Here he comes again, lumbering into view. Vain, self-regarding, lacking in morals, empathy or any facility for self-analysis – how on earth did he get in? We’re talking Trump, of course. How could we not be? Nothing else has dominated the global news so completely during the last few years.
But seriously: just how did he get in? To the entire world it has been painfully transparent for epochs of time that the 45th POTUS is a human utterly unsuited and unfit to hold power, and yet still he persists. What is the secret key to this that we’re all missing?
For an hour at the Opera House today hundreds of us thronged to hear Luke Harding unpack a little of how 45’s human failings may have indeed been the driving force behind his steps to the White House. The secret key: to be human is in some degree to be corruptible. And some are more corruptible than others.
As I say, it was a large audience and it was also a partisan audience. How could it not be? After all, we’re talking about a travesty of electoral justice (not just old quibbles like ‘hanging chads’) putting everything else before it firmly in the shade. And, in truth, I worried a little beforehand that this would be shooting fish in a barrel, that the audience might at any time rise up and shout “Burn the witch” (or “Lock him up” at least), unleashing the same spirit of aggression that Trump himself has fostered.
Those fears were dispelled the moment that Luke Harding began to talk. An investigative journalist with years of personal experience in Russia on which to base the central argument of his book, Collusion, he has great authority, energy and balance. The clarity with which he spoke brought the subject back into much-needed focus. These are the basic facts. This is what kind of person Trump is. These are the kind of people he met. These are my experiences of what Russia can do. These are the likely connections between Trump and Russia.
Removing noise from the subject is crucial and Harding did this with great skill, making for a highly listenable and compelling speaker. From Litvinenko to Crimea to Salisbury (with its 123 metre spire, fact fans), Harding spoke about how the noise itself has been a state-sponsored tactic. How can you tell what’s going on WHEN EVERYONE IS SHOUTING?
As he said at the end of this excellent hour, there are people not yet born who will be writing about Trump and this strange period of history. Collusion won’t be the last book you’ll read about the links between 45 and the Kremlin, but I suspect it may be one of the best. Highly recommended.
Words: Ben Evans
Picture: Peter Mourant