22 July 2016

But we are not alone..........

Political life in post-Brexit Not-Quite-United Kingdom may well be a little topsy-turvy but at least we don't have Nigel Farage as a potential Prime Minister. Compare this to the USA where Donald Trump (Farage on steroids) is now the Republican candidate in the upcoming Presidential election. But there is a very real comparison between our situation and that in the USA - in both places, politicians are making general policy statements which lack any detail, which are completely open to interpretation and which, most likely, cannot be implemented whatever the interpretation. The real downside of this approach is that people who vote for these 'policy promises' are very likely to be disappointed and when they are, the shit will really hit the fan.

The Brexit vote may well have been more of a protest vote but the fact is that many voters feel that they have been ignored or left behind and it is that constituency that politicians both ignore and embrace at their peril. If politicians address that constituency with their promises, then they had better deliver and ensure that those voters feel that their situation has improved. The problem there is that, referring to the UK, to improve the situation of the disaffected (outside of the major conurbations) will require a major policy shift e.g. a general refocussing of investment away from, for example, the M25 bubble and more towards the wider UK.  Is that likely to happen - probably not so what happens when voters who voted for 'change' find that nothing changes? More extremism is the answer. And more finger pointing - blame them, they are the problem.

The 'stay or go' referendum could be characterised as change vs no-change and the 'change' camp used phrases like 'taking back control of parliament' or 'taking back control of our borders'. Only time will tell but neither promises are likely to be delivered and Farage has already made it clear that he won't be around to share the responsibility for failure. He's made it clear that he is far happier to foment dissatisfaction and then move on than he is to stay and deal with the entrenched attitudes that maintain the M25/Westminster/City of London bubbles. More dangerous are Trump's wild policy generalisations about delivering safety and Law & Order the moment he takes office.

Whilst Farage's efforts may have made the UK a less liberal place, Trump's vision could easily make the world a more dangerous place.