Checks and balances

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There’s a key lesson to be learnt by Americans from the disastrous Brexit process. Theresa May wanted to bypass parliament and dictate her own path but the judiciary said otherwise. The right-wing press tried to shoot the judges down, but the fact remains that an individual does not govern alone in our countries. Governing alone is exactly what Trump appears to be doing. No wonder he admires Putin. With his executive orders he bypasses Congress and Senate and all the checks and balances of a democratic system. Whether or not they prove to be yet more bluster remains to be seen. It is difficult to know from information available in the press, what legal value his executive orders have (1). In the mean time, why do we feel a sneaking sense of relief at Trump’s impetuous pronouncements? Because, even if we disagree with him entirely, he appears to free up a system that, with its sterile bipartite confrontation, was blocking much real constructive progress. At the same time, Trump’s headstrong, impetuous decision-making in the absence of any awareness of the longer term consequences (not just on Americans but on everybody) clearly requires checks and balances. Trump is not the answer. But the fact that he was elected and that he acts as he does, points to an urgent need for a carefully thought out reorganisation of the democratic system.

(1) The recent order banning muslims from certain countries  from entering the US seems to show that such executive orders do have a tangible effect.

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