US Elections – the end of the road for The Walrus, or just the beginning?
I don’t even live in the US, yet all my vital signs are telling me that one more intervention, one more lie or one more scandal that isn’t a scandal will send me off the deep end. Two days to go until the moment of “truth”, and I eagerly await the news that The Walrus is a paedophile, a drug runner or an infiltrator from an endangered planet far beyond the solar system. Or that Hillary isn’t actually alive – the person we see on our TV screens is an animatronic reconstruction, endlessly emoting the same stuff from rally to rally.
I’ve had enough. And yet this election thing is addictive, isn’t it? If I do survive until Thursday, I shall probably collapse with grief at the thought that the whole 18-month reality show is over. I’ll go into a long depression that will only be relieved when Theresa May does us all a favour and calls a general election in the UK.
In the event that our UKIP-lite government decides not to give us another chance to vote down Brexit, all is not lost for election addicts. After all there’s still the fascinating prospect of watching the French and the Germans tearing themselves apart next year.
By that time I fervently hope that Nigel Farage, our very own Mr Toad, will have departed from Britain to take a job with Trump TV, because that will mean that The Walrus will have failed to get elected. Even better would be if Boris decided to re-apply for his US passport, and took some of his shifty mates off to America with him.
As you will have noticed if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m finding it harder to think of politicians without thinking of animals. Ferrets, cockatoos, giant sloths, rats, snakes and chipmunks keep coming to mind when I look beyond The Walrus and Mr Toad. I’ll leave it to you to work out who I’m thinking of. How I would love to be a cartoonist!
Moving on from such trivia, we really aren’t living through democracy’s finest hour, are we?
Four years ago, you would have thought that the number of countries that don’t practice some form of democracy or other was decreasing by the month. Even in the Middle East, you could see absolute monarchies creaking under the pressure of the Arab Spring. Today Egypt is a dictatorship and Turkey is moving in that direction. Let’s not speak of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, except to question to whom they will turn should they wish to adopt some form of democracy when the dust has settle and the bodies have been buried.
The shining beacon on the hill that is American democracy? I don’t think so. A system in which personality outshines policies. In which partisan divides prevent any coherent form of government. In which the equivalent of the GDP of a medium-sized country is spent on a perpetual round of election campaigns. In which the exposure of lies and borderline criminality no longer disqualifies candidates. In which unscrupulous partisan officials connive to suppress voting. Hardly an inspiring example for the huddled masses.
And what of the United Kingdom? A country in thrall to a few unscrupulous media owners and editors who hurl abuse at reputable judges trying to defend the sovereignty of parliament. Politicians whose principles are subject to their career prospects. Just as in the US, lies, empty promises and meaningless visions abound. The Mother of Parliaments is looking a bit raddled these days.
So to whom will those searching for a model of self-government turn in 2017?
To Russia perhaps, whose population seems to value most highly the preservation of order and the restoration of national prestige even if the price to be paid is that the rulers fleece the ruled. Or China, where you can criticise anything except the one thing that should always be subject to criticism – the political order.
If you were an American, disgusted with the moral pollution of the current election campaign, where would you turn to for a new home? Canada perhaps – viewed by many as the last remaining exemplar of liberal democracy. Curiously enough, I read in one of the main UK newspapers (not the one that rails against “Enemies of the People”) that there has recently been a surge of enquiries from Americans about emigrating to my country. Good luck with that, folks.
Me, I’m staying put. It would take a lot to persuade me to leave Britain. Our values may be seriously corroded, but we’re not broken yet, whatever Mr Toad might say. I would far rather live with Eeyore, Tigger, Badger and Piglet than the Walrus and the Carpenter.
A final word of encouragement to my cousins across the Atlantic: it’s not too late. Surprise and delight the rest of us – go kick that sand in the bully’s face. Make sure he never gets near government again, and slinks off to run his TV station – which, of course, goes bankrupt in a couple of years.