Friday, 25 January 2019

The Art of the Possible

The latest 'top news' story on the BBC news pages is headed "Trump announces deal to lift shutdown".

If only the news were as good as the headline suggests.

It's a temporary measure, getting people back to work for three weeks, and then the US government  and all the federal employees face the same predicament.

Trump insists that he's going to get the funding for his wall, either in the budget or via declaring a national emergency, presumably thinking that the threat of the constitutional crisis this would evoke will be enough to bring the Democrats into line and make them write the budget he wants.

It must be hard for him to realise that being President is not the same as being CEO and that sometimes the dreaded C word needs to be used - and no, I don't mean covfefe.

As some students of US history know, and all those who have seen Hamilton know, originally when one of two candidates was elected US President, the loser/runner-up became the Vice-President. The gentle art of compromise (not to mention decent campaigning without resorting to derogatory comments about your opponent) was essential for anything to get done.

There seems to be a view in governments on both sides of the Atlantic that if you compromise with the opposition, you have somehow lost. You haven't, you've governed. And the people you are governing have won.

Fingers crossed that someone with the ear of the President/control of his Twitter account can help him understand this some time in the next three weeks.

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