Saturday, November 12, 2016

USA Election Result and Aftermath

The election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the USA surprised many including yours truly. His success also disappointed many though personally I was appalled at how poor both candidates appeared to be.

A win by Hillary Clinton would have given the USA its first woman leader. 

Bearing in mind that Pratibha Patil was elected President of India in 2007, Angela Merkel  of Germany in 2005 and Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of the UK elected in 1979, the Americans have much catching up to do as regards gender though their current presidency illustrates how we in the UK and Europe have our own different but equally important areas to address. 

Sadly my personal view is that the fact that Hillary Clinton is female had more to to with her unsuccessful attempt to become President than is being suggested in much of the media. 

Donald Trump's pre-election campaigning appeared at least through European eyes to be outrageous although Hillary Clinton's was far from perfect either. 

The American system of apparently permitting presidential candidates to use as much finance as they can raise or already possess appears to me at least to be appalling. Having said that, newspapers report that at least the eventual winner Mr Trump spent only a third as much as Hillary Clinton's side. Even so the sums seem enormous.

The UK system of restricting sums that prospective MPs including existing PMs and government ministers may spend on electioneering, seems far wiser and perhaps provides more opportunity for those with limited personal wealth to make careers in politics and even become PM.

A big gripe I have about the UK system of parliamentary politics is that the size of the PM's salary seems unfittingly small - searches indicate that:

The combined ministerial and parliamentary salary of the Prime Minister is £143,462 at April 2016. This figure includes the parliamentary salary of £74,962

Frankly for someone who has the responsibilities of the PM and who is required to attend to his or her post at all and any times of day and night the PM's salary does not seem sufficiently high. 

Yet 11 years ago This is money reported that:

BRITAIN'S biggest housebuilder, Barratt Developments, is on a collision course with one of the largest pension advisory bodies over proposals for new multi-million-pound executive pay deals.

Barratt wants shareholders to back a scheme that could see chief executive David Pretty bag more than £2m annual bonus in cash and shares - on top of a salary which has just leaped 22% this coming year to £507,500.

Of course House Building in the UK is important but  the comparatively large  limitation on the Prime Minister's  salary could   discourage people from striving to become PM and turn instead to working for large companies or heaven forbid try their hand at football.

Reverting to the USA presidential election; the aftermath so far  appears violent. Democracy is far from perfect but if most constituencies or states vote more in one way than another,  for the losers to wreack violence as appears to have happened in numerous  American cities is clearly anti-democratic. Presumably those responsible are unhappy about the democratic process though  sadly such dissenters never put forward attractive alternative proposals. 

In the UK currently,  a 50/50 vote split equally between Labour and Tory  throughout the nation, would be likely to give Labour a clear majority. The Tories need to poll about 11% more votes to win. 

The UK boundary commission does act to even out these discrepancies and it is apt to note that the position favoured the Tories in previous years such us the 1950s. 

Riots based on such discrepancies would in my view be absurd. Correcting an electoral register instantly is not practicable. Correcting it every five years or so seems fair at least to me.

Much as I do not favour Donald Trump, those rioting against his success in a democratic election are in my view either uneducated or against democracy or both; peaceful protest on the other hand is quite different.

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