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Photo by tsg pixels on Unsplash

Donald and Melania Trump arrived at Mar-a-Largo in a motorcade. They were greeted by a small crowd, cheering, clapping, and shouting ‘we love you.’

Trump stopped to give the thumbs up, but he looked tired. Melania walked straight into the building, leaving her husband outside to savour his fans.

Once inside, the couple went to their separate suites. Melania kicked off her heels, put her sunglasses on the table, and poured herself a vodka. She sat down in the big chair by the window and stared into the room. She drank a sip, and slumped back into the chair, her feet up on the crystal glass coffee table. She exhaled a long, slow breath, as if she was breathing out fully for the first time in four years. She reached for a cigarette from the marble and gold box by her chair, lit it, sucked in the smoke to the very bottom of her lungs, held it there, then slowly let it drift out. …


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People are dying of ignorance: not understanding how the virus spreads, or the risk of spreading it; not wearing masks properly, or at all; not observing social distancing. Boris Johnson’s government have clearly handled the pandemic badly. One of their failings has been very poor communication.

Two things really struck me. Firstly, there has not really been a coherent public health campaign. We get the cabinet and various chief science and medical officers on news briefings, but where is the national campaign of posters, fliers, and adverts explaining how and why to wear a mask? Where are the public information films about how Covid is spread? Why are we not being told to keep windows open, as Merkel is telling Germany? Why are we not being taught about viral loads? All we have is a government baffling everyone with convoluted rules, and this weird ongoing obsession with pubs. Arguably, modern media is less conducive to a national public health campaign. …


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn3KWM1kuAw

The lovely guys at Boston Robotics circulated this video for New Year’s. The video features 2 humanoid robots, a dog robot, and… well, another robot, all dancing to Do You Love Me.

The video is genuinely brilliant on so many levels. Firstly, it is very cool. Great song, excellent dancing, love the idea. Secondly, the technical achievement they are showcasing is breathaking. Like most people, I’ve long marvelled at what they, and other robotics companies are doing. The humanoid robots dance with style, fluidity, and character, and I found it hard to take my eyes off them. …


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2020 is the year we’d all like to forget, but never will.

Of course, a lot of 2020 was really the result of decisions made back around 2016. We elected populists, they ignored scientists and avoided difficult decisions — that is the essence of populism. They dismantled the national structures designed to protect us from pandemics, wars, populism, and climate change. 2020 was predictable. Indeed, the people who actually know stuff warned us about the risk of a pandemic, of fires and floods, and of political meltdowns caused by Trump, Brexit, populism, and Russian influence. We ignored the warnings.

These last weeks of 2020 have been positive, in a very relative way. I have to keep reminding people that if you can see past all the daily shit showering down on us, things look quite good! Trump will not be president next year; we are at the beginning of the end of the pandemic, with multiple vaccines entering use. …


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Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

The UK has been saved from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. The day before Christmas, the UK government agreed a deal with the European Union so that the UK continues to have a trade deal with its largest trading partner after the end of the transition period on December 31st. However much you dislike Brexit, or indeed the Brexit deal, that is good news. The economy has one less reason to fall off a cliff in the new year.

The government have been working hard on Brexit, and are now happy to tell us all what a great deal it is, and also how much chaos will still ensue as a result of it. But in the background, we just had Christmas. Boris Johnson likes doing things at the last minute. The last minute Brexit deal came the day before a Christmas that was far less relaxed than he promised it would be, after reversing his promise to relax pandemic lockdowns over the festive period. …


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Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

The demise of Donald Trump has cut off the head of right-wing populism globally. Having Trump in power, and on Twitter, helped give credibility and fuel to populists elsewhere. Boris Johnson was the ‘Britain Trump,’ and Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, the ‘Trump of the Tropics’. In the past, America has set an example as a liberal democracy, and was a standard against which other countries were measured. If America is one of the leading super-powers, and Trump was one of the most powerful men in the world, his behaviour enabled lesser versions of him, in smaller countries. …


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Photo by Jason Hafso on Unsplash

Whilst Trump spends 3 months raging and fighting, who will run the country?

Back in the day, when America was still ‘normal,’ the 3 months between a president winning and taking office was a period when the incubment raced to see through policy objectives, and the newcomer formed a team to take over.

This time around will be different. Biden has already governed, and has an experienced team that was only disbanded a few years ago. Trump has mainly not governed, hollowing out the country’s political structures. Biden can fill the gap and begin to run the country competently from January 20th, but Trump’s deafening silence these last few days suggests he will spend the next few months focussed on legal battles, misinformation, and most likely doing all he can to save himself and his family. …


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Photo by David Todd McCarty on Unsplash

In the days before the American election, Trump has shown what America could look like under a second Trump term. For the last 4 years I have been pointing to parallels between Trump and the European leaders of the 1930s. Using words like Fascism upsets plenty of people. They do not understand that we are not saying that Fascism is always the same. It is an attitude, and a set of actions, not a precise copy of Fascism-past.

We have seen so much, especially over the last year, as Trump has grown in confidence, particularly after the Republican Senate told him he was above the law and failed even to hear his impeachment trial. …


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Photo by Marcus Kauffman on Unsplash

In the worst possible way we are living in the future. Back in 2016 I wrote about this future in an article that went viral. Around 20m people read the piece, all around the world. It caused a stir, predicting a dark future about how Brexit and Trump would play out. I refered to the cycles of self-destruction humans have initiated throughout history. I suggested that,

“At a local level in time people think things are fine, then things rapidly spiral out of control until they become unstoppable, and we wreak massive destruction on ourselves. …


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Common sense doesn’t prevail on the London Underground

A while back — pandemic-time is amorphous, it could have been weeks or months ago — Michael Gove announced that the government would rely on the common sense of the British people when it came to mask wearing and social distancing.

My initial thought was that this was the same people who’d elected him and his friends into government, and had voted for Brexit, both things that are demonstrably not sensible, so this wasn’t a great idea.

England’s dismal performance during the pandemic has shown two things about this country. …

About

Tobias Stone

Writing about politics, history, and society. An outsider's view on the USA, insider's view on the UK, and cautious optimist. www.tswriting.co @ts_writing

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