On leadership, Brexit, Trump, the New Politics and what dreams may come.
I once saw a man deliberately putting himself in harm’s way. It was an incredibly courageous thing to do. I talked with him not long afterwards and he told me that sometimes when you’re the leader and everyone knows the situation is hopeless, you just have to damn well stand up and lead. It’s the only way you can change hearts and give a glimmer of hope. People begin to think they can get through, so they do. You yourself might not though, he cautioned me.
The lesson was if you show some leadership and guts, it has an effect on people like the spreading wake behind a boat. They’ve seen something done that they imagined impossible, and it energises them. Sometimes instead of dissipating, a wake only gets bigger, to become the wave of longed-for change, and that type of wave often becomes an irresistible tsunami.
Mainstream politics around the world has for years shown not a scrap of leadership. It has gradually become more detached, has degenerated down into an inward-looking club which is rich enough to be safely insulated from the injurious effects of their nothing more than virtue signalling policies which harm their own electorates, whom they basically ignore anyway.
It no longer related to ordinary people, so they gradually lost any faith in it.
There is a smothering tyranny of consensus, only one approved viewpoint on any topic, and any dissenting voice is effectively barred a right of reply by a mainstream media which is safely ensconced within the club as well. They serve in effect as both the establishment’s thought police as well as its attack dogs.
If you step outside the reservation, they’ll tear you to pieces.
This incestuous intertwining of establishment politics and the media gave birth to their shared delusion that everybody was happy with the direction they were dragging society along by its ear, apart from a few contrarians and ain’t there always a few of those stupid people around? That was their grand delusion, and it prevented them from seeing what they really didn’t want to see.
Not a small amount, but a large amount of the population were profoundly dissatisfied with them and their totally irrelevant policies, such as manic fixations on strange things like legislating for gender-neutral toilets rather than dealing with bigger immediate threats such as terrorism. The focus was on small non-problems which they knew they could fix in a blaze of publicity from their fan boys in the media.
The UK general election of 2015 was a mild foreshock of what was coming. Every pundit, commentator, pollster and politician said it would be a very close result. As it happened, the only party that had a few sensible policies, and I do mean a pitiful few, ended up with one hundred seats more than any other.
There were many lessons which could have been drawn from the unexpected direction popular sentiment was heading in, but all the experts were so busy making up excuses for their inept predictions, they didn’t look for the substantial reasons. In the venerable tradition of the Bourbon kings and in the aftermath of the event, they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
The first big shock came this year with the Brexit referendum. All the same supposed experts made the same predictions about how the ordinary person would cling to the status quo, rather than telling the EU they wanted out. In the face of apocalyptic prophecies, thinly veiled threats and bullying interference in domestic affairs by outsiders like Obama, the ordinary Briton voted to leave the EU. Ever since, we’ve been treated to howls of indignation, attempts to get the decision annulled and of course calls to run it all again.
The sad thing about the latter idea is that after a Remain campaign nicknamed Project Fear which consisted of nothing more than dire predictions about the effects of voting out, none of those predictions came through. The FTSE-100 index is at a record high, unemployment is down and business is booming.
All those businesses who’d been making vague threats to decamp over to the EU are suddenly increasing their investment in the UK, because the decision not to leave the fifth largest economy in the world for a disintegrating basket case like the EU is like a duh no-brainer.
Add in to all those failed predictions and U-turns, President-elect Trump saying when it came to a trade deal, the UK was at the head of the queue, as opposed to the back of it as threatened by an arrogant Obama if we decided to leave the EU, a rerun would be a bloodbath for the Remainers or the Remoaners as they’re increasingly called.
What Brexit did was provide that example of leadership, of the average person giving the finger to the political/media establishment and saying we want control back, we want people leading us who’ll address our needs, not a bunch of out of touch tossers like you lot who act like we don’t even exist.
In my assessment as far back as this time last year, Donald Trump was already on a roll and stood a good chance of winning, if only because he read the mood of the average voter much better than the Democratic and Republican establishment and they’d no clue how to deal with him, but I think Brexit helped to build the belief in his supporters that someone actually representing the will and needs of the average person could win, despite the cold cloying hands of the supposedly all-powerful political/media complex.
Both Brexit and Trump overturning the political landscape of the last few decades will not be isolated events. There are more examples of it going to occur in Europe this year and in subsequent ones. Like the expanding wave behind the boat, electorates across it have seen it’s possible to depose the decadent Bourbons and restore a truly responsive democracy rather than the sham they currently put up with.
The Swiss recently in a referendum voted down, against all establishment advice, a plan to close all their nuclear plants. They’d seen what a similar righteous green decision has done to their neighbour’s electricity grid in Germany, and weren’t going to take that amount of economic damage on the vague hope of feeling nice about themselves.
Speaking of that neighbour, the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) are making electoral gains that would have been unbelievable five years ago, and mainly at the expense of Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) and other parties too.
They blame her quite rightly for major things like electricity prices rising so high in pursuit of the green fairy that record numbers of people are being disconnected, but also for the smaller ones like waving in over a million shiftless welfare migrants, who after more than a year and a half in Germany have secured less than a hundred jobs, and as an added bonus have turned large parts of the country into rape zones where nobody is allowed to be punished and women and children, of either sex, simply aren’t safe anymore.
In France, Marine Le Pen of the Front National looks to have a decent chance to be its next president, despite what the media pundits are all predicting, and we all know how accurate they can be. It’ll be an EU killer if it happens.
