Their views need to be respected. They are the only people who can persuade Assad to seek peace whilst he is effectively advancing. This comes at a price and we may have to look at withdrawing the sanctions against the Russian Federation and bringing them back into the International Fraternity. Ukraine is the reason for these sanctions which I will tackle in a separate blog. I actually believe Vladimir Putin wants to be seen as a strong Russian Leader on the World stage and bringing peace to Syria would do this. We can then all focus upon the destruction of ISIS. But it will not happen until the West and effectively the current American administration grits its teeth and bites the bullet here. I know the so called rebels in Syria would not wish to pursue a peace that may include Assad but they are currently fighting a war they cannot win and someone needs to tell them this. If this war continues the horrors and the plight of civilians will continue and nobody wins.

So lets hope that someone can see sense and give way on Assad and Russia. There is a lot to be gained here. However blaming Russia or the Assad regime for bombing the relief convoy of food for Aleppo and as I said walking out at The United Nations just takes us backward whilst innocent civilians suffer. It may be good to look strong and criticise or punish the other side but this does not move peace nearer. Whilst I do not support peace on any terms its just plain ridiculous to do this whilst innocents suffer

Please lets bring this Nightmare to an end

 

 

Labour Leader Election Farce

I’m back after a long holiday and looking forward to a few more comments on the Political Climate and General News stories. There is a lot going on at the moment and much of it badly managed

I thought I’d start with the Re Election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader again in what can reliably be called a landslide as expected.

How did the Labour Party come to this?

They have elected again someone with  left wing views and with virtually no support among his parliamentary colleagues. The country as a whole is looking for strong leadership and a possible left of centre leaning party to govern the country. The Labour party in the past has been that party under the Leadership of Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan not forgetting Tony Blair who won 3 general elections comfortably. All with maybe the exception of Tony Blair, who was right of Centre, were from the left and successfully electable having moved to the Centre. The country is generally run by governments elected from the so called centre ground of politics.

Corbyn is on the far left of the party. So how was he elected when the current climate suggests he is unelectable and unwanted by the majority of people in this country to govern us?

The truth is in the ridiculous and scandalous election process of the party put into place by the last Labour leader Ed Milliband. By throwing open the election of its leader to all members of the Labour party and selling it as being the greatest test of democracy it has effectively destroyed the party.

A Leader that is elected by party members still requires the support of the majority, if not all, of its Members of Parliament to lead the party and either govern the country  or prove an effective opposition. Corbyn does not have this and is unlikely to bring the party together with his current MPs. This recent re election has proved nothing

The solution is that the party needs to choose its leader as the Conservative party does by a majority vote of MPs. There is no other way. Corbyn would not win but at least we would get a united parliamentary party able to act as an effective opposition. This is not going to happen in the near future so the Labour party is heading for turmoil over the coming years and although it will retain its heartland support in the big cities it will take an almighty “balls up” by Teresa May on Brexit or an unforeseen crisis for Labour to be in government in the near future

The other major issue will be the Labour manifesto at the 2020 general election if Corbyn survives as I expect he will. Many current Labour MPS could not seriously campaign on a Corbyn written agenda. This will run the risk of many current MPs not standing on this Manifesto or alternatively forming their own party.

Interesting times and I will follow developments closely

 

 

 

 

Beirut Suicide Bombings. Why limited media coverage??

The bombings and massacre of innocent civilians in Paris has shocked the civilised.It has rightly had blanket media coverage in the U.K. However there has been limited media reporting of the suicide bombs in Beirut killing dozens of innocent people. The BBC devoted its entire news programme to Paris but not a word on Beirut which happened on the same day. Shame on the BBC which is supposed to report news worldwide. Whilst the numbers dead and injured in Paris far exceed those in Lebanon the crime is the same and deserve a mention to understand the scale of ISIS s intentions. Do we just take terrorist attacks in The Middle East now for granted and are shocked when these attacks reach Europe. If so its poor reporting. The people of Lebanon deserve our sympathy and support as much as Paris. Let’s hear it for the people of Beirut who are in the front line of this terrible conflict.

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Jeremy Corbyn. New Labour Leader. How did this happen?

Well the Labour party now have a new leader elected on the 1st ballot gaining almost 60% of the vote on what can only be described as a Landslide victory. Then why is that someone who only got onto the ballot paper at the very last minute, was unknown by most of the public outside his constituency, is a committed socialist and has not held any office in government or in opposition, achieve such a resounding success?.

I’ll attribute this to 3 main reasons

The quality and  in some cases the lack lustre approach of his rivals.

Andy Burnham was the pre election favourite. He was expected to win comfortably but failed abysmally with just 19% of the party voting for him. His campaign was lacklustre and he was seen by most to have no coherent new policies to offer the voters. He lacked charm and control of an audience. He looked indecisive and changed views on policy mid stream. He did not look like a man with leadership qualities.

