HAS there ever been a more dramatic new year? A pitched battle in the US Capitol, the first time it has been stormed since 1812, a new president yet to be inaugurated, lorries backed up at ports and a mutant virus sweeping across the UK.

Within hours of the bells the mutant strain of the Covid-19 virus brought a new health threat to lives and livelihood. Not only was the strain more contagious, it took hold in London, the capital city of the media, and so the impact of the new strain dominated headline and talk shows.

The new strain was virulent enough to goad Prime Minister Boris Johnson into facing the TV cameras.

What an odd contradictory character Johnson is – keen on publicity but never scrutiny, happy to be ludicrously dressed at photo shoots but painfully shy if ­journalistic rigour is in the room.

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Last Sunday morning, Johnson ­conceded to a sit-down interview with Andrew Marr. What unfolded is one of the missed opportunities of public service broadcasting. Journalism likes to congratulate itself that its defining role is holding power to account but Marr’s performance was bumbling genuflection. A show that was once perceived as politically substantial has drifted into the benign hinterland of sofas and sedentary discussion. Marr committed one of the cardinal crimes of television journalism, failing to elicit either heat or light. We got neither insights nor incendiary argument.

Boris Johnson was teetering on the edge of a damaging U-turn, declaring that schools in England would return on the basis that the teaching environment was safe, and then, hemmed in by the cautious Nicola Sturgeon, who had kept schools in Scotland closed, Johnson was forced to give ground to logic and science. Flip and Flop danced around the TV studios like cartoon characters.

Johnson was there for the taking but Andrew Marr floundered, not only eroding his own collapsing reputation but adding weight to the belief that the BBC’s news and current affairs directorate in London is soft-pedalling on a woefully unimpressive Conservative Government.

Any suspicions of Conservative bias at the Beeb were not helped by the ­announcement that Richard Sharp, an ­adviser to Rishi Sunak and a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, has been trailed as the new chairman of the BBC.

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The upside is that Charles Moore, the aggressive Telegraph writer who is openly hostile to the licence fee, is now out of the running. The downside is that it ­secures free market capitalism and English ­conservatism as the settled ideology of an organisation painfully in need of a break.

But hold on, such are the arcane ways of the British state, Sharp’s appointment cannot be verified until it receives royal approval. So, there is still slender hope. I wait with bated breath for the Queen to say: “But what will this appointment mean for investigative documentaries into the super-wealthy and off-shore tax havens?.” I can but dream. I can but ­delude myself.

If you thought that the front pages would be dominated by savage attacks on the incompetent Kabbalah of modern-day Conservatism, you would be wrong. Donald Trump and his mobile army of Proud Boys, white supremacists and ­everyday Walgreen fascists rode to the rescue by fighting their final redoubt at Fort Washington.

Suddenly, the focus shifted, and shifted dramatically, to America. The events in around the Capitol were astonishing and the unfolding prescience of live television only exaggerated a sense of drama and insurrection.

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Pro-Trump thugs emotionally whipped up to deny the outcome of the presidential elections, smashed camera equipment belonging to journalists from Associated Press. They queued up in bizarre garb to scream incoherence to the world. This was a day out on the town for conspiracy theorists and the ugly underbelly of America on parade.

The legendary soul singer Stevie ­Wonder was one of the most outspoken commentators. He took to Twitter demanding that Trump be arrested and taken into custody.

“I am heartbroken and astounded that this narcissistic and dangerous president would put lives in danger and encourage violent sedition against our government,” he said.

“That man is no longer able to serve as president because he can’t accept defeat. Can we afford two more weeks? I say NO! It is time for the leaders of this country to invoke the 25th Amendment. Isn’t it obvious? Today has made me sad with disbelief with what is happening in my country, a country that has inspired my songs of hope and love.”

The National:

It is perhaps no great surprise that Stevie Wonder would rally to attack Trump, the singer is a lifelong Democrat with a history of support for left-leaning political causes, but then again, he is exactly the person to speak up. Stevie Wonder represents the black America that Trumpism despises.

Although he is not as charismatic as the Motown superstar, it was Mitt Romney, the one-time Republican nominee for the presidency in 2012 who made the most vital intervention. He tore into Trump in a speech interrupted by applause: “What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”

But it is what he didn’t say that will shape the last days of Donald Trump. At long last, Romney was saying that the Republican Party has had enough. Fear is falling away and, troubled by the long-term harm that Trump is doing to their reputation, others will now follow, distancing themselves from a man who is now an electoral liability and a deranged loser perilously close to fascism.

Congressional leaders continued to vote through the night. In the end, the president-elect Joe Biden received 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Enraged by the outcome and possibly scared by the unpredictability of the feral mob he had enabled, Trump pronounced via a White House spokesperson that he disagrees with the result but has committed to an orderly transition on January 20, the day pencilled for Biden’s inauguration.

No-one is yet sure what Trump will do next. Protocol requires him to be magnanimous in defeat and attend the inauguration to hand over the reins of power to the new president. But magnanimity seems like an unlikely character reversal for Trump and its more likely that he will huffily stay away from the ceremony only to brood and denounce, as the tattered remnants of his power fray even further.

READ MORE: Donald Trump should be banned from UK after Capitol scenes, Priti Patel told

A rumour is already alive that Trump will fly to Scotland on January 19, to his golf resort at Turnberry. There is a strand of public thought that Police Scotland should be on the alert and arrest the grieving clown for breaching Covid travel regulations. Another possibility is that feral Scotland will rise up and a gang of miscreants from darkest Irvine, adorned in fancy dress, will storm the hotel in the grand spirit of Ayrshire insurrection.

Personally, I am glad the Trump era is nearly over, and that Biden’s inauguration will draw a line on his hateful attitude and the curdling disrespect he has shown for established global institutions, for democracy and for common decency.

The devil in me hopes he comes to Scotland so we can play a part in his downfall, but my rational side hopes he stays away. Trump has nothing to offer us but the bad breath of the ugliest president that decent Americans have been forced to endure.