Transatlantic Blonde on Blonde…

Is it mere coincidence that two former political leaders on either side of the Atlantic, both big, blonde and boisterous find themselves on the naughty step at the same time?

And in a further coincidence, another former populist leader has just exited the stage for good. Silvio Berlusconi – an outspoken, controversial business tycoon who became premier of Italy arguably paved the way for the Trump presidency.

So both Trump and Johnson see themselves as victims of witch hunts and kangaroo courts, but they have both also mastered the art of defending the indefensible.

Here we have two incorrigible and irredeemable natural born bullsh1tters of the highest order, both of whom were in effect well-known media celebrities in their own right prior to taking up the highest political positions in their respective countries. A case of personality rather than policies.

Both were elected on a promise. To be fair to Bojo he did keep his pledge by getting brexit done – and secured a landslide election victory to boot, but after this it was downhill all the way.

But in Trump’s case how exactly inciting a violent angry mob to break into a government building on the pretext of a fictional grievance was supposed to make America great again remains to be seen.

Closer to home in the not-too-distant past we’re all too familiar with a now deceased local populist politician who would rile up angry young men and get them to his dirty work for him – and then distance himself from them after acts of violence were committed.

The similarities between Trump and Paisley Senior are striking – the bullying tone, the baseless conspiracy theories, the fervent rallying cries, the populist charisma and the paranoia.

As a commenter on this very site once astutely observed – Paisley Senior (and by extension Trump) was like the devious schoolboy who hands a bottle of coke for his classmate to open – but the classmate is unaware that the bottle has just been shaken up. Following the resulting fizzy explosion the prankster plays the innocence card, stating “don’t blame me – you opened it!”

So in this respect, it’s not surprising that the DUP (or at least certain elected reps within the DUP, if not the party as a whole) enthusiastically backed the Republican candidate during the last US presidential election – probably the only republican they’ve ever endorsed. (Ba dum tish! I’ll get my coat and leave quietly through the back exit…)

For the sake of balance I’ll have to have a pop at the other side now. In this regard it’s worth mentioning the time Trump courted controversy when he attended a Sinn Féin fundraising dinner in New York in 1995 just a few months before the party’s paramilitary wing ended its ceasefire by planting a massive bomb in London’s Docklands.

The bouffant Donald’s constant, but predictable denials of wrongdoing (be it incitement, sexual harassment, attempting to overturn an election result, possession of classified state documents, allegedly paying hush money to a porn star, etc ad nauseam) are about almost as risible as the hirsute Gerry’s “I was never in the ’RA, honest” statements.

In his ongoing trial Trump naturally protests his innocence and dismisses any allegations against him as fake news, hoaxes and propagandist smears from his enemies. Similarly, the former member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip has been constantly spouting the usual “the dog ate my homework” response, but when new evidence to the contrary emerges he conveniently admits to having “misspoken” and changes his story to something along the lines of “it was actually the cat who ate my homework”.

The Privileges Committee’s final report pulls no punches with its damning verdict:

We came to the view that some of Mr Johnson’s denials and explanations were so disingenuous that they were by their very nature deliberate attempts to mislead the Committee and the House, while others demonstrated deliberation because of the frequency with which he closed his mind to the truth.”

But both individuals are safe in the knowledge that their fanatical, unquestioning supporters will believe them – or at least pretend to believe them, despite overwhelming evidence that suggests otherwise.

The dogs on the streets of Westminster (probably the same dog who allegedly scoffed Bojo’s homework), Washington, New York and Miami must be having a field day.

If the not-so right honourable Alexander de Pfeffel is to leave politics altogether, he will no doubt embark on a lucrative career as a presenter with GB News or Talk TV, with a well-paid newspaper column or a generous book deal.

A commenter on the BBC website sums up the situation succinctly, quoting a famous line from Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar – highly appropriate in that Johnson’s political career has been like a “Carry On” film:

Johnson was not forced out. If he is innocent as he claims, he could have made his case to a Tory majority Parliament and a Tory majority constituency. But he knew he would lose. And with his lifelong sense of entitlement and privilege, he cannot cope with rejection. So baby Trump threw his toys out of his pram, while snivelling: “Infamy. Infamy. They’ve all got it infamy.””

Somehow, I don’t think Don J’s time in the dock will do him much harm either. Regardless of the outcome, half of America will see him as a persecuted messiah, the other half as an outright crook – as was exactly the case 7 years ago. And I’m sure rather than go to jail, he’ll still be found on the golf course boasting about his exploits.

They say a week is a long time in politics, but some things never change. There’s always plenty more snake oil in the bottle. But if not, you can always concoct more…

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