Thursday, March 24, 2016


It would be naive to think that the Brussels terrorist bombings won't have some effect on both of these races.

Let's first deal with the race to the White House.   Readers of my meanderings will be in no doubt that I view Trump as a dangerous megalomaniac and Clinton as damaged goods who would have a great deal of difficulty 'lying' straight in bed.   America deserves better.  

But a feature of US election politics (and you might well argue the same for foreign policy too) is their penchant for promoting simple solutions to complex problems playing to the lowest common denominator helped by the fact that Americans are essentially an insular people, not well traveled and not worldly wise.  Less than 40% of Americans have passports; twenty years ago the figure was just 10% (compared with our own country which has a passport possession rate of 75%).  

In that context Trump's rhetoric ... 'we'll build a wall and the Mexicans will pay for it' or 'we'll ban all Muslims from entering the country' can and does resonate with his voting demographic comprising Republicans, Reagan Democrats, Independents and anyone who thinks 'Washington' is broken.  No matter that the Mexicans won't or that the US Supreme Court would strike down in a nanosecond any Executive Order banning Muslims as unconstitutional ... Trump is playing to his people telling them want they want to hear.

And so it is with the fallout from Brussels where we see Trump ratcheting up the rhetoric and refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against ISIS.   That may well be a turn-off to moderate voters but I agree with Charles Krauthammer, the American Pulitzer Prize winning syndicated columnist, that there will likely be a net gain to Trump from the disillusioned and disaffected and those seeking seeking reassurance in a world where the dynamic has changed forever.

Brexit too.   The latest poll I have seen has the 'Out' vote just 4 points behind the 'In' campaign.    Here too and accepting the UK voting demographic is somewhat more sophisticated than their American cousins, there will be those who will see an exit from the EU as providing an opportunity for the UK to pull up the drawbridge and insulate themselves from the rest of Europe making it more difficult for terrorists to strike.  Might have worked 50 years ago.   2016 and it's a lot different.

I suspect both the Trump and Brexit campaigns will each benefit to a degree from the bombings based on ignorance, prejudice and fear.   Perhaps that's the reality of the world we live in ... sad.


The Realist said...

The Americans are far too conservative to vote for Trump. Don't panis!

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to agree with you Realist although I would use the word sensible. Pretty much the same on Brexit, 3 months to go and the ramifications of an out vote are only now becoming apparent. People take a great deal of convincing to drop the status quo and the public doesn't like change foisted on them suddenly.

As a point.. Congrats NZ on the flag decision. I do agree with Mr Little's comments in the Herald, better use could be found for the money. Why, it could fund the Waitangi tribunal for a year or two.

Lord Egbut Nobacon


Some polls have shown Out to be in front.
There has been a discrepancy between phone polls and online polls.
Online polls have tended to show Out in front, while phone polls have tended to show Remain in front.
Whatever the system used, there has tended to be a shift towards out.
The UK is in for an interesting referendum.

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... I wish I could share your confidence re Trump. If the American voter was as sensible as you suggest then Hillary would have difficulty running for Dogcatcher in Peculiar MO.

Re the 'little' man. He really is a Muppet and those comments reinforce that view. How then can you reconcile this from Little in 2014 ... "Yes, my personal opinion is we should have something more relevant to an independent, small Asia/Pacific nation. The elements I would like to see in a flag are the Southern Cross, blue for the sea, green for the land and mountains, and a reference to our Maori heritage” and this in response to the question, “Should here be a referendum?” he replied, “I think a referendum is a suitable way to deal with an issue that can be very polarising”.

Does he work on trying to be stupid or does it just come naturally?

For what it is worth I think that while the result was closer than I expected I doubt there will be a rerun in my lifetime. Politicians will be spooked and run a mile rather than agree to a second referendum. Will it harm Key? Not sure. To his credit he he stood by his beliefs in contrast to Little.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


" Will it harm Key? Not sure."

Certainly not for as long as Little remains. Little sponges up so much harm that there's none left for anyone else.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the nice Mr Key was hoist with his own petard. If he hadn't been so manipulative and dominant in the choice of flags on offer then he may of pulled it off.

Mr Little was all for flag change if country wanted it but once he saw the process and the cost he bailed. I think we can rise above the snide schoolboy comments on stature, weight, skin colour and birth place now that we are all grown ups.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... Key was a model of consistency unlike others one could name and shame. The flags panel included nominees from both Labour and the Greens who left them hanging once they backtracked on their previously publicly stated positions. The notion that the first referendum should have been a simple yes, no, for retention without specifying any alternative was a nonsense ... if someone offered to paint your house for free but refused to specify the colour I suspect most people would say No.

As it is the people have has their say and that's democracy in action. Interesting that on TV tonight the Media Party was commenting on the surprisingly heavy Yes vote and the fact that now the Pandora's box has been opened it won't go away. John Key said there won't be another vote while he's PM so that's another four years at least and probably more.

Little is what he is and perpetually angry to boot. I guess he hasn't got round to rating his own Members like that nice Mr Corbyn did (or was it his adoring acolytes in Momentum) ... what was it now ... loyal, possibly/probably loyal, neutral, possibly/probably disloyal and disloyal.

Mind you, and any more 'musings' by Little like his recent foot-in-mouth comments on legislating for bank deposit/loan rates and to ban Thai/Indian Chefs from entering the country and some of his own MPs might start drawing up lists of their own.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those fickle polls or perhaps in this case Poles. Corbyn now has overtaken Cameron in the Mori polls for leader satisfaction. Like all polls you can read what you like into it.

A simple yes no "do want the flag changed" vote would have saved shed loads of money and open the doors to a proper choice, not a committee stacked with sycophants.

Mr little is in opposition, all opposition leaders should be angry otherwise they are not opposing.

Lord Egbut

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I see some illiterate is posing as Lord Egbut.

"... he may of pulled it off...."