The United States goes to the polls tomorrow in the Presidential elections. This year American voters have as their next President a corrupt lying conniving con-man on the one hand, or a corrupt lying conniving con-woman on the other. Here in Scotland, as in the rest of the world, we’re following the events in the USA closely because whoever wins the election will have huge and direct impact on all of us. Although here in Scotland we do have the added interest that comes from us being used to having our fate decided by a deeply unpopular bucket of turd who was elected in a vote in which Scotland’s voice doesn’t matter.
It looks as though Hillary Clinton is narrowly ahead. She’s a deeply unpopular politician in the USA. She has a history of secrecy, of self-interest, and of changing her views to suit her audidence. She’s constantly mired in allegations of suspicious business dealings and corruption. The only candidate she stands any chance of beating is Donald Trump. Meanwhile Trump has a history of secrecy, of self-interest, and of changing his views to suit his audience. He’s constantly mired in allegations of suspicious business dealings and abuse. The only candidate he stands any chance of beating is Hillary Clinton. That’s why the vote is so close. In this US Presidential election the voters have a choice between a creepy crook, or a crooked creep.
There’s no point wishing for a third candidate to come through the middle, it’s not going to happen. It’s like hoping that the Lib Dems or the Greens can win a UK General Election. We’re lumbered with one of the big two. So we get to choose between one self-interested machine politician or another. In this respect the UK is the only country in the world with an electoral system which is even more dysfunctional than America’s, and even the rest of the UK has a political system which is more representative than Scotland’s. At least in the rest of the UK they get governments and EU-referendum outcomes that have attained a majority, even if in the case of governments, it receives a majority of seats on a minority of votes. In Scotland it makes no difference how we vote, we get the government our neighbour votes for.
The only thing that Hillary Clinton has in her favour is that she’s not Donald Trump. The only thing that Donald Trump has in his favour is that he’s not Hillary Clinton. Other candidates are available of course, but they’ve got as much chance of getting elected as the Monster Raving Looney Candidate does in a British by-election. Mind you, in these American elections the scary clown is one of the main contenders.
Not that Clinton is much better than Donald’s scary clown. She represents the very worst of American machine politics. She has the same cynical disregard for principle as her British equivalent. Clinton is a politician very much in the same rancid mould as Tony Blair. She’s hawkish on foreign policy and inconsistent on domestic policy. The only consistency in the political views of Hillary Clinton is that she’ll operate in the interests of the Washington machine and American big business interests.
The only consistency in the views of Donald Trump is that he’ll operate in the interests of Donald Trump. He’ll use the position of president to pursue his own personal agenda, and all those people who put their trust in him because they believed his promises on jobs will be sadly disappointed. For the rest of the planet he promises insecurity and uncertainty.
If Donald Trump becomes President half the world will take to fallout shelters for the next four years. While it’s perfectly likely that Hillary will start some small war in order to pursue her hawkish agenda, Donald is quite likely to start World War Three because someone was rude to him on Twitter. He actually asked why he shouldn’t use America’s nuclear arsenal. Trump might decide to invade Mexico when the Mexicans give him the same response as former Mexican president Vicente Fox when Trump demands that Mexico pays for the wall that Donald wants to build. The exact words of President Fox were “I declare, I’m not going to pay for that fucking wall.” He might nuke Scotland because we decided to build a windfarm offshore from his golf course.
Ultimately it’s because there’s a very real prospect of a Scottish independence referendum that I’d prefer a Clinton Presidency over a Trump one. Well, that and the fact that Trump is more likely to start WW3.
Trump’s opposition to Scottish independence will be personal, bitter, and visceral. He would make all sorts of overt threats to an independent Scotland, all of which would be motivated by his personal disagreements with the Scottish government and planning authorities and his ignorant refusal to accept the reality of climate change. Donald won’t want Scotland to become independent and will oppose our independence loudly and openly. And while there are very few people in Scotland who look up to Donald Trump as a voice of sage wisdom and reason, as President of the USA he would have a very real and threatening authority. The British media will make a huge play of his threats to undermine Scottish independence. And all because we have the temerity to build windfarms within view of his golf courses.
Clinton will also oppose Scottish independence, but she doesn’t have the same personal stake. Although Clinton is quite likely to mouth platitudes similar to those uttered by Obama during the first independence referendum, along the lines of not wanting one of the USA’s oldest allies to be weakened, the truth is that she’s unlikely care one way or the other if she doesn’t think American interests are going to be prejudiced by Scottish independence. And since Scotland would be seeking independence in order to remain a part of the EU, opposition from the US is likely to be muted. Clinton will not embark on a full on campaign of overt threats not to recognise an independent Scotland, to bar us from membership of international organisations, to threaten us with a trade embargo, or to refuse to admit Scottish passport holders into the USA. Trump is quite likely to do all of those things.
So although I hold no candle for Hillary Clinton, I’ll be relieved if she wins tomorrow. A Clinton victory means Scottish independence is more likely to occur smoothly.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-7th-nov-2016
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