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Graham Ross

Regular readers of this column…


According to our esteemed editor and Jack Russell devotee, are copious. And will be acquainted with the fact that around this time of year I ramble on about winter loosening its icy grip and the frail but obvious signs of spring starting to appear.

My trusty and first reference point is always the small, purple, yellow and white fringed carpet around the edges of Leith Links as the crocuses and snowdrops peep above the frosty grass. Their appearance never fails to instil a sense of anticipatory optimism that perhaps, just perhaps, things are going to take a turn for the better.

Then there’s the light. Sunrises and sunsets start to get earlier and later as we advance to the point where we can turn the clocks forward. Things are starting to move forward. At least that’s a good sign surely?

And then there are small things like people discarding their heavy duty winter wear, daffodils appearing in shops, adverts for summer holidays, and piles of easter eggs blocking every entrance and exit in supermarkets.

We stop hunching our shoulders and look up when we’re walking, closing our eyes to feel the faint return of heat from the sun on our faces. Things just seem to feel better.

At this point, I tend to throw a wintry grenade into the proceedings and go on to list everything that is still cold, crumbling, and staggering towards oblivion in the political world.

And dear readers, despite my genuinely held desire to provide you all with a fragrant bouquet of metaphorical daffodils which William Wordsworth would be proud of, the reality is that it would be a dereliction of duty to do so when there is so much pain, hysteria, and madness still in the air.

In the last column, I mused on the forthcoming election in America and posited that it would be between the present incumbent, “mark my words” Joe Biden and everyone’s favourite piece of walking incoherence, the criminal Donald Trump. Well that’s now a certainty.

That’s right, the country generally regarded as the most powerful in the world (depending on how you measure such things), will be led either by a man who should be spending his twilight years sucking on a Werther’s Original and watching box sets of the Golden Girls on television, or a deluded convict who thinks that world war two hasn’t happened yet, or that drinking disinfectant can cure Covid.

Is there any hope for optimism here? The short answer is no. Trump is favourite to win the election and has already promised to wreak unhinged revenge on all of his political opponents. Why should we be worried about that?

Political analysts who have far more insight than I do have predicted that a Trump victory in November would, not could, but would, seriously destabilise the world. They point to ‘mounting nervousness’ around the world that he will upend the world economy and enduring political alliances by defunding NATO, allowing Vladimir Putin to win the war in Ukraine, exacerbate further stability in the Middle East, and also fail to support Taiwan in its struggle to keep China at bay.

While a victory for Biden wouldn’t necessarily bring an immediate end to any of these issues, it’s far more likely that the emphasis would be on seeking to stabilise matters across the globe, rather than pursuing a megalomaniacal agenda which will only bring the flame nearer to the touch paper.

It’s also likely that the next general election in the UK will be in October, just prior to the American election. Although I’m not a professional political analyst, if Labour don’t win the election, it will be the biggest political upset since George Galloway won a by-election. (Hang on a minute, that’s not right surely?).

So how will Sir Keir Starmer deal with a Trump victory? He’ll probably spend inordinate amounts of time shuttling between European capitals trying to decide on whether it’s time to end our special relationship with the US and seek to become a very junior, non-executive partner with our european neighbours, or hang on to the coat tails of a nutcase in the hope that he’s not quite bright enough to remember the nuclear codes. In other words, to forge a ‘special needs relationship’.

Whatever happens, and despite my gloomy correspondence, it would be a good time to keep your head up, feel the sun on your face, gaze at the flowers, and look forward, hopefully, to a glorious summer.

Scotland at the Euros, cold beer in the park, cricket on the Links, and sand between your toes.

Enjoy it as much as you can. Come November, it could get really dark. ■


It’s a run off between “mark my words” Biden and that piece of walking incoherence, the criminal Trump


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