Sunday Blog: Anglo-American Traumas

Both countries share democratic values and traditions, which though different in detail, are complimentary in principle. Both have sought to spread these values across the rest of the world. Added together the two economies are not just the largest in the world but by a margin. They are tied by family, culture and history. And both are suffering at the same time from two great challenges.

The first is Covid 19. Neither country has managed to contain the virus and it is still raging in both. But each has an advanced vaccine programme interlinked with the other, which gives hope that eventually the contagion will be brought to heal and allow normal life to return and the economies to recover. The trauma of Covid will pass.

But the second is potentially irreversible. Loss of faith in the viability and integrity of their democratic processes which not only affect the two oldest democracies, but threaten the viability of democracy across the world. And both have had spells of government led by neo-nationalists, good at crowd pleasing, some may say rabble rousing, in which truth and accuracy takes second place to misleading slogans and outright lies.

America is in the process of getting rid of the Trump presidency in an unbelievable spectacle of discord, as a bad loser tries to cling to the pretence he has won, undermining as it does confidence in the notion that American democracy is good and worth copying.

In England, which is the dominant nation in an increasingly unstable Union, Boris Johnson exhibits an incompetence in government that even his worst enemies never imagined could be as bad. Fights, tears and WhatsApps fly through the Downing Street air, as people who should never be invested with such a thing fight for power, while daily hundreds die from Covid 19 because of their failures. And just days away a no deal Brexit catastrophe looms.

Boris has to do better than Trump and get a grip. Otherwise a restive Tory party will send in the men and women in dark suits. Their message will be stark. His premiership will be over. Not because of an overwhelming vote by an angry people, but because through his muddled leadership, boasting, lies, bungling, U-turns and philandering, he has managed to get rid of himself.