What connects President Trump and Spencer Stokes, business and transport correspondent on BBC Look North? Oh, go on then.
The answer, you won’t be surprised to learn, lies in Twitter. The US president loves to tweet, often at furious corners of the night, when he spills out the bile instead of sleeping.
It is not recorded when or how often Spencer Stokes tweets. But one of his Twitter forays is reported to have been viewed more than a million times, according to the BBC News – and has just brought about the resignation of the Persimmon boss who was paid a bonus of £75m.
The reporter asked Jeff Fairburn to comment on his bonus on air last month. Fairburn walked away, mumbling that he hadn’t been expecting that question. He appeared to consider it a low blow and an ambush.
The rumbling discontent about that ludicrous bonus has finally led to Fairburn announcing that he is to step down (with his pockets full), to be replaced by another director, who the BBC reported had to get by on a paltry bonus of £40m.
Surely you don’t have to be any sort of a socialist to conclude that paying Fairburn a bonus amounting to around 70 times what the average person is likely to earn in a lifetime cannot be right.
This calculation, by the way, is based on taking £28,000 as the average salary and multiplying that figure by 45 – taken as a working lifetime. Money earned over those long years comes in at £1,260,000, according to the calculations of this mathematically illiterate blogger.
There is no possible justification for such a bonus.
And now, with regrettable inevitability, to Trump’s reaction to the mid-term elections in the US.
The short version of this two-part story goes like this: Trump increased his hold on the Senate, while losing the House of Representatives to the Democrats.
A sort of scoreless draw, if you like: Trump is emboldened in the Senate and didn’t get the bloody nose his detractors desired. But he does now face a proper opposition as House Democrats could stall his policies, launch investigations into his behaviour, demand to see his tax returns, and even begin impeachment proceedings.
You will be unsurprised to learn that Trump declared the result to be a “tremendous success” and a “big victory” that “defied history”. Now this result wasn’t exactly good or bad, but Trump doesn’t deal in grey areas.
I have been imagining that Donald Trump has just walked off a cliff (well, you cheer yourself up as best you can). Here is his reaction to the fall…
“That was the best fall in US history. Nobody has ever fallen off a cliff like that. The greatest fall, the best. I am the best at falling off cliffs. Everybody knows that. These arms are the best broken arms in the whole of history. Nothing comes close. Those lying Democrats know nothing about falling off a cliff. But in truth these broken arms were caused by the lying media. I will be DEMANDING an investigation into how I those enemies of the people pushed me off that cliff…”
And so on, an endless and indestructible loop of solipsism.
Incidentally, is it just me or does the BBC’s US correspondent, Jon Sopel, display pro-Trump tendencies? A quick Google suggests that this must be my own mini-obsession, for no one else seems to be going on about it. But he does seem quick nowadays to put a positive gloss on Trump.
Rather than a tin of gloss paint, but never mind.