It is now and it wasn’t even close
So now we know and the answer wasn’t forty-two it was Obama. The professional pollsters got it right and the professional pundits got it wrong. I ask you, how embarrassing is that? America has voted and it seems that perhaps they’re not all rabid neo-cons after all. It appears that they have voted for a fairer society where health care is affordable and available to all, where the President will hesitate before getting involved in any more wars and where job creation is perhaps above wealth creation in the great scheme of things. It seems that way but the reality is America is in a mess. Not only is there a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots but the country is going through something of an identity crisis. It remains to be seen if Obama truly has a vision and whether that vision will be inspirational enough to overcome the growing ethnic divides.
In the meantime, barely pausing for breath after misreading the opinion polls so badly, or did ‘too close to call’ actually mean ‘bloody nearly a landslide’, the pundits are turning their attention to the 2016 election. They confidently predict that Hillary Clinton will be the candidate for the Democrats and, wait for it, Jeb Bush will be the Republican choice. I see a couple of difficulties here. Hillary Clinton will be sixty-nine years old at the time of the 2016 election. That in itself wouldn’t bother me nor does the fact that at times the lady looks her age but how would the American electorate view it? As for another Bush, all I can say is exit polls show that George W cast a shadow over the Romney run for the White House. Eight minutes is a long time in twitter politics let alone eight years but I reckon George W casts a long shadow.
Twilight of the Raj
Meanwhile Britain has suddenly realised that India is now a bit of an economic force to be reckoned with and is stopping economic aid by 2015. This after an Indian Company, Tata, has already brought most of the steel industry in the UK, many call centres are located in India and there is a booming electronics industry. I read that Silicon Valley, or at least parts of it, are relocating to India. Scotland’s attempt to become an electronic centre earned the nickname ‘Silicon Glen’, so will parts of India become known as ‘The Silicon Sari?’ Now there’s an idea for a competition.
You post your (printable) suggestions for the name of an Indian version of Silicon Valley and I’ll pick the winner who will get… a dedication in my next book. How about that? OK, maybe a free version of the next series of Karno short stories as well as a dedication. I said maybe, times are still hard.
Speaking of which I also read in the BBC article that some three hundred and sixty million Indians live on less than the equivalent of thirty five pence a day. Not being funny here, but would somebody tell me how they manage it?
Kevin Bloody Rudd
Former (after being stiletto-ed in the back by his pal Julia) Australian Prime Minister and former (after failing to get his own back on her in a leadership challenge) Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has burst into print about the future of China. Fair enough, the chap studied Chinese language and history at university so he should know a thing or three about the place but I think he’s ignored a few salient points in his analysis. He seems dismissive of the internal problems facing China and as almost every other commentator does, thinks that China is an economic superpower. I’ve said it before, whilst China’s economic figures look impressive, always provided you believe them, the economy needs to grow at roughly ten per cent per year just to provide jobs for new entrants into the workforce. It falls some way short of that and trouble is brewing. Whilst China may have the military muscle to frighten its neighbours it’s a long way, say fifty years, away from being in a position to challenge an America that is redeploying naval assets into the Pacific region.
Rudd writes about how China is expanding in Africa but ignores or doesn’t know what’s going on in Australia’s backyard. True China is a major economic player in the Pacific region. They’ve achieved this by soft loans and construction projects. The fact is that the construction projects rarely provide any local jobs as Chinese companies import their own (Chinese) labour and the soft loans aren’t in reality all that soft, as some countries will discover in the not too distant future. The Chinese are not popular with many Pacific Islanders who are well aware that not only do they get no economic benefit from Chinese investment in their respective countries but the Chinese are absolutely raping the fish stocks. This destroys local fishing industries and causes economic hardship. China can’t feed itself and sooner or later is going to run out of other people’s fish and rice. Will this lead to another Chinese revolution? Rudd is silent on the matter but I think that it might. If that happens then all bets on Chinese economic growth are off and how the Chinese government will attempt to deal with the internal situation is the real question. Traditionally governments with trouble at home have tried to unite ‘the people’ by getting involved in foreign adventures. This probably won’t work for China as they are ethnically, not to mention linguistically, very divided.
We do and will continue to, live in interesting times.