The Blog

A Letter To America - Please Don't Make The Same Mistake As Us

Be better than us. See Trump for what he is - a one dimensional, delusional opportunist with an axe to grind who thinks being an overpaid, over-privileged reality TV host qualifies him for one of the most responsible positions on the planet.

Dear America

Little old Blighty here. You remember us, we're the ones with the red buses and bad teeth.

We had a falling out couple of hundred years ago over tea and taxes, but we've still got plenty in common - a language (more or less), a legal system, TV programmes and an almost unshakeable belief in our own superiority.

I'm hoping that after Tuesday's vote you won't also be sharing the despair than many of us have experienced in recent months.

You'll no doubt remember that you also popped over in the 1940s to help us rid the world of self aggrandising, delusional narcissist with bad hair who blamed everything on foreigners and promised to make his country great again. It's funny how often those themes seem to repeat themselves isn't it?

Now I'm not saying that your upcoming election has any sort of parallels with those bad old days, but you've got to admit there's been a few moments where that nice Mr Trump has been playing on the same fears and making the same sorts of promises.

We've been at it over here too. This Brexit business that you may have heard of pushed many of the same buttons. Our nice Mr Farage even revived a Nazi propaganda poster during the referendum campaign. Not that I'd compare him or even Trump to Hitler. That would be lazy sensationalism, even if Mr Farage did eventually grow a moustache and Mr Trump has a similarly unconvincing comb-over.

But there are many other similarities with our situation now, and Farage has even been offering the benefit of his experience to Donald J. Not that he needed much help, he seems just as capable of misleading those disenchanted masses you have over there, as Mr Farage was of hoodwinking a slim majority of the same sort of people over here.

And a slim majority was all it took. People who were rightly fed up with the way politics had been going. Annoyed with careerist MPs who fell out of university straight into a life in government. Disgusted with how disconnected many of our leaders had become with those that had voted them into power. Appalled at the power afforded to corporations and institutions that had bought and paid for their dubious positions of power over us all.

The Brexiteers also told us that many of the things that were wrong with our country, the lack of housing, poor pay, overstretched healthcare, falling standards of living, even overcrowding on our roads were the fault of 'the others' rather than being shortcomings resulting from decades of under-investment by successive administrations. Sound familiar?

Just as you have, we've a long tradition of welcoming people from other countries to our shores. We've seen them help grow our economy and contribute to a rich and diverse culture. Somehow that all became a bad thing when it needed to be. We were told that these were terrible people, that they were responsible for the shortcomings of our society. But that was another lie.

To our shame this became an easy story to sell to people who were too busy trying to make ends meet to really see the underlying story. We fell for the propaganda poured out by our gutter press because it was easier to understand than the truth.

Like you, we had a choice between two unpalatable options and had to choose which was the least bitter. Most of us don't really like every aspect of the EU and given the choice between the status quo and something else, many people thought that anything had to be better than more of the same old same old.

But it isn't better. Despite what you may have heard, things are getting worse here now, in economic, political and societal terms, all because we believed people who knew how to easily manipulate us. People who have no concept of the maelstrom that's to come, people who saw the prize without understanding the cost of winning it, people whose egos were more important than our lives.

To many of you the idea of the drastic change that Trump may bring might also seem attractive. But, like our Brexit, an attractive idea with no foundation in reality is just that, an idea. As we're finding out to our cost, ideas without foundation are pure whimsy and you can't govern a country with that.

Similarly, many here saw their vote as a protest against a political elite without expecting it to have any real impact. They voted for change, any change, without believing it would ever really come. Without knowing what change would really mean, without planning for its consequences or even fully understanding its implications.

You see no one here really believed that we'd vote to leave the EU. Not the politicians, not the pundits, not the polls and certainly not Nigel Farage, who even on the night of the vote was making excuses for why he was about to lose.

I know those of you who have already made up your minds won't change that now. But for those who are still undecided I hope you don't mind a hapless Brit giving you some advice based on bitter experience.

Don't make the same mistake as we did. Don't vote for a negative because you can't see the positives you already have. To the undecided voter, plumping for Trump on the spur of the moment may seem like a bold nihilistic move, but like a drunken visit to a tattoo parlour, the result will be painful to remove and will likely leave a disfiguring scar.

Be better than us. See Trump for what he is - a one dimensional, delusional opportunist with an axe to grind who thinks being an overpaid, over-privileged reality TV host qualifies him for one of the most responsible positions on the planet.

Because if you make the wrong decision on Tuesday, you can't change the channel for another four years, and we could all find the reality of a Trump presidency far more terrifying than even the most outlandish horror show.