Winter is here. It’s cold outside. Time to sit close to the fire and take a moment to reflect.
This blog is a record of my reflections on a momentous year.
It is not meant to persuade you, to win you over to my point of view.
It is a tool that I will use to work out where to place my Trust. To work out what are my Core Values. So that I might live an authentic life in line with those values.
I hope that it will also be a conversation. Please take the time to comment.
Yesterday, I wrote about my dislike of the Politics of Hate that surrounded Brexit. The consequences of the EU Referendum still resound throughout our Green and Pleasant Land. The vote tore away the polite masks that we had been presenting to each other. We now live in a Land that is deeply divided and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. People are angry and feel betrayed. Leavers angry that the Brexit process turns out to be slow and complex. Betrayed by false promises of immediate change. Remainers angry at a result which to them was lost on the basis of blatant lies and shameless distortions. Betrayed by their own belief that it just couldn’t happen. All around, people’s Trust has been shattered.
But this was nothing compared to the shitstorm about to go down in the US. The presidential elections made it very clear that the United States are far from united. In a campaign of gobsmacking cruelty and frightening bigotry, Donald Trump validated a level of open racism, casual sexism and viscous prejudice that we had not allowed air for years. And for good reason: give that poison air to breathe, space to move, and it will grow. Grow into something very ugly indeed. In a country where a black man is President yet the KKK still exists and police officers are allowed to execute innocent young black men on the street, it is pretty obvious that there are huge divisions that are yet to be healed, but Trump has ripped off the band-aid, revealed the wound, stuck a dirty great stick in it and turned it hard. The nation is now in trauma and major surgery will be needed.
I have heard the view expressed that both Brexit and Trump were the results of class division. Trump was elected by blue collar workers rendered poorer and worse off by successive Governments’ policies. Theirs was a vote of protest against a political status quo that had failed them. Similarly, in the UK, working class voters voted in protest against a London-centric Government that didn’t care about them. That had ripped the working heart out of communities and created a country of Poundshops and Cash Converters. Brexit and Trumpton as howls of rage against a corrupt, uncaring Establishment.
And, I can buy that ….. up to a point. Certainly, go to the UK Midlands, where I am from, and the sad results of successive under investment and economic policy that calls austerity a good thing are plain to see. Towns that were once vibrant and exciting are now grey and shuttered. Industries that powered these towns are now gone – to fresh, new, cheaper labour markets. Once proud communities walk with their heads down, looking for jobs that aren’t there. It’s grim.
But I cannot see Trumpton or Brexit as, in any way, a triumph for the working classes. What I see is Trump and Farage as every bit the Establishment as Cameron and Clinton. To vote for Trump is in no way a threat to the Establishment. The man IS the Establishment. He is a fucking billionaire for Christ’s sake. He has done very nicely with the way things are, thank you. No way is he going to change that. All his talk of representing the Common Man is odious lies and bullshit. He just wants Power. For Himself. And he will say whatever he needs to in order to get it. Same with Farage, Johnson, Gove et al – Liars looking for Power. Public school boys, finance bankers, the privileged elite. Standing in front of a pub with a warm pint does not make you a Man Of The People. It makes you a Showman, a Con Artist – a man that senses a good photo opportunity, recognises an effective sound-bite. The number of times I have heard people say “Oh, Farage is just saying what a lot of ordinary people want to say but are afraid to.” And I want to shake them and say “Yes… that is exactly what con men do – they tell you what you want to hear. Not because it’s the Truth. They don’t care about Truth. They just want you to buy what they are selling.”
And we have bought it. All over the World, we have bought it. And what have we bought? Well, fuck all actually. Because there is nothing there. No grand plan for Brexit. No great vision for America. It was all just Lies. Dreams with no substance. Because they are all just con-men. And that is what con-men do: Promise you Everything, take your money and run. They have the Power now – do you think they are going to act for your benefit? Do you think that they have your best interests at heart?
What we are witnessing is the ultimate triumph of the Establishment. It has dressed itself up as Something Different but it is just the same old White Male Establishment fucking you over in disguise. It has the Media wrapped around its little finger. There is no platform for dissenting voices. Truth is now something the Establishment creates to serve its own purpose. Now it is looking to control Social Media too. It controls Education, wraps up schools in pointless testing and target grades, so that young people lose the ability to question, to hold to account. So, eventually, people will be happy with soundbites, will not even think to question and look deeper. I hear the sound of jack-boots marching.
But there are glimmers of Hope. Places to lay your Trust. Which is where I will go tomorrow.