Britain and the US march lockstep into yesterday

LAST UPDATED: 20 Feb, 2017 @ 14:20
9
SHARE

IT was said of the recent election that if it teaches us anything:image-1024x656

…it is that supposedly worthy displays of democracy in action can actually do more harm than good. Witness a nation now more divided; an inter-generational schism in the making; both a governing and opposition party torn to shreds from the inside; infinitely more complex issues raised than satisfactory solutions provided. It begs the question ‘Was it really all worth it’? ? Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe.

The recent election to which I am referring is the Brexit where Britain voted to detach itself from the European Union. The outcome of the vote came as a shock to both Britain and the world. Everyone wrote it off as an ill-advised tantrum being thrown by those who wanted to roll back the clock.

Let’s face it: These outraged throwbacks were written off as intolerant bigots whose time had past. Unable to stop the direction of progress, they wanted to pull themselves out of the maelstrom. They turned their backs on the future and charted a course for yesterday. No one expected them to succeed. They did. And they were not alone:

The Trump Campaign: Brexit 2.0

Breitbart noted that the Trump campaign rose to prominence on the same issues that led the Leave faction of the Brexit to victory. Among those issues were:

  • – Uncontrolled immigration
    – Out-of-whack trade deals
    – National sovereignty
    – Popular control of government
    – Rejection of world elites

This is a populist message that could have come from either Britain or the US at almost any time in their historic past. They have often gone through political phases together. When combing through historical documents for sale, one can find letters from Winston Churchill agonising over possibly having squandered American goodwill in 1938.

That empathic, political connection seems to be just as strong today, as the wave of populist unrest in Britain is almost exactly mirrored today in the US. The twin movements share unlikely similarities:

The Failure of Polls

We live in a time when nothing should surprise us. The art and science of polling has become so good, our power to predict bears a vague resemblance to prescience. At least, that is what we thought before the final Brexit vote. It wasn’t supposed to end up that way at all. The world was not just disappointed but shocked.

Whatever went wrong there couldn’t possibly go wrong here. It was supposed to be Clinton by a landslide. Trump was unelectable. Never mind Trump Towers. We had Trump toilets. There were more ways to make fun of him than to take him seriously. Even during the final run-up to the election, Clinton was supposed to win.

She didn’t.

It happened again. The populist movement made its mark on both sides of the pond. And pollsters did little to help us prepare for what was ultimately to come. There are three obvious possibilities:

  1. The people who voted for Brexit and Trump are not the kind of people who answer questions of pollsters.
  2. The people who voted for Brexit and Trump outright lied to the pollsters.
  3. The art and science of polling are not nearly as advanced as we thought it was.

Either way, the voices of the disaffected were not heard or counted until after the elections. On both sides of the pond, the winners must be asking if we can hear them now. They certainly have our attention.

What of Tomorrow?

America has always been a nation of immigrants. Take away immigration, and it is hard to know exactly what America is. President Elect Trump has promised to roll the clock backward on immigration.

Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. But all gay, lesbian, and trans-gendered people are rightfully afraid that Trump will be pursuing a policy of yesterday. Every non-white male has new-found trepidation over a President Trump who wants to return to some perceived glory days that were not so glorious for disenfranchised minorities.

We have learned from our pollsters that no one can foresee the future. We cannot say with certainty what tomorrow may bring. But there will be a tomorrow. Sometimes progress is two steps forward and one step back. But the long arc of time favours the ultimate emergence of our best selves. We have as much work to do tomorrow as we did yesterday.

To the work.

Author: Ashley Andrews

Subscribe: Olive Press news to your inbox

9 COMMENTS

The Olive Press are not responsible and do not moderate individual comments before they are posted. Anyone who uses racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic language or hate speech will be blocked.
  1. It must feel strange to be in the minority. To have views that most people disagree with. And to have the dangerous attitude that democracy is wrong. God help us from the likes of you.
    The majority of people have decided enough is enough with the unelected money sucking monster of the EU. You wait and see what happens in the next lot of elections across europe!!

    and its the likes of you that are to blame for the failing of the EU – not addressing peoples concerns, not discussing issues in a polite manner, constantly being rude, dismissive, offensive, and spouting dangerous ideas about not respecting peoples opinions and votes.

    • Gone through this article with a fine tooth-comb and fail to find any of the attitudes you complain of.
      The whole thing is neutral and even-handed. Unlike your excitable froth!

