Mid-term elections are looming in Trumpland with the pundits ramping up their case for a Democratic swing that, if successful, might well put Trumpy's legislative ambitions in some jeopardy. I still haven't come to a hard conclusion about Trump's style of governance; I must concede that his bullish approach mingled with easy climb-downs followed up with more uncompromising declarations in an ebb and flow manner have brought about some results (or so we are led to believe) that previous presidents have clearly not achieved. His current face-off with Iran may be a tougher call but he is developing something of a style here that seemingly gets things done. Domestically I think he's a different animal, a more beleaguered animal that is having to fight the Russian election meddling scandal, the loose women connections he's reputed to have enjoyed and the probity and skill of key members of his ever shifting cabinet. And this is perhaps where the Democrats might be able to bite his (tiny) feet. As a man he's loathsome; as a president I think the jury's still out. I'm not holding my breath over whether or not he'll do something extraordinary over the next few months. We'll see.
Whilst thinking of old Trumpy - I can call him that 'cos he's older than I am - I watch the fierce wildland fires tormenting California and the predictions that these will become the norm as temperatures around the globe re-align and global warming takes a step closer to God knows what conclusion. Add to this reduced rainfall, reduced crop yields, etc and we gaze upon the spectre of a world that is undeniably changing its modus operandi. Trumpy pulled out of the Paris climate agreement - peripheral in impact as it may well be - but the global summer in the Northern Hemisphere that has been both enjoyed and feared this year tells us all that there are things happening in our environment that we will have to adapt to and prepare for. Merely pulling out of a weak agreement pact is not the answer for the US. As a global superpower it has the responsibility to take a leading role - bucking out is a cheap way of giving advantage to US industry - it does not earn the US any global Brownie Points.
Nearer home I see Mrs May is heading to M'sieur Macron's holiday hideaway in the south of France. No doubt Brexit - or whatever interpretation of it is being conjured up now - will be high on the agenda. Yet looking at this oddly ranked pair we see some common issues confronting them. In France, unions, labour movements and the right wing factions challenge the Elysee in exactly the same way as Westminster is being challenged under Mrs May's stewardship. Neither are popular, neither have made that step onto the world stage that they originally envisioned for themselves and both are facing some probability of a challenge to both their leaderships and their political positions. Perhaps Brexit might be lower down the agenda than we imagine ?
Now Mr Corbyn. What a pickle you find yourself in - again. The debate over anti-semitism in the Labour Party wrangles on in some bizarre parody of a big issue. Admittedly, Corbyn's past liaisons and associations with the Palestinian side of Middle East politics has not endeared him to the Jewish community and we may all revile him for some of the unsavoury characters he's chosen to be linked with. However, I find it difficult to actually see what it is the anti-semitism argument is based upon. Leading figures in any organisation are going to make public utterances that offend someone, somewhere - that is the nature of political exchange. If everyone speaks in such platitudes as to become so bland and characterless then nothing will ever come out of the principle of debate, freedom of thought and speech and opinion. We claim to be a democracy. Yet look at the legislative restrictions that Westminster has laid upon us all that inhibits those freedoms, those rights and privileges that are the fundamental bedrock of our (very open to interpretation) constitution. We have no rights to declare our individual positions on diversity, equality, gender, some forms of religion (Islam and Judaism in particular), we have no right to speak in public on such matters, we cannot publish what in times past would have been labelled a radical reform position, we cannot choose for ourselves any longer - the diktat of the EU and Westminster prescribes how we must think on any matter that they deem as seditious (another old English crime that often resulted in burning or beheading) or, in their weird interpretation, offend. 'Offend' is an interesting accusation is it not ? Minorities must not be offended, certain social groups must not be offended, speech must not offend, writing must not offend and behaviour must not offend. Yet who is offending whom ? Nobody cares a jot whether offence is being caused to others outside of these specialist and minority groupings because the majority of us are politically passive and shrug away the inconveniences of restriction that law imposes upon us. In contrast, the minority groupings are highly vocal and very adept at saying 'I'm a victim ! Listen to my demands...' We need balance, we need proportionality and we need to understand that we will never all think the same, believe the same or wish for the same. It is a measure of our crudity as a society that we don't strive for that balance. It would be a greater measure of our civilisation to allow for free expression and the uninhibited right to disagree. Fashionable compliance is not the way forward.