English Local Government Association leaders met last Thursday in Edinburgh with counterparts from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss how to jointly tackle some of the outcomes from the recent vote on Brexit. It was day two AD, Anno Donald Trump.
As resources tighten, is there a pattern in a separatist approach where we focus on looking after our own?
From the vote for Scottish sovereignty, to UK sovereignty in the Brexit vote, and now an American vote which includes building a wall to keep others out.
The plain-speaking tycoon who spouts outrageous prejudices, became President of America in The Simpsons 16 years ago.
Now the man who was regularly in the homes of millions of people through the American TV version of The Apprentice, will now occupy the White House.
Is this a new era of elected office?
The man who is accused of asset-stripping businesses to leave thousands unemployed, misogyny, racism, anti-semitism and a dislike of other cultures, except Putin’s, will now have his finger on the red button.
Will the bureaucrats be able to corral his ambitions into sensible policies?
Will a worldwide Pandora’s box be opened or can we do better and have communities that are cohesive and respectful of each other?
During his campaign, Donald Trump proposed an increase in infrastructure building, which would increase America’s already burgeoning deficit if his promised upturn in the economy is slow in coming.
He has said he will back out of the Paris global emissions deal and cancel payments to the UN climate change schemes. I guess he did not take many votes from the Green candidate, Jill Stein, who got over a million votes! In fact, I only saw coverage of two candidates from a long line-up. It seems the media were not independent nor even-handed.
The first-past-the-post system in each state meant that Trump won, even though Hillary Clinton had more individual votes. Our LGA independent group regularly calls for more proportional representation, as it is not only the way people vote that matters, it is the way they are counted.
What does this mean for political parties with a party whip? We are told that Donald Trump has funded both Republican and Democrat parties in the past, so is he a Republican following the manifesto built up by members? Or does the party have to change its manifesto to suit the man at the top? If so, to whom is he listening?
If we move towards more presidential-style elections for our mayors, we must be prepared to expect some interesting results.
How you and I can help to bring a unifying leadership in our local communities is up to us. Good luck all.