  2. What a bigoted and twisted article. The basis of which is a total lie that – the EU is a wonderful organisation that has always served the interests of the majority of Europeans. The reality is of course an organisation that was mooted by a group of ‘important’ Europeans who were all male and all hard line Catholics. They wanted to create a business organisation that mimicked the classic example of a fascist organisation led by one man (not, nor ever intended to be a woman) the Catholic church.

    It’s foundation was the European Coal and Steel Community – a business organisation. That is why the most important tenet was the ‘free movement of capital and labour’ no one could be so mendacious or stupid to deny that this benefits only the rich and powerful. Without this as it’s basis, it would never have come into existence.

    ‘America has always been a nation of immigrants’ – there speaks a white supremacist, who blithely fails to mention that the prime objective of the first immigrants, mainly Dutch,English, German was to take by force the land and exterminate the existing population. Indeed it was the British limiting their expansion that was the real reason for the American colonist revolution.

    First we shall see if this post is deleted (highly likely) but if not it would be good to see the writer of this mendacious and insulting article try to rebut any or all of the factual points I have raised.

  3. No surprise my post got deleted, sad the OP does’nt operate with an impartial touch. This will be deleted as well. Now if someone was to start up a truly unbiased forum with the normal PMs that OP never has could attract a lot of people to join. Starting up a forum is really cheap, I might decide to give it a go.

  4. I suppose there are multiple causes for dropped, unposted comments: 1. software problems, 2. shortage of adequate comment screeners, 2.a new editorial policy that tries to shape the comments to match a different editorial purpose?
    Whatever the case, the dropped comments likely will have an adverse affect on readership and those who stimulate discussions. What’s the point if comments aren’t posted?
    Finally, the tiny font size on the right hand side listing comments – but oddly no tease of comment content – is in a type face very difficult to see, especially, on devices and for older people or those with less than perfect vision.

  5. I offer these constructive observations. But I am guessing this won’t appear either.
    I suppose there are multiple causes for dropped, unposted comments: 1. software problems, 2. shortage of adequate comment screeners, 2.a new editorial policy that tries to shape the comments to match a different editorial purpose?
    Whatever the case, the dropped comments likely will have an adverse affect on readership and those who stimulate discussions. What’s the point if comments aren’t posted?
    Finally, the tiny font size on the right hand side listing comments – but oddly no tease of comment content – is in a type face very difficult to see, especially, on devices and for older people or those with less than perfect vision.

  6. What a surprise after two days my comment got posted. As I said it would be good to see the writer respond to the points I raised.

    There is unfortunately amongst all white European nations a cowardly denial mentality to the collective and national and racial pasts, this applies to all those former European colonies as well. Thanks to Al Jazeera, a go to TV channel for me I have learned so much about the reality of the ‘pioneering’ days of Canada/Australia/New Zealand/South Africa, the USA I had studied in my own time from school days as I had family connections to two of the top Confederate generals – I raise this very important issue because of Louise Cottril’s comment about ‘America’

    My comments about the EU’s ‘founding fathers’ is factual and goes to the very heart of Brexit. This very morning out walking one of our dogs I stopped for a conversation with a neighbour who used to have a mens clothing shop in the village, wiped out by the supermarkets. Before his business was allowed to be destroyed by national and EU politicians he told me how most of the clothes were made in Bordeaux. these businesses were destroyed when production shifted first to Tunisia and then to Asia. With each move the quality went down and down. I pointed to the waterproof trainers I was wearing – Saloman, a French company – made in China.

    If the EU was really operating in the interests of the ordinary European the greedy treason of big business would never have been allowed, it was’nt, it is’nt and it never will be. Now the Brussels scum have signed CETA, TTIP’s little brother and the access route for American big business.

    L/Cs article follows the same path as all the Remoaners, first comes the insulting language, always the sign of a lost argument and then the fear. Never do you see clear proof of the actual status quo re. imports/exports. It’s always the frightened ‘we are so weak’ when what they are realy saying is we, the Remoaners are frightened of our own shadows, we are weak, we don’t have any guarantees, the Nasty party will do whatever they want – yes but only to those who are terrified to stand up to them. Cowardly serfs will always be abused, history shows us that clearly. stefanjo is a perfect example of this frightened camp follower mentality, you could’nt want better.

    So mwill Louiser Cottril respond with factual rebuttal of my arguments – vamos a ver.

HAVE YOUR SAY...