18 December 2016
The ghosts of christmases past.......
The more that I read and listen to about the impact of Brexit, Trump and what people now refer to as 'populism', the more pessimistic I become and that pessimism was focussed by both hearing then reading David Remnick's piece in the New Yorker on the day of Trump's election. You can read the piece here: Presidential Election 2016: An American Tragedy - The New Yorker
Although it might be a little far fetched for me to hold Thatcher responsible for Trump's election, his election is, in my own view, a function of the process promoted by both Thatcher and Regan in the early 1980's. Whilst she may not have used these exact words, it was clear that Thatcher did not believe in 'society' but preferred to believe in the primacy of the individual and, in Trump, her vision is realised.
The American public (although a minority of them) have installed in the White House an individual who is committed to the pursuit of self-interest. It may be that, by some contortion of logic, that electorate somehow expect Trump to promote their self-interest rather than his but, in that, I suspect they will be disappointed.
And here, on this small island of ours, it would be worth considering what I might call it in the post-Brexit age. Certainly not Great Britain and, sadly, not the United Kingdom so maybe I will refer in future to the dUK as in disUnited Kingdom. So, here in the dUK, we now face separating from the EU after decades of whingeing and whining. I'm sure that many of the remaining members are glad to see the back of us but I'm also aware that our leaving may also undermine the integrity of the wider community and its fair to ask who might welcome a fragmenting EU.
Trump has stated quite clearly that his America comes first and, if it hasn't up till now then God help us when it does. But will Trump welcome the primacy of the individual European States? I suspect he will because, without the EU, I wonder if Airbus would have existed and would Boeing face the competition it does today? The EU is a powerful economic agent and its fragmentation will probably be welcomed by America, as it will be welcomed by Trump's 'friend', Vladimir Putin but for rather different, more militaristic and strategic reasons. Putin will be happy to see a fragmented EU as it will inevitably make his life easier as he strives to re-assert the Russian Federation's lost power and influence.
And in this rich broth of conflicting interests we have our very own quisling, Nigel Farage. Here is a man who: detests europe yet takes its money; claims to be British but comes from immigrant heritage and adopts a french pronunciation of his surname. Does this amount to hypocrisy? I think that we should be told. But, setting aside these minor issues, Farage seems intent on riding Trump's coat-tails and, in so doing, he will be selling out the interests of the dUK. He will be playing directly into Trump's hands and, if my opinion mattered, I'd throw him into the Tower.
All in all, we face a tough 2017 and beyond. This government, and any other we are likely to see, will continue to cut services in order to fund tax-cuts for the rich, both private and corporate. They will engage in a race to the bottom in terms of wages and continue to undermine unions wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.
I recently heard an interesting view of where the 'immigrant' fits into the developing sub-economy in the dUK. The suggestion was that the pursuit of corporate profit was being undertaken at the expense of wages and that, with profits rising and wages falling, the only people willing to step in an take these ever worse paid jobs are immigrants. Meanwhile we, like those involved with the Celtic Tiger, continue to sell our houses to each other at ever inflated 'values' and, in so doing, we maintain our confidence in the domestic economy. What will happen, I wonder, if that domestic economy takes a dive as Trump pursues his, or America's self-interest before ours.
Posted by niall connolly at 17:30