The post-partum humour of it all
Donald Trump (US) or Boris Johnson (UK)?
I posted a comment on Medium once, outlining bizarre similarities between the political situations in both the US and the UK. Given the tremendous popularity this received, I decided to analyse further parallels between our two heads-of-state, as a final ‘’good-riddance’’ wish to Trump and hope that our own Boris follows him to oblivion soon.
A few parallels before we ‘tackle’ the leaders
In the 70s Thatcher and Reagan were simultaneous heads of state, driving policies weakening the power of social institutions and unleashing the uncontrolled reign of corporations.
In the 90s Clinton and Tony Blair, while pronouncing themselves Democrats, probed conservative politics. They boasted that during their mandates the common citizen’s purchasing capability had reached unprecedented peaks — failing to mention that this was on credit. They lured millions into taking up unaffordable mortgages, consequently crashing world finance in 2008.
Obama’s presidency could do little to rebuild a system, broken by 50 years of rampant individualism. He bravely fought Republican opposition (especially about issues around medical insurance and gun licencing), though to not much avail. Some argue that he could have done more — but chose not to. Afraid to use his power? Afraid that the country would be suspicious of too much good?
In the UK the Conservatives succeeded with undermining Labour’s legacy from the post-WWII period — the ‘safety net’ — the Jobseekers Allowance, the Disability Allowance, the Income Support Scheme, among others. These were bled to death, echoing typically American sentiments, like: ‘’I am not paying for lazy a**holes who don’t want to work’’. Thankfully the National Health Service remained National and free, though rumours spread of its deliberate underfunding, to deem it inefficient, in preparation for its piecemeal sale to Trump-associated US corporations.
Followed the Brexit nightmare quagmire, with 3 Prime Ministers within 4 years failing to appease the public or their own party backbenchers on whether or which way to exit the EU. Fascist movements rose ugly in both Europe and the UK, giving Brexiters a reason to blame peaceful European citizens for all the country’s evils.
UK local acts of violence were committed against Polish and other EU citizens. The US seemed to duly pick up the trend by installing Donald Trump, whose last year of mandate coincided with the first year of the UK’s third PM— Boris Johnson (aka BoJo). Both leaders pronounced themselves Conservative, were branded ‘’demagogues’’ and occasionally called ‘’fascists’’.
My 70+-year-old Mum still cannot tell these two apart — on seeing Trump speaking on TV she asks: ‘’What’s Boris got for us now? Another Covid lockdown?’
The media have also speculated on the apparent similarities of the two heads of state. My curiosity led me to research whether Trump and Boris were indeed equally ‘’evil’’. While Brits do not storm Capitols (yet), I believe this is mainly out of politeness — we are the country where ‘’a spade’’ is not often called ‘’a spade’’.
Roots and past transgressions of the two
Born in New York City, BoJo would be more fit for a US presidency (according to Trump’s election criteria) than Obama. Before getting involved in politics he worked as a writer and journalist. His political posts include Junior Shadow Minister, Mayor of London, Member of Parliament, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019.
He went to Eton private college — the most prestigious English high school, educated generations of male members of the royal family. ‘’Etonians’’ are notoriously rumoured to be ‘’detached from reality’’ millionaires’ sons, arrogant, entitled and oblivious to anything beyond the scope of their own narrow world.
Johnson’s critics see Eton as the roots of his ‘’elitism’’, ‘’cronyism’’ and ‘’prejudice’’. Boris was a member of glamorous self-selecting groups of wealthy students. His teachers described him as ‘’idle and complacent’’. At Oxford University he joined ‘’an exclusive drinking society, notorious for acts of vandalism on host premises’’, which he later regretted. The picture below (aptly reflecting the attitude of members of his social class) is taken from an article, entitled: ‘’Our Politics Doesn’t Have to Be Like This’’.
Boris has always identified himself Conservative.
Having studied at an international school in Brussels, BoJo greatly sympathised with the European Union. His personal stance on Brexit was REMAIN. He shocked the nation when he was featured leading the LEAVE campaign. He stood in front of a bus, painted with the words ‘’£350 million a day more for the NHS’’ (the daily sum the UK paid in fees to the EU), inferring that by leaving the EU this money could be saved and given to the NHS.
Boris’ chameleon behaviour played the strongest factor in the decision of the nation at the 2016 Brexit referendum — many people voted, lured by what they had understood as Johnson’s promise of extra funding for the National Health Service. When the results tipped the LEAVE end by 4.4%, with people asking whether BoJo would act on his promise, he denied making that promise at all.
In his example of a biased media campaign Johnson diplomatically omitted details of the astronomical revenue figures the UK had gained from trade with the EU, or the billions granted to Britain in EU regional aid and agricultural subsidies. He avoided prosecution for deliberately misleading the public.
Trump, on the other hand, has changed party affiliation 5 times since 1987, including calling himself ‘’a Democrat’’ in 2004, as…
Yet in his campaign for presidency in 2015, Trump bemoaned the United States being in ‘’dire peril’’….plagued by lawlessness, poverty and violence..’’ — all a result of Democratic rule. He pronounced himself as ‘’law and order’’ and said ‘’I alone can fix the system’’. A chameleon, an optimist, or a self-deluded maniac?
Proudly born in NYC, he became president of his father’s business, later extending it and adding other activities, mostly by licencing his name. He was involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, including six bankruptcies — achievements BoJo cannot boast with. Analysts have mentioned that Trump has run his country like his businesses — by bankrupting it. His passion for golf blossomed to its highest in the days when he detoured to play with his citizens toiling under the strain of the COVID-19 and its mass deaths.
Trump’s perpetually bankrupt state was helped by him hosting the reality television series The Apprentice, from 2004 to 2015. It is likely that these public appearances incited his daughter Ivanka to encourage him to run for the Presidency (more by the way of a joke). Trump built the cult towards his personality in a way typical for an accidentally-found-himself-too-powerful reality TV star, or just any common dictator.
Also privately educated at a military boarding school, Trump graduated in Economics from two universities. Internet users are known to Google ‘’Did Trump go to university?’’ and ‘’What is Trump’s IQ?’’, doubting his intelligence and education in view of his ‘’8-year-old’s’’ vocabulary range and badly-worded speeches. In EPISODE 3 of this series I will treat you to instances of vague expressions in the speeches of Boris Johnson, attempting to explain his COVID-related policies to the nation.
TO BE CONTINUED….
In Episode 2 we will look at the similarities between the outer appearance of the two leaders and the similar attitudes they have displayed towards other countries and races.