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American election

Mr Grumpy, Mr Bump, Mr Tickle …and Mr Trump

Everybody who was born after 1971 (or whose children were) cannot fail to know about Roger Hargreaves and his Mr Men and Little Miss books; Mr Bump, Mr Grumpy, Mr Tickle as well as Little Miss Bossy and Little Miss Chatterbox. They are as British an institution as drinking tea. Nobody could create characters as memorable – or so we thought. Then from the US came Mr Trump.

At first he was (and let’s face it, still is) seen as a bit of a joke. It was obvious he was going to be knocked out of the race to be Republican candidate in the early stages…but he wasn’t. He stepped on every banana skin – but didn’t fall down. He still has his sights on the US Presidency and despite some weird and wonderful policies, he cannot be dismissed.

Let’s assume the incredible – how would the emergence of President Trump affect us here in the UK? Maybe an opportunity to export bricks and cement to build the wall between the US and Mexico? Perhaps a Donald Trump comb-over craze?

Mr Trump would certainly cause a bit of a stink if he defeats Hilary Clinton but the vast majority of pollsters place her ahead by a comfortable margin. Since the start of the year, that lead has continued to strengthen.

International trade and relations between countries are important. Markets for currencies, commodities and shares are very sensitive and can be volatile. If you’re an importer or exporter (or both) you want stability. You want solid markets which are confident; you don’t want anybody rocking the boat with ill-chosen comments causing international rifts or sending shockwaves through markets.

Of course there is no certainty about how the American population will vote, but as we have experienced with our own politicians they tend to be more vociferous when they are campaigning or in opposition than when they are in government.

If Donald Trump became US President, the world would become nervous. Nervousness doesn’t inspire confidence. Growth depends on investment which in turn depends on confidence. It is difficult to pinpoint a single issue which could result if Donald Trump does become President but his presence has the potential to damage relationships which could contribute to a global slowdown.

The business world will be more at ease when the uncertainty surrounding the US Presidency is determined, but before we worry about Mr President we have to decide whether to adopt Mr Brexit.

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