As all the clips of people celebrating the dumping of Donald Trump popped up on my timeline, I thought “I’ve seen this before”.
And, right enough, I had. It’s the scene in The Return Of The Jedi where there is jubilation throughout the galaxy at the overthrow of the Emperor.
Okay, so Joe Biden is not Luke Skywalker and Trump hasn’t been chucked down a Death Star reactor shaft, but the sheer joy depicted in the States lifted my soul.
Spontaneously, people were honking their horns, cheering, clapping and actually dancing in the streets.
Compare and contrast that exhilaration with the tattooed Trumpanzees wandering the streets in camouflage carrying assault rifles in a display of aimless menace.
That’s all you need to know about why Biden’s victory was so important.
It is a triumph of hope over hate and not just in America.
The presidency of the United States sets the mood music for the rest of the world.
If you have a blustering, swaggering, lying, misogynistic thug as the leader of your country – one who openly stokes racial tensions and divisions for his own ends – that bleeds out to other places.
The degrading of the bulwarks of society – a free press, free and fair elections, honesty and decency in public life – chips away not just the foundations of American democracy but all democracies. It is aped by others.
We see it in the high offices of Westminster. The mantra of “fake news”, a disregard for the truth, the blatant lies, even denying their own words they have said on record.
And as long as Trump was a force in the world, that mindset was bolstered and encouraged – not least through his incessant and increasingly deranged Twitter feed.
The US election wasn’t about Democrats vs Republicans. Let’s be clear, American voters didn’t reject the Republicans. The predicted rout in the Senate and Congress didn’t happen. In fact, the GOP made gains.
What America rejected was Trump. Not all of them, of course. Some 70 million still gave their vote to a man flirting with despotism and racism.
Did Trump create those jackboot yobs who are carrying weapons of war on the streets of America? No. But he gave them licence to crawl out of the woodwork.
Ditching Trump was just the first start of the process. The far right in America needs to be put back in its box. And that needs to happen around the world. Populist politicians need to be rejected, need to be told their values are not the values decent people hold or want to see in the world.
We all need to hope Biden and Kamala Harris can reset the US to reason, calm and civility. We need them to stop the anger and the hate and the shouting and the divisions.
Words like justice, dignity and tolerance need to be seen not as weaknesses, but shared values to uphold and strive for.
America and the world woke up from a four-year nightmare.
Now we can dream of a better tomorrow.
Paying the price for cooncil’s stupidity
At a time when our city centre needs all the help it can get, why is the cooncil making things difficult for visitors?
There was me and Mrs B parking up on Chapel Street on Thursday night to take advantage of the superb Aberdeen Restaurant Week.
Cursing the fact we had to pay up till 8pm (what happened to Alive After Five?) I had my Ringo app open and good to go on my phone. You know, the app we’ve been using for years with our car and payment details on it. Click, click, done.
But, no. The cooncil has now decided – with no fanfare or announcement – if you want to pay online you need PayByPhone. Cue standing in a windswept car park trying to persuade this new app that, no, I wasn’t in North America, so I couldn’t say which state my car was registered in.
I had to put in the car park code to persuade it I was in Scotland when it demanded all my payment card details, as it didn’t use Apple Pay. Thanks to the latter, I don’t use cash any more (ewww, icky) so don’t sweat it if I have left my wallet and bank cards at home, as I can pay with my phone. Except in the dark desolation of Chapel Street car park.
No cash, no cards, no way to pay. So we just left an explanatory note and hoped for the best. On the way out, we commiserated with a fellow parkee busily jabbing card details into his phone.
Good job, cooncil, good job.
Raise your glass to some innovation
In our locked down, restricted reality it’s good see a bit of innovation at play to help with the important things in life – like having a beer.
Things like the Ivy Lodge which has sprung up on Shiprow, a heated alfresco bar created by hospitality firms working together.
And just like that we have a street cafe culture being created.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see Aberdeen’s own take on Ashton Lane bursting into life here.
It’s the sort of thinking we need to see more of in communities across the north-east to help struggling businesses.