go west, young man

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Many of you will already know that I’m the least-travelled of individuals and the daily commute to Peckham still fills me with an equal combination of trepidation and excitement. So you can only wonder at my feelings when faced with the joyous prospect of a business trip to the US – imagine a midget ginga Mickey Rooney-esque individual playing the Eddie Murphy character in ‘Coming to America’ and you won’t be a million miles away.

In the event, I can report that the escapade passed without drama though I can’t really claim to have experienced much of Denver, Colorado as the only places I saw were the insides of a conference hall, a motel and a cab between the two. However, as jet-lag kicked in straight-away I did manage to catch more than my fair share of early-morning American TV, specifically CNN & Fox News. And if you thought the panic about Brexit was nerve-jangling, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In an election that polarises opinion like none before, extreme reporting & journalistic battle-lines have well & truly been drawn, but ultimately beg the question of what is true and what isn’t?

In the space of just three days here’s what I saw being earnestly debated: President Obama was born in Kenya (the ‘Birther’ issue); Hilary Clinton is dying and wouldn’t see out her first year in office (the cough that turned into pneumonia); Trump orders Hilary’s assassination (his idiotic analysis of her ‘second amendment stance’ and musings that guns should be taken off her security detail); Obama is going to make a last minute decision to change the constitution and re-stand (he didn’t mention Hilary by name in his final speech to the Congressional Black Caucus); Clinton is pathologically unable to take action, any action (she wanted to get the full facts before declaring the NY bomb a terrorist act); If Trump loses, the election was rigged and, if it looks like he’s going to win, the state will rig some catastrophe which triggers Marshall Law and no election can take place if the state of Marshall Law exists (WTF). Phew.

Yep, nonsense the lot of it but what is apparent is that liberals and conservatives, left & right, are no longer able to communicate across the ideological divide. And needless to say, they have little or no chance of cooperating on any subsequent policy and actually getting anything done as they no longer agree on any objective set of facts. A mainstream media based upon objective analysis and debate, with a little subjective spice thrown in for good measure, would help facilitate this but I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

Furthermore, with the result now being too close to call, expect the financial jitters to start pretty sharpish. Protectionism & isolation is Donald’s trump card so, with even the merest whiff of his victory, there’ll be a modern day gold-rush as it’s seen a safe-haven, the dollar will take a big hit and China, with $500bn of annual exports riding on the outcome, will panic like never before. Armageddon? Probably not but bet your bottom dollar on another major worldwide recession.