At least there’s one thing good to say about Donald Trump — it’s how grown up he makes our politicians seem.
Our Parliamentarians are mostly mature adults with a good education, who can handle responsibility. You might disagree with their policies, some may be stupid, shallow or greedy, but they’re mostly grown up.
Trump, on the other hand, summed himself up in one sentence last week: “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
That shows his narcissism — he believes he is the most special of all world leaders, ever — and his lack of education.
He’s not heard of say, Aung San Suu Kyi (house arrest, 15 years) or Nelson Mandela (27 years in the chokey), with whom even the most cursory student of modern history would be familiar. Going back in time, there’s Watt Tyler (stabbed, decapitated, head paraded on a pole) or even Balthasar Gérard (hung on a pole and lashed, wounds smeared with honey and licked by a goat; repeatedly mocked — yes, mocked — hung on a pole again; heavy weights (300lbs) hung on his big toes, fitted with wet leather shoes that shrank and crushed his feet, the skin of which was then torn off; his armpits branded, burning bacon fat poured over him, sharp nails stuck in his hands and feet; burned with a red-hot iron, flesh torn from his bones with pincers; quartered and disembowelled alive, his heart torn from his chest and flung in his face, and — finally — decapitated). Even Trump would agree that being accused of giving information to the Russians just before he met a Russian and gave away information is less onerous than being licked by a goat and covered in fat.
But grown up as our lot are, they often do their best to persuade us they’re stupid, particularly around election time.
The Tories mock Jeremy Corbyn for wanting to return to the 70s but want to bring back fox hunting (are fondues still legal?) and start giving poor children gruel for breakfast; the 1870s clearly more acceptable than 1970s. What with all her new school policies, Theresa May’s Poorhouse Academies for Ragamuffins can only be days away.
Everyone’s promising more money to the NHS, though none of it is enough, particularly if UKIP has its way: it wants to bring back the 50s pastime of smoking in pubs, sending more lung cancer patients off to hospital. (Where they find the skilled oncologists have been sent back to India, even though they were born in Solihull).
NHS spending needs to rise at 4% a year above inflation to maintain service levels. The Tories are giving it 1% and Labour promising 2%. Neither is enough.
(Similarly, the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 20,000 since 2009, and Labour is promising an extra 10,000. It’s not a rise, it’s a smaller cut).
Corbyn has promised to put the railways back in state control, apparently unaware that they are already are — the UK state owns the tracks, which were nationalised a while ago, and European states mostly own the operating companies, spotting a bargain when we sold them off.
Corbyn has promised to pay for everything via corporation tax: literally, everything: a quick Google shows Labour intended or intends to rescue British Steel, reintroduce student maintenance grants, scrap university tuition fees, top up the school budget and pay for social care, all via corporation tax, renamed the elastic tax.
The most ridiculous debate is over Trident. The Tories attack Corbyn for saying he’d think before pressing the button, both sides ignoring the fact that if anyone’s finger has to hover over the Trident keypad we’re probably all dead. Do we die in mutually assured destruction with a stable finger strongly pressing the red button, or a dithering finger deciding on balance it needs to be pressed? Tough call.
All this at a time when the NHS was brought to a halt by a couple of amateurs trying to make a fast buck, or a fast bitcoin to be precise.
I say amateurs because the recent WannaCry ransomware had a hole in it as big as Paul Nuttall’s website once the untruths were taken down: a killswitch its originators had not bothered to protect. Think how much damage they could have caused if they were any good, or working for the Russians or the Chinese.
But the politicians are still arguing about an outdated missile system we can’t afford that the Americans control, on software we have no access to once it’s launched, only days after cyber warfare brought the NHS to a halt. Shortly after the Russians hacked political party servers in both America and France.
If we sailed to the Falklands today, a simple hack would probably leave our ships going around in circles in Portsmouth harbour and the Government website taken over by photos of cats that look like Hitler. You don’t need missiles. A determined hostile state could soften us all up via fake news on social media before bringing down most of our infrastructure and sailing quietly up the Thames.
Still, as I say: a least our lot can string a sentence together and have intelligence and perspective, as seen by their response to the atrocity in Manchester this week.
We should value politicians more; as much as they try to make each other sound like idiots, they’re not, and Trump is the proof.
Make sure you vote on 8th June.