|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
22 October 2016
OK. You’ve stayed up, you’ve watched three debates repeated ad nauseum,
you've listened to the pundits analysing ad infinitum, you’ve read journalists
pontificating interminably, and you still have a few weeks to watch back to back,
minute to minute coverage. Fools you? “Trump will never win.” “It’s Hillary of
course.” “Trump has secret supporters.” “Hillary will win regardless of how much
she is disliked.” “Trump is an idiot.” “Hillary is so dodgy.” Stop! this endless
suffering. Escape the endless reporting. Do something mindless. Oh. Right. This
election is, isn’t it?
Andrew Hammond wrote in the i: "Professor Alan Abramovitz has successfully
predicted that the result of presidential elections for almost three decades, and
forecasts a Trump win, with 51.4 per cent of the vote. The model is based on:
the growth rate of real GDP in the second quarter of an election year; the
incumbent party of the White House has held it for one presidential term of
more...an estimated reduction in vote share of more than four percentage points
for the Democrats, reflecting the fact that it is very difficult for a party to win
three consecutive terms...hasn't happened since 1988. However, the forecast
may prove wrong for the first time: it assumes that both contenders will unite
their parties and conduct first class campaigns. Trump, arguably, is doing
But don’t place your bets on Hillary winning by the massive landslide predicted.
In WikiLeaks e-mails, Hillary with several top advisers describe liberals and their
causes as “puritanical,” “pompous,” “naive,” “radical” and “dumb,” calling some
“freaks” who need to “get a life.” Oh not nice. Bernie Sanders was called – ‘a
doofus’. Huh? I prefer ‘daft’ to – erm – ‘doofus’. The ‘doofus’ has called for all
his supporters and liberals to back Hillary. Wait until the ‘doofus’ reads those
Politico reported ‘the lefties’ are not happy bunnies – or happy doofuses. One
liberal Democratic operative told the website: “We were already kind of
suspicious of where Hillary’s instincts were, but now we see that she is who we
thought she was.” Indeed.
The progressives are gathering other e-mails that mock Bernie or other liberal
icons and emails that show Hillary’s private (note here: private) positions on
trade, climate change, energy and Wall Street. Uh oh. Not looking good is it? Oh
dear, oh dear. Hillary – not such a dear is she?
This two-three-year campaign (or is it five? seven?) will finally come to a
conclusion. Is that possible? However, don’t get too excited; The Donald has
already called the election rigged - if he loses naturally. Hmmm. Really? Really?
Like the Bush election? Hmmm. 36 million listen to right-wing radio. Hmmmm.
Should we be afraid? Be very afraid? Yes! Whoever wins. Circle 8 November in
your diary to set your alarm. You wouldn’t want to miss the final result would
you? Would you? Wake me when it’s over.
Changing the subject somewhat – assuming you might still be fixated on whether
the US will accept a – a – woman! Clue: an audible gasp here - for president. So
progressive, so modern, so what.
You surely are aware that women will not be paid the same as men until 2069.
Does that include Hillary? Oh. Wrong country. I know, you are thinking or
saying “blah, blah, blah”. If you are, and you shouldn’t be, consider this: 2.5p is
the annual rate per hour at which the gender gap is closing. 2.5p. Point made.
We know that women earn less than men at every stage of their career but let’s
do sports rather than the usual. Cricket: £700,000 annual retainer fees for men,
£50,000 for women. Golf: £975 for men and £298,000 for women. Football: £13.5
m vs £65,000. Clearly the genders didn’t need to be mentioned here.
But, what’s even more indicative of the attitude towards women takes place on
telly. Let’s do a few examples. Taskmaster: six men – one woman…I’ve Got
News for You: four men – one woman…Mock of the Week: six men – one
woman…Would I Lie to You: five men – two women…There’s No Such Thing as
the News: three men – one woman…Duck Quacks Don’t Echo: five men – two
women, The Last Leg: three men – no women. Are more examples necessary? I
know, I know, Sandi Toksvig is Stephen Fry’s replacement, a standard stand-in,
but an excellent choice. Nonetheless, the panel consistently consists of three
men and one woman. There will always be more men being clever – or so not –
than women on show won’t there be?
All I am asking is: imagine if women made up the majority and men were merely
tokens on these entertaining programmes. You can’t can you? Because you’ve
never seen it. More than 51 percent of the population, women you know, given
properly representation? Hmmm. I’m thinking fourteen per cent – on a good day.
51 per cent vs 14 per cent. Really. I’m thinking: why, why, why? And then there
are world-wide governments. Oh no. Let’s not even go there or we’ll have to
mention how men sans women have totally f***ed humankind, the earth, the
climate, the planet, the world… Now you should be afraid. Be very afraid. Forget
The Donald and Hillary….