Donald Trump is America's new president - but we shouldn't stop fighting until he is gone

Donald Trump tells his supporters 'I'm going to be cheering you on'Reuters

Washington... Jefferson... Lincoln... Truman... JFK... LBJ... Reagan... Clinton... Obama... Trump? AARGH! It is happening.

To the list of some of the finest political achievers in the history of the world is added a name synonymous with greed, garishness, narcissism, sexism, racism, protectionism, isolationism, so many of the -isms that his predecessors did so much to reverse.

To his supporters, he is still the man who will Make America Great Again (as if it wasn't pretty good already), Drain the Swamp (that is going well as he stuffs his Cabinet with Goldman Sachs bankers and assorted billionaires and the White House with relatives) and Lock Up Hillary (maybe not). To most members of the human race his elevation to the most powerful elected position in the world remains a bad dream we had somehow hoped would never actually materialise.

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So what now? Well, first there is today to get through. I am in Scotland. Despite Trump's Scottish family connections I suspect if a global poll were done on which countries are most hostile to the Donald, Scotland would figure high. They have already witnessed a fair bit of his bullying, lying, egotistical ways. So this is as good a place to be as anywhere on such a dark day.

Even better, by a happy circumstance, at the time he is sworn in I will be in a soundproof, windowless, TV-less, underground bunker. It is a recording studio where I will be with a number of other bagpipe players rehearsing for a Celtic Connections festival concert on Sunday evening.

Here is another reason I hate the Trump success. His first name. My Dad was called Donald. My elder brother was called Donald. A great name with a lot of good resonances. Now every time I hear it I think not just of a much loved father and much missed brother but of... him. "DJT", as he calls himself.

Donald Senior taught my brother and me to play the bagpipes. Donald Junior went on to become a piper in the Scots Guards, a top competitor, composer, teacher and allround bagpipe obsesssive. When he died in the summer, aged 62, after a lifetime battle with schizophrenia, he was official piper both to Glasgow University and to the Tiree Association (Tiree being the island where my father was born and raised). So for the Tiree Song Book event at Celtic Connections the organisers asked me to play with a group of fellow Tiree-connected pipers, what football pundits would call 'top top players'. To that end I have been practising for a couple of hours a day for several weeks, polishing my technique and learning ten new tunes, including one written by my brother.

Music is such a source of comfort and connection. And I realise it can provide wonderful escapism too. Every hour spent learning a complicated new jig is an hour during which I don't have to think about Trump, Brexit, or Labour being so far behind in the polls we look set for a Trump-May era for some time to come.

Donald Trump will be formally inaugurated as president on FridayChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I have been looking for any excuse to play. So when, at outgoing US Ambassador Matthew Barzun's farewell bash, he told the story of a bet I won when Scotland beat America in the Rugby World Cup, and in my moment of victory my forfeit for him was that he get bagpipe lessons (he did to be fair but couldn't quite master it), I got my pipes sent from home and gave him a good farewell blast. I was probably overstepping the diplomatic line when I said by way of introduction that Donald Trump invented the Highland Bagpipe and was probably the world's best player – it's just that he hasn't tried them yet.

So music. And banter of the non-pussy grabbing kind. These are going to be two important Trump survival techniques in the coming days, weeks, months and - please let it not be four, never mind eight - years.

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But I am aware that even the best played reel or the best piece of satire are but sticking plasters on a gaping wound. When I emerge from the bunker today the 'elect' bit of President-elect Trump will have vanished. The wound will have widened.

So if not music, if not banter, what? It has to be – and forgive such an ugly word but these are peculiarly ugly times – anti-normalisation. There is nothing normal about Trump, his business career, his campaign, his conduct during the transition process. There is nothing normal about his thin skin or his gargantuan ego. There is nothing normal about someone prepared to go to war with his intelligence chiefs because they said something he didn't want to hear. There is nothing normal about the way he has used the bully pulpit of Twitter to attack plays, TV shows, actors, businesses, races, countries, anyone or anything who doesn't conform to the Trumpian view of the world and the Trumpian view of himself.

The normalisers would like us to believe that he will be a modern-day Ronald Reagan. Reagan was seen as a joke, remember. Well maybe. He was certainly an actor. But he had a lot of political experience under his belt and he had a basic empathy and humanity which has not been terribly visible in Trump of late. He won't be Reagan. He certainly won't be Lincoln. He will be Trump. He always has been. Trump first, last and forever.

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So don't stop feeling angry he is there. Don't stop fighting for the day when he is gone. And I hope Americans and their friends around the world show a bit more of the anti-normalisation fight than we Brits have shown in the face of the other recent global catastrophe, Brexit.

What a time this has been. My brother dying. Brexit. Labour in nowhere land. Now President Trump.

So...off to the studio I go. I wonder how Things Can Only Get Better sounds on the pipes.


Alastair Campbell is a British journalist, broadcaster, political aide and author, best known for his work as Director of Communications and Strategy for Prime Minister Tony Blair between 1997 and 2003. He is the author of 12 books, the latest of which is Outside Inside, his diaries from 2003-2005.


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