A special relationship

23 June 2018, 20:54 | Updated: 23 June 2018, 21:03


Donald Trump's right hand man and emissary to these shores says that the special relationship is still as strong as ever.

Robert Johnson is a close friend of the President and has coincidentally been gifted the prime position of US Ambassador to Britain.

The Ambassador is not a relative of Robert Johnson, the blues singer – he is the talcum-powder white heir to Robert Johnson of the Johnson and Johnson baby products fortune.

He didn’t make that fortune, he was just fortunate enough to be born into it, and now he is using his position to tell us Brits how to go about our business.

He told us to be less pessimistic and have faith.

On the first count, he doesn't know us very well – pessimism is how we like to approach life, it defines us and might be down to the weather – constantly grey and depressing.

We positively wallow in pessimism, so asking us to drop that emotion is like asking us to whoop during an orchestral recital.

On the “faith” issue, we have turned the corner on that, thank you very much and we no longer subscribe.

Two thirds of Britons described themselves as having no religion in 2015, and we have shown no desire to return to the pews.

Mr Johnson is particularly baffled by our lack of faith and pessimism over Brexit.

He said, 'How can a country with this great a history, this great a language, this great a legal system and this great a presence not be successful?'

Well, in the same way that a company that has a great history and a great advertising and legal system and presence on the high street can fail.

Things that were great fail all the time, it’s called Darwinism.

Those entities that used to be fit for their environment can wither when their environment changes – just ask the dinosaurs.

Ask those other former giants brought low by circumstance and mismanagement like the Roman Empire, ask Woolworths, ask newspapers, ask Venezuela, ask the USSR.

Johnson explained that we should be running our country like Donny runs his, by giving out tax cuts.

Those US corporation tax cuts were announced with great fanfare as a way to Make America Great Again and some companies immediately proposed wage increases for their workers to give that notion credence and maximum publicity.

What they did not say was that only about 5% of the tax cut was redistributed in higher wages for the workers, 95% of it was shared out among those few occupiers of the executive suites and the already spectacularly wealthy stock holders.

Remember, 80% of the world's stocks are owned by the richest 10% of families.

By an amazingly lucky break, the tax cuts that Trump has put in place have also benefited the family of one Donald Trump.

He has about 500 separate businesses, which pass money to the Trump family, an income that used to be taxed at about 40%.

The new tax regime places a cap on that tax rate of what is called pass-through income of just 25%.

When he passed the tax law, Trump said to a private meeting of fellow billionaires at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort: “you all just got a lot richer”, and so did he.

The 5% for the workers received a lot more publicity from the Whitehouse than the vast increase in wealth it afforded the rich.

When put like that, it does seem like the sort of the policy that the Conservatives would be eager to follow.

Their main source of funding is a few rich individuals and corporations who would be delighted to be able to keep even more of their money than their armies of clever accountants currently allow.

In that regard, we're playing follow the leader just like we always have.

That's the nature of our special relationship and it remains as strong as it ever was.