I am sure you are all square-eyed, as I am, from looking at TV for the last five or six days. Can you believe it? The American election was last Tuesday, and I am writing this column on the Tuesday of the following week, and still President Trump is shouting that the vote was stolen from him and that he is the true President.
I don’t know for how long he can go on with this, or who eventually will entertain him. I doubt that any of the highest courts in the land can do so, because he is not putting forward any evidence that the vote was, in fact, stolen from him.
It is truly amazing that the only results he wants to challenge are the ones like Pennsylvania which were a tight, close vote. He is not at all seeking to challenge any of the States where he won handsomely himself.
This morning, he is really on the rampage and I just wonder, in the end, how they can stop him from his path of self-destruction.
In my mind, and in so many others, Joe Biden won fair and square. I like the way he is going about the business of being the President-in-waiting. I particularly like the way he is speaking to the American public. There is no ‘Sleepy Joe’ about him; he is full of his programme of work which he and his Vice-President Senator Kamala Harris are laying out, that they want to do for the American people.
Let’s hope that the coming days will see someone talk sense to Donald Trump, and that there can begin to be an easy transfer of power from one presidency to the next.
It is an amazing spectacle. Yes, of course Donald Trump got a huge vote. It just happens to be that Joe Biden got a huge vote too, but that bit more than Trump got. The staff in each county, every day, just put on their masks again and started to count, and re-count, and so it goes. I have no doubt whatsoever that in the end of the day, all the legal routes will be traversed and that Joe Biden will be confirmed as the president-to-be of the USA.
Through all of this, I have been brought back so many years to April of 1965, to the time of the long count in Longford-Westmeath. It went on for ten days and was over such small numbers; each day it varied between one and ten between General Seán Mac Eoin and my father, P.J. Lenihan. The fight was fought, and re-fought, and in the end my father won the seat.
The triumphant Fianna Fáilers wanted to come back from Longford, where the count was being held, hooting their horns and shouting in triumph. My father wouldn’t allow it because he had such regard for the elderly statesman Seán Mac Eoin. Be that as it may, it is all so vivid to me now, and indeed to many others I know, because I have received several phone calls recalling it all to me during this uncertain time in US politics.
Both Sky 501 and CNN 506 have been full of constant news and updates, and they are a source of insatiable curiosity and watching.
Turning to the milder type of competition, that is the games over last weekend, both teams that I follow, Roscommon and Westmeath, each separately failed in their bid. I was so disappointed in Roscommon because I thought they had more fire in them. But there you are; in these troubled GAA times, in their match against Mayo they seemed to lose their mojo completely. Of course both teams promised so much, but in the end Mayo won out.
Leinster had a good Pro14 match. Connacht was called off because the team they were to meet couldn’t field a full team because of the COVID infection.
Another theme that the readers of this column and myself will have engaged in over the last number of months is Brexit. Now it appears that the election of Joe Biden will have a major bearing on how that particular set of talks fares out.
At the moment, Michel Barnier for the EU and David Frost for the UK are engaged in really last-minute highwire talks to try to ease the way to the UK making a trade deal, which in turn will ease the worry over Northern Ireland and indeed all of us here as we go about our trading business.
The Internal Market Bill, which seeks to avoid the Protocol on Northern Ireland, is about to be thrown out from the House of Lords in the UK. That means it comes back to the House of Commons, but I wonder, in the present tenuous political relationship between the UK and the EU, will it in fact just be forgotten about, and will the talks finally reach a proper solution between the EU and the UK? It seems that the UK wants the trade deal with the US no matter what, yet Joe Biden has consistently said he will not agree to such a trade deal, if it is not in cooperation with the proper arrangements for Brexit in a trade deal between the UK and the EU.
So, in the next few days, we will hopefully have all these worrisome arrangements properly sorted out. I truly hope we have the outcome where Donald Trump acknowledges defeat and gives in gracefully. Somehow, I think we’ll be a long time waiting for that. Secondly, I hope that the reality of President-to-be Joe Biden will act as a final decider in the Brexit talks. World politics is very, very uneasy at this time. I have no doubt that Biden will prevail and that somehow Trump will finally acknowledge that the presidency of the US was won by someone else.
Let’s hope that that will be the outcome when we meet again next week through the lines of this column.
There is still a lot of arguing and viewing to be done before we finally have what we hope will be a happy ending to this election.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
Until then, stay at home as much as you can. The figures for the coronavirus pandemic are looking good for us here in Ireland at the moment; let’s hope we all continue to ensure that that remains the position so that we can emerge hopefully on December 1 to look forward to Christmas.
Slán go fóill.