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A lesson for the Channel Islands from Donald Trump

Donald Trump shattered expectations to become president in one of the greatest political upsets in modern US history. Photo: Reuters

"I can't believe it!"

"I'm devastated!"

"It's the end of the world!"

The outpouring of shock, anger and - in some cases - grief following the election of Donald Trump as the world's most powerful billionaire has been fascinating to watch.

While his supporters, those in the 'rust belt' of America, and those who'd identified an appetite for an anybody-but-the-establishment candidate were hoping and, perhaps, expecting The Donald to be elected 45th president of the United States, there's a whole swathe of people who just can't believe what's happened.

In all this, are there lessons for the Channel Islands?

Today I'm reporting on the apparent growth of anti-politics, of people voting against the system. Those who believe that's the case cite both Brexit and Trump as recent examples, and say other countries - notably France - could be next.

But what about Guernsey and Jersey?

Well, having spent time speaking to people about what they think of their elected representatives, the sense that "they don't listen" is widespread, as is the appetite for change.

Speaking to politicians, both seasoned and new to the machinations of life in the corridors of power, that feeling the "ruling elite" are too often in transmit mode rather than listening mode is clear.

Will it result in upsets at the next General Elections? Well, frankly, I have no idea. But it is apparent that this contagion of anti-politics is real and growing.

Some see both Brexit and Trump victories as votes for intolerance, insularity and hatred. But, perhaps, it's actually a vote against systems that look after their own, systems that grow gulfs between the haves and have-nots.

In Jersey, latest figures show that divide between rich and poor is growing. Combine that with the introduction of new charges and taxes, and there's the potential for trouble ahead.

My sense is that mix is less stark in Guernsey, though with the Enough Is Enough marches in recent years, there's no room for complacency.

The message from voters and politicians I spoke to is one and the same: those in charge need to listen to the needs of the people more.

Disquiet in America was enough to propel a reality TV construction magnate with a nice line in lewd language to the highest office in the United States. Suddenly all bets are off.

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