Like it or not, this election will influence all our lives

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Last year's Black Friday deals at Tesco, Fratton.

VERITY LUSH: Yet another example of distasteful American influence sweeping the UK

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The American presidential race always seems to be played out more like a soap opera than a democratic institution. But I think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have raised it to new heights.

Just a couple of hours after I woke up to the news that some 100 million people worldwide had tuned in to watch the pair go head-to-hair in the first of three debates, I was heading to Washington, directly towards the place that they’re focusing every ounce of their efforts to reach.

I’d much rather see coverage of this presidential race than the seemingly endless speculation about Bake Off

Alas, I wasn’t about to set foot in the Oval Office, but instead was staying in small-town Virginia with only a giant billboard proclaiming TRUMP! as any indication of which way the town was likely to vote.

It’s always amused me to see the difference in how CNN and FOX News report things, especially international events that would also be covered by the BBC or Channel 4 news.

And it would be especially interesting to see how the presidential election was being covered in the very country in which it is taking place.

Interestingly, the verdict seems to be similar to what we’re hearing here: that Donald Trump isn’t prepared for debates and likes to pick on people and that Hillary Clinton’s health may be an inescapable issue.

Even in the middle of Middleburg (Google it, it’s lovely) where the Stars and Stripes are hung from the vast majority of front stoops and verandas, the papers are full of the utter tripe and bunkum that comes out of Trump’s mouth – none of it reported in any kind of flattering way.

I’d much rather see coverage of this presidential race than the seemingly endless speculation about Bake Off – and no, I don’t know or care who Mr Tumble is and why it’s a scandal he’s replacing Mary Berry – because, like it or not, this election influences all our lives.

Whoever the next inhabitant of the White House is, they will hold the geopolitical balance of power in their hands.

And I’m not convinced either person will wear that mantle well.

But please, please do not let it be Donald Trump.

PARKING ISSUE WON’T GO AWAY WITHOUT LONG-TERM PLANNING

So it’s another month and another clutch of stories about parking woes for Portsmouth residents.

This paper has been carrying stories about the issue for decades – remember the mooted congestion charge for all vehicles entering the city?

But there has never been any real resolution and, as the city gets more and more overcrowded, the problem is hardly going to get better.

The council has now announced yet another review into parking and what can be done.

I can spend 30 minutes driving up and down the streets around where I live before I can find a legal space.

But I knew what it was like when I moved in, so I can’t really whinge about it now.

This is an issue that won’t go away without robust and long-term planning.

I HOPE PARENTS USE THIS AS A WARNING TO KIDS TO STAY SAFE

We don’t really seem to talk much about stranger danger any more, maybe because the evils of the groomers and trolls lurking on social media seem so much more powerful.

But recently The News has reported a number of instances of schoolchildren being approached on the street by strangers.

The latest incident, outside Crookhorn College, saw an Oaklands schoolgirl approached by a man who wanted to give her a lift home.

Good for her that she was sensible enough to say no and then flag it to the school, which is now warning its pupils to walk home in pairs.

This kind of danger will always be around. Hopefully someone will recognise this man and tell the police – and parents will use it as a warning to kids to stay safe.