Yet neither candidate for US presidency inspires confidence.
WHEN Britain was deciding whether or not to leave the European Union, Barack Obama was only too happy to wade into the debate, warning that Brexit would leave this country at the back of the queue when it came to brokering trade deals with the United States.
On the basis of the first presidential debate, America should be the last nation to lecture others on the consequences of their decision-making.
The paucity of the final two candidates in the running to lead the world’s most powerful country was staggering to behold. The fact that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are, apparently, the best it has to offer is a damning indictment of the US political system.
Mrs Clinton is tainted by mistakes and controversies stretching back through more than two decades of involvement in American politics. She also carries the baggage of being part of a largely ineffective administration under Mr Obama, not least in terms of its often misfiring foreign policy.
Then there is Donald Trump. The fact that this boastful, bullying tycoon stands within touching distance of the White House should send a shiver down the spine of any right-thinking voter.
Yet millions of Americans will plump for Mr Trump, underlining the depth of their disillusionment with the Establishment politics Mrs Clinton represents.
The situation is nothing short of an unholy mess, so it was appropriate that this was how the first televised debate played out. The candidates frequently refused to answer the question in front of them, while Mr Trump’s propensity to fly off on bewildering tangents offered a troubling insight into his butterfly mind.
Mrs Clinton shaded it, but that was largely down to the fact that her reaction to a spot of taunting aimed at US sailors in the Persian Gulf by their Iranian counterparts would not be to “shoot them out of the water”, as Mr Trump favours, thereby triggering a Third World War.
It is no great achievement to be the “least worst” option. But the world must hope that enough Americans decide that this is what Hillary Clinton represents.
Either way, far from bemoaning the fact that America no longer wants to woo a post-Brexit Britain, as President Obama was at pains to warn us, this country may come to reflect that the Special Relationship is no longer as beneficial to Britain’s interests as it once was.
Sir Terry’s Gift
THE death earlier this year of Sir Terry Wogan genuinely shocked and saddened the millions of people for whom the much-loved broadcaster had almost become part of the fabric of their lives.
We often hear the phrase “national treasure” bandied around but in Sir Terry’s case it was actually merited. His witty, charming and relaxed demeanour on both radio and television meant he was admired by his fellow broadcasters just as much as he was by his legion of fans.
His decision to retire from his long-running BBC Radio 2 breakfast show sparked an outcry from his eight million listeners, known as TOGs, or Terry’s Old Geezers or Terry’s Old Gals. How fitting, then, that a special Service of Thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey yesterday. Chris Evans and Joanna Lumley were among those who led the heartfelt tributes to this sorely-missed giant of broadcasting.
Sir Terry had that rare gift of speaking not to his audience but to each and every listener as if they were his friends, and at a time when an estimated 2.6 million in Britain suffer from loneliness this is all the more pertinent.
It is an issue movingly addressed by GP Taylor in his column in today’s Yorkshire Post. Loneliness blights people of all ages, particularly the elderly. But it can, and must, be overcome. Sir Terry Wogan showed us the way. He brought love, laughter and companionship into people’s lives – something we must all do more to nurture.
IT WAS ironic that the official homecoming parade for our Olympians and Paralympians took place in Manchester when Yorkshire’s contribution to Great Britain’s medal haul was so much more substantial.
However today’s reception for our homegrown heroes will redress the balance as the likes of the Brownlee brothers, Ed Clancy, Kadeena Cox and Jack Laugher parade through the centre of Leeds.
We cheered them on from the comfort of our living rooms, now we should do so in person to thank them for the golden memories of summer 2016.