In Italy, Virginia Raggi, the first mayoress of Rome and her party the Five Star Movement (M5S) are slicing their way through the old political establishment. They’re heading into a referendum supposedly on constitutional reform, but every man and his dog knows the result of it would lose their PM his job and take Italy out of the Euro, if not the EU. As usual, Project Fear is in full swing down on the voter’s necks, but I hear from some quarters there’s a definite Brexit feel in the country. Another EU killer if it happens. Avanti Italia!
Spain and Greece are in debt up to their armpits to Brussels while their enforced membership of the Euro zone is an economic garrote around their throat. They are but two examples across Europe of several ticking bombs of discontent with a hapless political class who are incapable of initiating any real change. Their electorates are just waiting for the right leadership to come along, and that will happen.
All these leaders, their parties and their overwhelmingly ordinary supporters are variously vilified in the mass media as being evil, racist, Nazis, nationalist (yes!) and pretty much every bad name you can think of but the interesting thing, the shockwave deep into the heart of legacy politics and their lapdogs in the media, is that people are indifferent to such labels nowadays. When you call people enough bad names for long enough, it eventually becomes water off a duck’s back.
Besides which, the media, like the politicians, is not trusted any more and therefore not listened to by electorates, who by flexing their muscles are finally getting people who’ll properly represent them and their interests.
When trust is lost, all is lost.
This is what I call the New Politics, and from now on at every election and referendum, it’ll be the same basic struggle; new faces representing the forces of real change up against an entrenched and decadent establishment, and it’s the establishment which is fighting for its life all around the world – and it’s losing.
How will the political/media complex deal with this loss of prestige and power?
Taking the mass media first, they’ve lost the trust of large swathes of their former consumers, and I think that may be a terminal wound. The term Lügenpresse or lying press came into common parlance in English for the first time ever and was being hurled at mainstream journalists towards the end of the presidential campaign, and quite rightly so, since they’d shamelessly broken every tenet of honest journalism, smashed every stone tablet into pieces.
They were nearly uniformly partisan to the Clinton campaign, colluded with it, leaked debate questions, spiked any negative stories and ran the most flagrant lies and unsubstantiated denouncements of Trump. No blow could be too low when it came to him. There’s a level of bitterness towards them because of their behaviour in the election which won’t be going away.
A thinly disguised apology after the election by the NYT, which used to style itself the newspaper of record, is simply not going to palliate anything, especially as it was suggested by a critic of its chronically biased coverage it should be renamed to the NY Huffington Post, a double insult if ever there was one but nonetheless an accurate assessment with which it would be hard to disagree.
When a once-great organ of the legacy media feels a post-election apology however gauche is in order, you can’t help but think it’s just disingenuously addressed at its former readers in an effort to entice them back. We’ll do much better from now on, promise, until we need to do it next time …
The reality was the most effective investigative journalism was being done by a combination of Project Veritas, WikiLeaks and the new wave of nimbler internet journalists who hadn’t been house-broken into fawning servility in the mainstream media. They didn’t have to dig too deep to hit real pay dirt with the Clinton campaign.
In the end, if you wanted to read about the other side and avoid wading your way through a media swamp of lies, misinformation, spin or deliberate omissions, you had to go to the internet. Those people won’t be coming back to the legacy media either.
Turning to the politicians, the positive way forward I think is the type of changes made by the UK’s governing Conservative party. They replaced their leader with someone who’d actually grown up in a house rather than a mansion. She promptly booted all the old boy, old school, rich, never had a job in their life network of lightweights out of government and replaced them with capable types who’d actually at some point in their lives struggled around a crowded supermarket with the wife and their kids doing the weekly grocery shop.
It’s evolution rather than revolution in the direction of the New Politics, and it stands a fair chance of succeeding, because it’s a government populated by people much more in touch with what people actually want and is being more responsive to it. Time will tell.
The negative way is to try and subvert the democratically expressed will of the people. In Britain this is taking the form of legal and other challenges by Remoaners in an attempt to reverse, annul, hinder or rerun Brexit. In the US, Trump’s election victory is going through similar challenges.
It’s the old order fighting to preserve itself, even if that means at the cost of undermining democracy itself. They’re frantic to hold onto power and get back to the old situation but the genie can’t be put back in the bottle, or rather won’t allow itself to be put back in it. Electorates have tasted meat, and they’ve no appetite to go back to gruel.
This refusal by politicians to abide by the democratically stated will of the people as expressed in polling booths is not something new, but rather the latest step in the steady erosion of the whole concept of democracy.
In the last decade, legislation which stood no chance of approval by an elected house, has been increasingly implemented by circumventing any approval by the use of executive orders, which are really diktats, and vastly expanding the remits of organisations such as the EPA, who in effect came to enforce by bureaucratic regulation, de facto laws which had never been passed by a legislature.
If there’s one lesson in the politics of a modern democracy, it’s that once a cabal of people brazenly subvert it, then it’s only a matter of time until the ladder of escalation moves from demonstrations, to street violence, to civil disorder, to open insurrection and finally to shooting. I think there’s enough sensible heads in the establishment to realise adaptation to the New Politics is the only way forward, because if it comes down to open strife or in the very worst possible case a civil war, there’s no way they can win.
Bending the knee and attempting to adapt to the new political reality by providing more acceptable candidates and policies is the only realistic path to take, since it’s the only way they have any hope of retaining control and therefore a modicum of power over the situation. As pragmatic politicians have known from even before Roman times, you can’t win against a popular mob. It’s a better strategy to jostle to the front of it and then try to lead it from there.
People want freedom from stifling central governments and control freak supranational bodies. Electorates are now out of the government cattle boats and paddling in their own canoes on their own chosen courses towards whatever dreams may come.
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