With power handed to both US chambers of Congress and the president Republican, what have the dis-United Kingdom Unionists got to say about Britain’s “special relationship” with an undesirable “one-party state?”
If voting figures are to be believed, over forty million Americans didn’t bother to vote, but almost one million more voted for Clinton than Trump. The Electoral College did the rest. The immediate response to that is to say, the voters deserve the president they get. Unfortunately, the president they get is the same one imposed on the rest of the world – us. The next understandable response is to suggest a stupid people get stupid leaders.
I’ll come clean immediately. I regard Donald Trump as a modern manifestation of fascism. He apes Mussolini: obnoxious, authoritarian, narcissistic, misogynistic, non-collaborative, and unstable. He has a lot to live down if he is ever to take us by surprise. Many must hope he mellows. I wouldn’t count on it, but the right wing press will do its best to convince us he never really meant the things he said.
Trump’s posturing and vanity is there for us to see. Mussolini once had his mistress awoken in the middle of the night and driven to his house. She found him in uniform facing a full-length mirror. “Am I not the handsomest man in Italy?” She indulged him. “Yes”, she said, and was driven straight back home again.
Just a theory, mind
I have a theory – look at images of Trump, his face when he won. He looks bewildered, almost scared, uncertain, not the expression of a political big-time winner. In the Oval Office with Obama he looked really perplexed, way out of his depth. I don’t think he wants to govern. I think he wanted to be called president.
Trump wants the trappings of power, not the responsibility. He is without empathy.
So far, he has no firm policies on anything, only deep, ingrained prejudices. He has reversed position on virtually every issue he has supposedly held dear. It does not matter what one thought of Hillary Clinton, Trump is a crazy all to himself.
What we see happening in the United States of Amnesia we saw happen in the United Kingdom – neither land ‘united’ in any manner or understanding of that word.
The mood of people is fearful. The population has lost confidence in the democratic process and its supposed adherents, privy to endemic corruption and greed on a vast scale, inculcated by the right-wing to look upon the disaster the neo-conservatives have caused as the fault of politicians and the poor. We dispense with civil discourse and resort to extremism. Trump is one outcome.
The concern is how people are expressing their anger and dissent. The level of anger, frustration and hatred is not, to my mind, organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies. In the UK we have to dodge crazy unionists daily screaming a plague on the Jocks.
We were warned
In April 2010, among a number of respected international commentators, professor Noam Chomsky, the eminent linguist and political activist, offered a dark vision of America’s future that was dismissed by the media. Today it turns out to be painfully accurate.
He warned of the success a “charismatic figure” would have if one ran for office promising to cure society’s ills. He listed elements of their campaign that would take them to power.
The similarities to Trump and Mussolini are manifold and clear, from military force being exalted, (Trump consistently heaps praise on the army and secret service) to the scapegoating of illegal immigrants, (Trump has vowed to eject them from the country and build a wall between the US and Mexico).
Here is what Chomsky wrote:
“The United States is extremely lucky that no charismatic figure has arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response.
What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks.
We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany.
The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
The inside outsider
Trump claims to be an outsider, but that’s a great big fib. He’s an insider, one of the elite, always keen to line his pockets, and extricate himself out of his debts.
He must be the only man who has ever had a casino go bankrupt. A casino! Any politician elected to high office, there not to serve but to enhance his wealth, will do just that. Look at Clinton, look at Blair. No president has ever been the poorer for taking on that onerous office, no matter how incompetent he was in the job. Trump once claimed to be a democrat, in fact he is on record as saying the US economy is always healthier under a democratic administration. Now he’s an extremist, a crazy Republican.
That raises the question why he became a Republican. Republicans gave up pretending to be a political party when they were prepared to close down the entire US government and its services, just to make the point they could.
