So where were you when you heard that Donald Trump had been elected as the 45th President of the United States?
For many, it might have been a huge surprise, a shock or a source of real anger but didn’t a lot of people see it coming? After all, despite the US being a hugely successful country, a land of massive opportunity and the closest and most longstanding ally of the UK, there is nevertheless a deep malaise in that country, particularly amongst the weary middle classes, the industrial working classes in the so called “rust belt” and most folk who are not part of the moneyed, well-educated and well-connected elite.
I wouldn’t have voted for Donald Trump – his lack of coherent policy and new ideas as well as bellicosity, aggressive demeanour and “take no prisoners” style put me off, irrespective of his message - and as Telegraph readers know, I’m no shrinking violet - but I nevertheless respect the decision of the American people, over 120 million of whom went to the polls. Mr Trump is now about to be their President, for all Americans and he must now hold good to his pledge to heal and unify the country as soon as possible.
Parts of the media seek to delegitimise the Brexit vote last June by linking it to Mr Trump’s poll win (in a negative way) but this is too simplistic analysis. Brexit was about self-government, Parliamentary sovereignty, freedom and about the ambition to be an independent, global trading nation.
However, insofar as there are common themes, the US election was very much about a rejection by the “left behind”, the alienated and those who have conspicuously not shared in the fruits of globalisation coveted by the ruling Establishment. The latter were represented by Hillary Clinton, a tired and inauthentic machine politician with a sense of entitlement funded by millions of dollars supplied by Wall Street investment banks (the same ones which bankrolled the failed EU Remain campaign). Trump won because he cut through the noise to talk about fairness, wages, jobs, trade, immigration, identity – all things which the elite failed to properly address, with their focus on stigmatising those who raised these issues as racist, xenophobic, stupid and ill-informed and political correct nonsense such as transgender lavatories!
And they’re surprised the voters said: “No thanks.”
Just like Brexit campaign, the liberal elite sought to demonise, patronise and threaten the voters, to the same lamentable end.
Trump isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but as UK politicians, it’s now our job to face reality, adopt a positive strategy and ensure we exploit the warmth and sustainability of the historic special relationship with the United States, which transcends any particular elected official, for our mutual benefit.