Eclectic Blue

It’s all the same

0 Comments 13 July 2018

Possibly the best tweet I have ever seen came today from the food writer Jay Rayner: “For decades I have, as a Jew, wondered how totalitarian, bigoted regimes rise to power. How does a population of ordinary, decent people allow it? Then I watch someone like @piersmorgan once a great liberal campaigning journalist, suck up to Trump and I think ‘oh. That’s how.” I agree with almost all of this, with the exception that Morgan was ever, somehow, a “great liberal campaigning journalist”; which is a bit like saying Vinnie Jones was a great footballer. But that’s a matter of pedantry. The point is that Rayner has hit the nail firmly on the head.

In many ways, Rayner’s comment is not much different from that of the anti-Nazi Pastor Martin Niemoller who said this:

“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

This is, indeed, “how totalitarian, bigoted regimes rise to power”. Good people doing nothing.

Rayner tweeted about the terrifying rise to power of Donald Trump but there are familiar echoes from the past. History shows that when people are confronted by fascism, they must stand up to it and resist. Appeasement does not work.

Much more will eventually be revealed about Trump and it will not make pleasant reading. It is becoming ever clearer that Trump has serious connections with Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular, another hard man of the right. Trump is supported by the so called Alt Right throughout the world, from the hard line conservatives in the US to the useful idiots in our own country, like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

At first, I saw Trump’s election as a source of what I expected to be temporary amusement. What an error of judgement that turned out to be. I then heard warnings from wise counsel, including old friends and acquaintances, that Trump’s presidency was far more dangerous than that. An unstable egocentric, narcissist, populist, racist, misogyist, power-mad lunatic is the man with his finger on the button.

The vote for Brexit in the UK is the other side of the same coin, a hard right campaign, supported by all the people who supported Trump, plus added British Labour Party, of course, feeding off ugly nationalism. That is not to say that every Brexit supporter is a card-carrying fascist, of course it isn’t, because the 52% had different motives in wanting to leave Europe. However, it everyone who voted leave wasn’t a racist, every racist voted leave.

The world is in a terrible mess now, with a far right nationalist in the White House, a former KGB thug in the Kremlin and at the most unstable moment in our post war history we decide to become even more unstable. If nothing else, all of us need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Our leaders in the UK are weak and incompetent. May must surely know what a dangerous man Trump is but her desperation for a trade deal so we can import chlorinated chicken, hormone injected beef and genetically modified goods has blurred what’s left of her vision. So she holds his hand, blows smoke up his arse and prays he will be nice to her. So much for “taking back control”.

It is right that people are demonstrating in London tonight. If our leaders are hell-bent in appeasing a dangerous demagogue, then the people must say that we aren’t. Trump, Putin, Brexit – it’s all the same.

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