Monday, 22 February 2016

Trump and Bassaleg

The badge that accompanied me all through my grammar school years
(September 1959 to July 1966). It's sewn on my pyjamas now.
The Republican Presidential campaign is beginning to remind me of the election of Captain of the Sports House (Tredegar House in this case. One of three in the school: Tredegar, Ruperra and Ebbw) we used to get at Bassaleg Grammar School back in the 1960s. Every year there would be a few candidates for this not-taken-too-seriously-by most-but-taken-deadly seriously-by-some role. Typically, the candidature went along these lines...

There would be Andy (everyone is a product of my imagination if anyone from the old school reads this), the captain of the rugby team and perennial candidate for every student office going.

There was Keith, the ever serious violin player in the school orchestra and Oxbridge certainty with top marks for everything he did. He also was the only senior boy who willingly wore his school cap every day.

And there was Dai, who was one of the boys. He was smart enough to get good grades but didn't think that trying too hard was cool. He smoked, loved a pint, managed to hold a place in the rugby team, was naturally witty and was selective about the rules he followed

Every year we'd troop into the Hall and have a hustings where all the candidates would make a short speech to try to gain our votes.

Andy would promise to really motivate the House and to get us to follow a strict training regime. His speech was always followed by polite applause.

Keith would claim that as the smartest pupil in the school, he was obviously the most qualified to be Sports Captain. He promised to work hard to make sure that this year would be the best year ever for Tredegar House. His speech would be followed by light clapping and a few sniggers.

Dai promised to make training optional, there would be crisps every day for lunch, longer breaks and even if we didn't win, we'd have fun losing. His speech was followed by wild applause, foot stomping, and a chant, “Dai....Dai.....Dai”.

It was at this point that Penry M Rees MA, our beloved headmaster, would step to the podium, his gown billowing and his moustache bristling, to demand quiet. We would then get “The Speech”

“This is a very important election that will determine how successful your House will be in the future. This is not a popularity contest. You must elect someone who is serious, not a clown”.

Dai never won the election. The students, properly scolded, would vote for Andy or Keith - the serious candidates.

Donald Trump is campaigning by telling people what others will not. He is saying things others are afraid to say. He is being outrageous and people love it. He reminds me a lot of Bassaleg's Dai.

The press and the political elite are Penry. 

“Trump is a clown, this is not a popularity contest, this election is very important and will determine how successful the country will be for the next four yea

In my humble opinion, Trump won’t win the election; he won’t even win the nomination. He is not a clown, he is very smart but would not make a good President. He upsets too many of the wrong people. He will shake things up. He will put focus on topics others try to skirt because taking a position on them would cost them votes, but he will not be elected. In fact, I don't think he really wants to be President. Yes, he wants to win but I'm not convinced he wants, or could cope with, the constraints that would follow. Most politicians pussy-foot around an issue to try and make everyone happy.  Trump will not pussy-foot around anything. He will p**s people off. He will say what he means and not be apologetic for it. He is not ashamed of being rich and successful but he is not a clown. 

But don’t worry Mr Rees; "The Donald" is not going to get the nomination. The Republicans will, when it comes to it, go for someone who is very serious and knows how to say something without really saying anything. They will go for a politician. Or not. 

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