One benefit of Trump’s shock victory is that it makes the Brexit vote look like a council by-election in comparison. The world is now used to the idea that over the next two years the UK will slip the surly bonds of Brussels, and although the full details of that plan aren’t fully understood it’s the election of Trump that places the largest question mark over global political and economic decision making.
Small wonder, therefore, that lobbyists and lawyers are racing to offer their insights and expertise to firms on either side of the Atlantic about what a Trump presidency will actually look like. One US lawyer told me “people had been lined up and waiting for 20 years to capitalise on a Clinton presidency,” adding that “the opportunity now is to figure out firms can best engage with a new administration and a new agenda. There are real opportunities here”.
One such opportunity may be a future UK-US trade deal. While Trump lambasted the large multilateral trade deals such as Nafta and TTIP, he’s said to be much more relaxed about bilateral deals and has said in the past that the UK would be ushered towards the front of the queue for just such a deal if he made it to the White House. Now, politicians and business figures are going to try and hold him to his word.
Theresa May wished him luck before the vote and congratulated him warmly after it. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, says he’s confident of a strong working relationship with the new leader of the free world and the trade Secretary, Liam Fox, is known for his strong Republican and Washington-based contacts. If we’re looking for silver linings to Trump’s election (and we are) then trade policy might just prove to be one.
As my lawyer friend says: “A UK-US deal won’t hollow out American jobs: Brits aren’t going to be making T-shirts on the cheap.” Donald and the PM spoke yesterday. Let’s hope it went well.
There's something about the 2am slot
It was 2am on referendum night when the Sunderland surge for Leave sent jitters through the markets. By coincidence, it was also 2am UK time when Florida seemed to slip from Clinton’s grasp and the betting odds began to turn in Trump’s favour. However, it was several hours before then that one reporter from the Sun, Harry Cole, scandalised the CNN election party in London by loudly predicting a Trump victory. He also called the Brexit vote correctly. Smart guy.
Read more: Trump says he wants Obama's "counsel"
Tory David Davis says he's been misjudged
It’s fair to say that the government failed to cover themselves in glory when responding to the ruling by High Court judges that parliament must have a vote on triggering Article 50. But Brexit secretary David Davis tells me that he’s the last person Labour should be attacking in a row about political fallings out with the judiciary. “I defended judges against attacks from successive Labour home secretaries,” he said as we chatted at a Whitehall bash on Tuesday.
Scotland and the Commonwealth
Trouble is brewing at the Commonwealth Secretariat. Political blogger Guido Fawkes has been revealing a stream of seemingly outrageous invoices relating to the renovation of the secretary general’s luxurious grace and favour Mayfair home. The top job is held by Baroness Scotland, who is also an Alderman in the City and up for the role of Sheriff down the line. Sources tell me the ancient Aldermanic Court is growing concerned about the whiff of scandal...
Cameron’s top team heads for the rat race
It can be difficult to adjust to life after Downing Street, but where are Cameron’s top advisers now? Sir Craig Oliver, Dave’s comms man, is now at Teneo; EU adviser Mats Persson is head of international trade at EY; business adviser Dan Korski is setting up a tech fund; Ameet Gill is at Hanbury; Max Chambers has gone to NextDoor, a tech startup; and I hear that City comms giant Finsbury has snapped up another of Dave’s policy advisers. Kerching.