It is silly season and the clowns (Trump and Corbyn) are pulling ahead

August is silly season and most – including journalists – are on vacation. I have this perception – but no data – that even natural catastrophes take a break in August. (It might be that they just don’t get reported). In any event the political scenes in the US and in Europe are relatively subdued. Politicians have much leeway to be sillier than usual without being permanently penalised. Political polls, in August, are somewhat lightweight. Probably even those polled are inclined towards the “silly”. Too much should not be read into August poll results but of course they do have some significance.

Both in the UK and in the US, the clowns are having a field day. Strangely, Jeremy Corbyn , a clown of the loony left, has increased his lead in the race for leadership of the British Labour Party in spite of dire warnings of the imminent self-destruction of the Party. Donald Trump, a clown of the far right, has increased his lead – against all predictions – in spite of his gaffes (immigration, McCain, rape in marriage ……) in the race for the Republican nomination. It is almost as if those being canvassed have a perverse contempt for the process and are determined to clown around themselves in their responses. Or perhaps it is a deeper malaise in both the UK Labour Party and in the US Republican Party. Perhaps the Labour Party just expects to be in the wilderness for the next decade. And perhaps the Republicans see no way in which they can win next year. Perhaps they are so sunk in despair that it is only by indulging in ridiculous fantasies that they can lighten the blackness that surrounds them.

The UK race will be settled in September and there may not be enough time to “correct” the advances that Corbyn makes during the silly season. By the time September comes along, the race could be over. In the US there is ample time for Trump to be shot down or – as is more likely – for him to shoot himself. But in the very weak and uninspiring field of Republican candidates the clown may yet have the last word.

But I have a tendril of a thought that maybe it is the time of the clowns. Maybe the political process needs the Corbyns and the Trumps. Maybe they have to win once in a while.

And where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns. Quick, send in the clowns. Maybe they’re here.

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