Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Article excerpt

Nobody knows anything. William Goldman's famous first law of the movie business -- that no one can say before the fact what's going to be a hit or a flop -- is our new rule of political punditry. Pollsters, experts, markets tell us with scientific certainty what's going to happen. Then the voters come along and ruin everything. Brexit. Trump. Ed Balls and Strictly Come Dancing . Who knew? As last Tuesday dawned in New York, the US election was deemed a formality. Newsrooms had lovingly compiled their historic 'First Woman President' editions. The final polls pointed to a clear Hillary win. And then the actual votes rolled in, uncannily like Brexit. Clinton was doing worse than expected where she needed hefty totals. Trump was doing better. Just as the UK's big cities voted Remain, only to be swamped by the non-urban Leavers, the early clamour of Clinton victories in Miami, Philadelphia and Cleveland was drowned out by the silent roar of smaller towns and counties in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. President Trump. Nobody knows anything.

Like Brexit, the shock of Trump's victory was greeted the next morning with a keening that was taken up like the call of the muezzin from the minarets of traditional and social media. Confirmation of the result came in the early hours of November 9: that's 11/9 in the US convention, 9/11 in Europe, and of course the distraught members of the establishment quickly wrapped themselves in the symbolism. Much of New York City stumbled around in the fog of mourning. The principal of the school to which a colleague sends his child sent a note to parents explaining how the school would lead their children through their grief. 'And now when we most want to weep and mourn, we must come to work and be a source of both solace and inspiration to all our young students,' it said. Tom Friedman, the blowhard, self-anointed intellectual voice of proper-thinking elites (the New York Times ), went on TV to pronounce Trump's victory a 'moral 9/11'. The difference, he said, was that the first 9/11 had been inflicted on us by others. This one we had inflicted on ourselves. Thus, 60 million Americans were instantly denounced as moral terrorists. And Trump is accused of extremist language!

The media and the educational establish-ments may have been in mourning but the markets loved it. The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved up and kept moving in its biggest weekly gain since 2011. …

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