It’s very difficult to accord Trump the prefix ‘president’ Trump. His use of Mussolini tactics and narratives is a mere symptom of the times. But he is not alone. Any day now we shall see a British columnist reassert that perhaps Sir Oswald Mosley got things right, and is not the traduced reputation of the late, great Tory, Enoch Powell, in need of reappraisal. Watch out for England’s crazy, Boris Johnson, telling us to embrace Trump, and shut the hell up. England’s Tory party are already openly in praise of Trump’s election.
Appeasement is the new in-word, ‘existential’ is out.
What is happening?
Donald Trump’s victory marks the end of an era when a venal, corrupt Establishment preached the efficacy of free markets, unregulated banks, offshore tax havens, media conglomerates, and wealth solely for the one per cent of society at the top.
Echoes of the past
The era it ushers in is not new. It’s a variant of the 1930s, featuring deflationary economics, mass xenophobia, racism, disenfranchising entire sections of society, particularly the poor and the disadvantaged, summed up in divide-and-rule politics.
We have perpetual wars in the Middle-East, the CIA return to undermining elected governments in South America who have no wish to be controlled by US interests. We witness the rise of fascism all over Europe, accompanied by authoritarian policies that rely on the simplicity of black or white solutions. Passion fuels misanthropy and brutality.
Trump lines up his Crazy Cabinet
One of Trump’s first appointments is an arch climate-change denier, Myron Ebell. His influence may well bring us all to the brink, hence what he does affects us drastically. Trump has also chosen creationist Ben Carson as his secretary of education. The signs all point to the most regressive, anti-intellectual inner cabinet in modern American history. Bush Junior’s neo-con confederates will look tame in comparison. Somebody needs to advise Trump swiftly Homer Simpson is a cartoon character, not at all eligible for his inner cabinet. Her may well demand Homer joins his team.
The chants of fascists are everywhere: Ukip, Brexiteers, Poland’s and Hungary’s governments, Alternative für Deutschland, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Austria’s next president, Marine Le Pen in France. The prospects for progressive democracy are bleak.
To protect ourselves we turned to the SNP, an inclusive political party untainted by long-serving administration gone sour, a party that proved to be clever and wise in government and in the face of viscous, malicious opposition. Unfortunately, we failed to stretch that protection to its logical conclusion, independence regained, sovereignty protected. As one social site editor noted, a fearful fifty-five per cent of Scotland’s electorate voted for no change but is getting change, and its very painful.
What is to be done?
The main thing is not to regress into feelings of futility. Our task is to put a halt to creeping fascism, and harness protest in the service of all. That means resisting it, strenuously, staring it full in the face, and it may well mean moving from dissent to direct action. It means our elected representatives will have to forget their careers and stand up to be counted. If any Scot thinks the Whitehouse is too far away to worry about they have forgotten Donald Trump owns a chunk of Aberdeenshire. He will most certainly exert his new-found influence on Scotland’s future.
Try and imagine Trump demanding something from Scotland to enrich his estates and getting refused. Try to image the reprisals he will threaten. Try to imagine all of that and how he will receive support from Theresa May, the Tory party and Labour, united in wanting a docile Scotland.
We have to be bold and implement Scotland’s right to govern itself and halt the insidious control of Westminster and its foreign policies. Clearly, Scotland can’t be our only concern. If we want to retain ties with Europe – a must if Scotland is to thrive politically and economically – we have to help progressives there regain control. We boast we are an outward, international looking nation, a true claim based on centuries of our history, illuminated in our Enlightenment, so lets put it into practice.
A new coherent movement
We need to evolve a new progressive movement that is able and willing to join with fellow travellers in England against Tory callousness, and the odious shambles that is Ukip. The hope has to be the United States, those who supported Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, will do the same, join forces with progressives in Canada and Latin America. Some Jewish upholders of Palestinian rights are already advocating similar movements in the Middle East, those shedding their blood against tyranny, and the West’s puppet regimes.
If we do not stand our ground against the extremists who sully democracy we risk allowing in the politics of fear, loathing and division. Quite frankly, they are ugly aliens. We need a wall of our own, one to keep them out. The only wall is self-determination. There is no alternative. Without it we are completely at the mercy of extreme capitalists.