Simon Pia has been at the cut and thrust of the Scottish political scene for too long not to spot a grim but mesmerising election campaign when he sees one.
A one-time media adviser – or “spin doctor” – to two Scottish Labour Party leaders at the Scottish parliament, the man from Edinburgh says he is sure who will win today’s 2016 US Presidential race, but is equally intrigued about how the American electorate became lumbered with the two most disliked presidential nominees in recent US history.
“I think Hillary Clinton will win it,” he told Al Jazeera. “But I think what is interesting is that the Republican Party machine broke down and Donald Trump won the nomination, whereas it was the Democratic machine that ensured Hillary got the nomination.”
Pia, today plying his trade as a journalism lecturer, told Al Jazeera that US support for Trump, whose late mother hailed from the Isle of Lewis, off the Scottish west coast, and whose golf course-owning ambitions in Scotland have caused great domestic controversy, was a big “f*** you vote from Middle America”.
“The only bit of credit I would give to Trump is that he is a master manipulator of the tabloid media,” he added.
So is it safe to assume that Pia is praying for a Clinton victory?
“I would vote for Clinton with a nose-peg – I think she is tainted,” he said. “The one hope I have is that if Trump did win, he’s such a narcissist, he would just be happy to be president and leave others to do the heavy lifting.”