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OPINION - The Standard View: Somehow we grin and bear America’s circus

 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

With his brows furrowed, jaw clenched and eyes glaring into the camera, Donald Trump became the first former US president to have his mugshot taken. Of course, Trump is no novice to making history — also being the first to face criminal charges not once, but in four cases.

American politics has always been, like the country itself, big and brash. But it now more closely resembles a travelling circus, with an ever more ridiculous cast of characters. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, particularly those treaty allies reliant on the US for their security, begin to wonder how dependable those guarantees really are.

As for the impact on the 2024 election, there is still little evidence of a swing against Trump. Should he win the Republican nomination, as the polls indicate, the equation will be eerily similar to that of 2016 and 2020: persuade the few persuadables in a handful of swing states, perhaps lose the popular vote but squeak through with an electoral college victory.

As difficult as that may be to imagine from the relative sanity of British politics, it is a possibility for which we, our European partners and the rest of the world must prepare.

Curse of homophobia

What is going on in our city? Returning from Black Pride last weekend, Michael Smith and his boyfriend, Nat Asabere, were waiting for a bus on Brixton Road when a stranger approached and assaulted them. The injuries may have been even worse had their bus not turned up.

Fresh off another appalling homophobic attack in Clapham, London’s LGBTQ+ community will understandably be shaken. We all ought to be. There were 26,152 sexual orientation hate crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March, a rise of 41 per cent. This represents the largest annual increase since the Home Office began the time series in 2012. And it cannot all be put down to greater levels of reporting.

We urge any witnesses or anyone with information to come forward to the police.

Carnival lifts us all

The August bank holiday may mark the end of summer (such as it was this year) but it also means Carnival. And so the eyes of the world fall on Notting Hill for a feast of music, costumes and dancing.

Above all, it is a celebration of community, particularly those who have come to our great city and made it what it is today — one of the most diverse and vibrant in the world. Few events could illustrate that as vividly as Notting Hill Carnival.