An idiot writes: “Trump’s election is an unmistakable rejection of a political establishment and an economic system that simply isn’t working for most people. It is one that has delivered escalating inequality and stagnating or falling living standards for the majority, both in the US and Britain.”
Those are the conclusions of an allegedly serious British politician who leads Her Majesty’s so called opposition. Yes, it’s Jeremy Corbyn and Jeremy Corbyn is an idiot.
Trump is not the little man standing up to vested interests. He is the vested interest. He is a multi-billionaire right wing racist whose entire career has been founded on trampling all over the little man. He is the embodiment of all the things that the ludicrous Corbyn suggests form the foundation of why Trump won. Put simply, the American people have elected someone from the extreme right who will, without any doubt at all, further divide America and deliver greater inequality. It is the huge paradox of American politics as it is of ours.
I would argue that the triumph of Trump is the same thing as Brexit, where vast swathes of the public, for different reasons, have rejected the status quo. Although as with Brexit the election of Trump will represent an enormous act of self-harm to the very people who have been left behind, you can understand where they are coming from. Clinton, a political robot fronting a huge political machine, offered more of the same and voters who had little or nothing saw little to vote for gave her a kicking. The absurd populist Trump offered little more than bluster and rhetoric but that, for many, represented more than more of the same. And more of the same to many Americans was more of the failed politics that divided America, as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
The left wing writer Owen Jones said today that the left needs populism in order to regain ground on the populist right. No it doesn’t. The left requires modern, progressive and realistic policies that work for everyone, policies that people can believe in, policies that actually work for them. No one can seriously say that the elitist policies of Theresa May will work for everyone, whilst Corbyn’s vague political positions will barely benefit anyone at all, especially as he has no chance of ever being elected.
The populism of Trump and indeed his friend Farage are just that, empty words that might sound good in isolation but in practice will continue to benefit the establishment to which they actually belong, the “political class” they actually are and always have been.
My own view, for what it is worth, is that many people at home and abroad have tired of a system that doesn’t work for them. They have tired of politicians who go their own way, never affecting their lives other than to make them worse. That was what the Tory/Lib Dem coalition was all about, it is what May is all about. I see very few politicians of compassion and vision in whom we can believe.
From the leafy shires to the hipsters of Islington come politicians, and their American equivalents (and equivalents everywhere), who wilfully or otherwise, ignore the rights of the disenfranchised, of whom there are many millions and this is how you end up with Trump, Brexit and, just maybe next year, Le Pen and Wilders.
Trump’s victory was about the vaguest of vague hope for people who had none. It represents the choice of a different establishment, that’s all. Meet the new boss, said Pete Townshend. Same as the old boss. But in America’s case, the new boss is much, much worse.