Bill Clinton once ruefully noted that the success of his administration and his potential re-election was largely dependent on “a bunch of f*****g bond traders”.
President Trump has no such qualms. If he intends to govern by tweeting then the only criterion for achievement will be the number of people who follow him on Twitter, and I’m ashamed to say that I swelled that figure by one this week when I finally logged on to what I’m told is now known as the Radio 2 of social media and started following Donald Trump.
Until now, this most prolix of commentators on things financial had resisted the lure of the most succinct medium because if the world is not enough then what chance 140 characters?
However, I have become so addicted to my daily fix of inanities from POTUS that I simply cannot wait the whole day for other news organisations to start transmitting them to me and, because of the time difference, I want to read his last-thing-at-night dithyrambics first thing in the morning. Typing “Trump latest” into a search engine lacks the immediacy of receiving it straight from the horse’s “whatever” (as he might have put it).
I marvel at the outbursts like everyone else and find myself mouthing “
Far from determining the efficacy of his government, bond traders I imagine are as startled and
Even as a neophyte among the Twitterati, I can admire his command of the art form. He is most definitely an orator suited to the paratactic rather than hypotactic utterance or, as I would put it to Donald so he could understand, "Stick to the one-liners, buddy, because you tend to fall apart on the long sentences."
One sentence to present the facts such as they are, one sentence to express his unique interpretation of those facts and then the final one-word descriptor at the end, invariably accompanied by an exclamation mark, chosen from the extremely limited repertoire of adjectives at his disposal. Each is a masterpiece of concision to cram so much unknowing/nescience into so few words. He is to to the tweet what Petrarch was to the sonnet, what Beckham is to the ghosted autobiography.
My immersion into the Twittersphere was nervy and uncomfortable. I’m paranoid as it is, without being told that people are following me, people I don’t even know, immediately. I advanced through the various, initial stages of Twitterdom cautiously like a refugee through a minefield or a little old lady at an airport, a foreign airport, where signs are in Asiatic characters and I felt very exposed.
A different kind of blue
I planned to operate incognito and get round to some serious trolling almost immediately but unfortunately, whatever steps were necessary for anonymity passed me by and my cover was blown the minute I logged on. Dozens of friends immediately aired the opinion it was “time to sell the Internet” if I was appearing on Twitter.
Despite the limitless options, I chose to only follow one other feed: Everton FC. Thirty minutes after making my debut on Twitter I unfollowed Everton FC. The minutiae of professional footballers’ lives — what they had for breakfast/ongoing repairs to this Achilles/optimism about bagging those three points and so on — proved too tedious even for this lifelong supporter. With just the one contributor, I can now concentrate on his discourse without distraction and add judiciously.
Looking back across the pond this way, what we are offered by our politicians is thin soup in comparison. I don’t know if the Chancellor of the Exchequer has a Twitter feed but you know damn well without looking that even if Spreadsheet Phil did, there would be very little by way of titillation on there.
Compared to what’s happening in The White House and machinations of the colourful operators within it, how can Philip Hammond’s first budget compete for airplay? Since Norman Lamont had that thing with the dominatrix in his rented flat, no chancellor has done anything interesting. George Osborne, who now I come to think of it, also had a dominatrix in his backstory, raised eyebrows when he decided he wanted to go all demotic, started dropping his
(In the interests of journalistic integrity I just checked whether Mr Hammond has a Twitter account and was reassured to see that he does and he churns out mindless platitudes with the best of them. It’s reassuring to know that no matter what I do with my new Twitter toy I will always have at least one person between me and the lowest rung of social media stimulation.)
For most of my three decades in the City, I have specialised in bringing my clients yesterday’s news today but now that I’m wired up to the most instantaneous news source there is, perhaps things are going to change. I was always scornful of “info monkeys” and was fond of asserting