AND worst of all, I fear that such a person, and his supporters, will bring our long age of free civilisation to an end. Since 1945, democracy has been about voters trying to improve their own lives by choosing the parties which seem to promise them most. That is gone. We will soon look back on it with nostalgia.

From now on, democracy will be about a sullen, cheated, resentful majority wishing to make sure that everyone else now suffers as much as it has been suffering. We are moving from the politics of self-improvement to the politics of vengeance and spite, conspiracy theories, scapegoats and calls for the jailing and humiliation of the defeated.

Armoured by resentment and a desire to pay back years of humiliation, such a leader – who like Trump will come from the world of TV or from nowhere, which is roughly the same thing – will have far more power than any US leader. The President’s freedom of action is greatly limited by the US Constitution’s separation of powers and by the Supreme Court. We have nothing of the kind.