I’ M in the kitchen, typing away, one eye on the cooking, as I sit wondering at what passes as democracy!

I spoke to friends in Tallahassee last night. The despondency and shame they discussed was almost tangible. I felt a bit guilty then at sharing a Kenyan English language newspaper, showing rioters on Capitol Hill and with the headline “who’s a banana republic now?” For those in the USA who cannot accept electoral defeat, was this their act of taking back control?

The parallels between the USA and rUK for me at least are worrying. Both have ended up with populist leaders, unsuited to leading far less governing effectively at the best of times. And let’s face it, this isn’t the best of times.

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Trump and Johnson have been dependent on their personalities, suited to media appearances, bolstered by social media platforms and propped up by soundbites.

The simplicity of two main soundbites was breathtakingly clever. “Make America Great Again” and “Take Back Control” meant that people could act as empowered individuals, changing the status of their nation.

The National:

Because that’s what those two slogans offered: power. What’s not to like? You’re in charge, reshaping your country with your actions. It’s a defined, well-trodden path worn away by earlier charismatics with political ambitions.

Sway with oratory, ridicule and demean those not in your camp – the others, the outsiders. There’s neither a demand nor a necessity to join a political party. That leaves room for possibly a tiny spark of conscience.

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Don’t like the messenger? Fine, but the message’s good and just needs folk to believe in the cause. Being part of the group, offering support is enough, whilst ticking the ballot paper at the appropriate moment is the ultimate act, ensuring inclusion and the myth of power and being in charge.

And when it goes wrong, blame those others, the outsiders. After all, you’ve done your bit, made your contribution to the cause. Slogans are then left behind, and the art of deflection comes to the fore.

For Johnson, failure to supply appraise PPE, a working test and trace system, NHS staff shortages, heartbreaking Covid fatalities, meant it was time for confidence building superlatives.

Eye-watering high targets, moonshots, world beating somethings, anythings: pride in injecting more arms than most other nations. Always being one step ahead of the last failure, with his under-delivering whilst bigging up the next over-promising.

The Covid crisis is threat enough here in the UK, social, economic and political. But coupled with Brexit it has demonstrated that currently the EU shows signs of acting more united , more effective, more supportive to its members whether big or small, think Republic of Ireland.

The UK is isolated, disconnected politically from its main political ally, the USA. It is more disunited than before. Wales stirring, the island of Ireland quietly considering the benefits of reunification. And what of Scotland?

The USA had the opportunity to vote out its failed leader, failed government. We have our opportunity in May. If the Unionists are correct in their mantra of there being no appetite for another referendum, and the polls are wrong, they’ll be championing the May elections, with a “bring it on” fervour.

Those elections will be the death knell not of the clamour for independence, but for those who would deny democracy in Scotland.

Selma Rahman