Yvette Cooper only really got going in the last two weeks of the election when most people had already voted or decided. She showed her leadership qualities over the Migrant Crisis but at that point it was to late. She remains a politician of considerable ability but not one to challenge the establishment and say things straight as Corbyn was perceived to do. She remains of the politically correct persuasion and a follower rather than a leader. She is popular with her fellow MPs though. Its disappointing that she has said that she will not take up a shadow cabinet post under Corbyn. He needed her experience and a challenge face in his shadow team

Liz Kendal is inexperienced although she held the support of the solid Blairite  members of the party and particularly many senior MPs who we will see returning to the back benches. Her day will come. She is young and will gain from experience

Against this Jeremy Corbyn was seen as a fresh face, answered questions as they were put to him and offered a return to traditional socialist values which members found attractive. Of significance is that he is seen as a good man who means what he says and will do as he says. I would not describe him as charismatic but he does come across as a decent human being.

There are other MPs who could have run and perhaps are more charismatic  and have leadership credentials who perhaps saw that this was not the right time for them to run. Chuka Umanna and Dan Jarvis are the main characters here. Both of whom were creditable contenders and who may have won support and ran more effective campaigns against the left leaning Corbyn. We will never know.The party is almost 100 seats behind the Conservatives and the 2020 election appears a mountain to climb. So maybe they are keeping their powder dry.

There is now also the potential return to the UK before 2020 of the other Milliband brother who may return as a “saviour” of his party should Corbyn fail to build a consensus  Much depends on Corbyn and his ability or otherwise to build bridges and try to unite a party which appears irrevocably split.

The Election Rules

The previous Labour leader Ed Milliband was instrumental in changing the election leadership process. Possibly embarrassed a little about how he gained the leadership at the expense of his brother. If it were not for the trade Union block vote David Milliband would be leader of the Labour party. The Electoral system allowed individuals who had nominations supported by at least 35 fellow MPs to stand. Corbyn obtained this support at the very last moment in the interests of a broad spread of views standing across the party. He was even persuaded to run but not expected to have any chance of winning.. The Election term allowed for a “debate” to take place over a 3 month period. Much too long in my view. During this period new members could join by payment of £3 and have a vote in this election process. In addition “affiliated” members and that would  mean those individuals who are members of a trade Union would also have the ability to vote. In effect there were over 600,000 people able to vote of which 76% took advantage of this.

This system whilst seeming to democratic is a farce. In effect Corbyn has been elected overwhelmingly by the “current” members of the party but has limited support from his fellow MPs for his policies. To elect an individual to the leadership of his party without the support of the MPs of his party is a recipe for instability as we will see in the coming months. The scale of his victory however suggests that there will be no MP revolt in the short term.

The Election Loss

The loss of the 2010 election which Labour expected to win or at the very least govern as a minority with SNP support was a shock to the core. Many in the party seek change and a fresh approach. There was a considerable focus of moving the party back to its traditional roots particularly by the trade Union movement. Nobody presented a viable alternative to this apart from perhaps more of the same.

Corbyn represents a complete change of direction and the members responded to this. Effectively his victory has negated everything that Neil Kinnock and his successor Blair sought to do by moving labour from a Left of centre party to a more party of the Centre Ground. In this country both Kinnock , Blair and Brown became aware that elections were won from the centre and not the left. That change created New Labour and a landslide general election in 1997. New Labour is in a “coma” now ( it may reawaken) and the old traditional Labour party with socialist principles has returned.

Most commentators expect a Corbyn government to be unelectable. I tend to agree with this but there are circumstances whereby this could not be ruled out. It can certainly be said that the Conservative Party will see this as true and complacency could set in. There are significant issues in the coming years of this government that could make the conservatives unpopular. The result of the forthcoming European debate and referendum, involvement in an unpopular war or a return to  world wide recession caused by economic difficulties in China or the USA. Any of these would threaten David Cameron’s position and produce instability in the Conservative party. Europe is I believe the single biggest threat to Cameron’s future leadership. There is a real chance should he not renegotiate our role with Europe that he would lose the referendum and be forced to resign and destabilise the government. The Labour party which under Corbyn would move to Euro sceptic would benefit from this. Any significant economic downturn could result in a return to austerity which would make an anti austerity Corbyn government attractive. Who knows??

My own view is that if Corbyn survives to fight the next election it is the Conservatives to lose. I expect him to gain seats back in Scotland from the SNP especially in working class arrears. They will retain their seats in England in urban areas around the big city centres. However to have any chance of winning Corbyn will have to compromise. He will should shelve any plans to Withdraw from NATO, retain our nuclear deterrent and  review his plans to renationalise the railways and Energy companies. He does have policies which many people could support. He needs to focus on those rather than old policies that do not have broad support in the country. If he wants to survive he has to compromise to bring on public support and that of those in his parliamentary party who will seek to challenge him. A divided party is a party that will fail

So I look with interest at the next few months and years at how Corbyn copes with the significant challenges not only from the Conservatives but also his own party.

Image used from http://www.telesurtv.net/