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  Opinion   Columnists  17 May 2024  Farrukh Dhondy | Can Trump stand for President even if jailed? Sunak’s troubles growing

Farrukh Dhondy | Can Trump stand for President even if jailed? Sunak’s troubles growing

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : May 18, 2024, 12:05 am IST
Updated : May 18, 2024, 12:05 am IST

As the world watches elections in the US, UK, & India, the outcomes remain unpredictable, marked by defections & geopolitical tensions

 **EDS: IMAGE VIA PIB** Ganjam: Voters show their identification cards as they wait in a queue at a polling station to cast their votes for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Ganjam district of Odisha, Monday, May 13, 2024. (PTI Photo)
  **EDS: IMAGE VIA PIB** Ganjam: Voters show their identification cards as they wait in a queue at a polling station to cast their votes for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Ganjam district of Odisha, Monday, May 13, 2024. (PTI Photo)

“This tree bears no fruit

But we shelter in its shade

Your heartbreak is acute

Now you know that love was made

To bring you joy and trials

To give your life fresh hope --

The donkey thinks all miles

Are the compass of his rope…”

From Holyboli, by Bachchoo

The attentive of the world look forward to the US, UK, and soon the results of the Indian elections on June 4… We hold our breaths!

The elections in… err… democratic Russia, before all the rest, had the world on tenterhooks. Who could have predicted this startling result? So close!!! All those popular plausible challengers -- the ones who leapt out of tenth floor windows as part of their campaign; the ones who blew up the planes they were flying in; the ones who poisoned themselves in Siberian gulags in the belief that it would lead them to the throne of the czars in the Kremlin; the ones who swallowed nuclear poisons and Novichok as part of their illusory belief that it would bring the Russian voters to applaud them….

The “winner” of the Russian “election”, apart from committing the mass murder of Ukrainians and ignoring the severe casualties the conscripts in his own forces have suffered, has now taken charge of the “Wagner” mercenary army whose leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, he had murdered, and has deployed them in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali to wipe out the Muslim opponents of these dictatorships. He labels these Muslim opposition elements “jihadists” and “terrorists”. In return, Vladimir Putin has profitable access to the gold and uranium which are plentiful in sub-Algerian Western Africa.

And now, the coming US elections with Donald Trump in court through the weeks becomes international news. And yet, at this stage of the contest, it’s stopped being a clash of policies, intentions and promises. One would expect an American election to feature debates about immigration, abortion, inflation, health schemes, unemployment, LGBT+ rights, foreign policy, arms for Israel or the Ukraine, etc. But no! All I read about concerning the coming American election is the indictment of the self-trumpeting Donald Trump on 34 charges of falsifying his financial tax records after paying off hush money to two women with whom he had sex.

In strictly legal terms, the 34 counts are “alleged” crimes, but the persistence of the detailed news coverage on all media compels me to imagine myself as a member of the jury, and when asked if Wigwarm is guilty as charged, though the trial is yet to be concluded, I’d reply: “Is the Pope a Catholic?”

And yet, and yet, the opinion polls in the United States seem to say that Wiggy’s firm support ignores his criminality, his magnificent stupidity in advocating fatal injections of bleach for Covid-19, his misogyny, racism, corruption, corrupt relationship with Russia, his assault on democracy on January 6 and twenty other factors which should put him behind bars or sent to Rwanda. Instead, his “base” (both senses?) wants to put him in the White House, Making America Gullible Again!

The polls say the election in the US is too close to call. It’s an intriguing scenario. Suppose Wiggy is found guilty and sent to jail. Can he still stand for President? And if he does and wins, then will a federal jail serve as his office instead of the White House? We anxiously watch that space.

And so, gentle reader, to the UK elections, which by law have to be called by January 2025. Poor Hedgie Soongone has suffered tsunamic defeats in recent weeks. In the local elections in May, his party lost half its seats on local councils -- the municipality panchayats in charge of local affairs.

They were defeated in crucial House of Commons byelections on the same day and lost the very prestigious mayoralty of the West Midlands. The Tories retained only one mayoral position -- that of Lord Ben Houchen in Teeside. He campaigned without mentioning the Tory Party, maintaining a distance from the governing party at Westminster. When he retained his mayoralty, campaigning on local improvements he boasted he had achieved, Hedgie turned up to cash in on the only win the Tory Party could boast about. In the TV footage, Houchen’s body-language diagnoses Hedgie’s political leprosy.

Even more suffering for Hedge-fund-baba in recent weeks. Every leadership replacement candidate has backtracked now as they don’t want to lead the Tories into a defeat and have to follow Hedgie into the interstellar spaces. And now two prominent Tory MPs have crossed the floor and joined the Labour Party.

One of them, Tom Poulter, a doctor, said he was disillusioned with the way the Tories had run down the National Health Service. Fair enough. The other defector, Natalie Elphicke, has a firm reputation as a dedicated right-wing Tory.

She crossed the floor and was welcomed by Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer. The welcome, though a kick in the crotch for Hedgie, was not universally supported in the Labour Party, one senior member saying that Ms Elphicke was to the right of Genghis Khan and what was she doing joining their party?

Not that Labour hasn’t suffered in a very particular way. The shadow cabinet’s stance on Gaza, abstaining in a vote demanding a ceasefire, has alienated Muslim MPs and councillors and the Muslim voting population of cities such as Oldham. But, of course, those voters won’t go over to the Tories. Allah hoo Akbar!

Tags: us presidential elections, 2024 lok sabha elections, uk elections