Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Victory of the Liars

I suppose I ought to record, for the benefit of posterity, that everyone I know is still reeling from the shock election of D. Trump as President of the USA. Like everyone else, I treated his candidature as a joke and assumed he would either fall quickly by the wayside or spectacularly self-destruct. He did neither; instead be blustered. lied, bullied, lied and lied again and managed to fool enough voters to win the electoral college (if not the popular vote).

The parallels with the Brexit campaign are clear. The appeal to voters to assume that everyone in power is corrupt or effete and that turning the clock back to some imagined time of past greatness will make us all rich and happy, never mind that this is not something you can actually do. The demonisation of foreigners. The sneering dismissal of expertise (although I think we can safely assume that, should the President-elect fall ill, he will call for the best doctor in town, not for the most obscure). The belief that only a few simple laws can change everything and at once jobs will be created, houses and hospitals built, social cohesion obtained. The belief in belief itself, that anyone who dares question it is an enemy to be ignored or shouted down, not engaged with for none must challenge the sacred mantras.

Possibly the stupidest thing that Britain could have done, at a time when the USA seems poised to revert to the isolationist and protectionist policies of the 1930s, is to dump our main trading partners in the hope of finding something better. And that is what we did. Now we see our PM trying to woo India. And what is the first item on their agenda? Easier access for students and businesspeople to visit the UK. Oogh, those awful foreigners. What a nerve.

It will be interesting to see if Scotland manage to beat England in the World Cup qualifier tomorrow night. This could be another symbolic moment of national decline following (in the case of S. Allardyce of blessed memory) another moment of stupidity.

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