Thursday, 7 January 2021

US "insurrection" - it could happen here.

 On page 276 of "A Promised Land"  former US President Barack Obama writes:

"As the US growth rate started to slow in the 1970s - as incomes then stagnated  and good jobs declined for those without a college degree, as parents started worrying about their kids doing at least as well as they had done - the scope of people's concerns narrowed.  We became more sensitive  to the possibility that someone else  was getting something we weren't and more receptive to the notion that the government couldn't be trusted to be fair.

 Promoting that story - a story that fed not trust but resentment - had come to define the modern Republican Party." 

That is the mood into which President Trump has tapped and which has enabled him to pressure his followers (the left behind?) into believing that he has indeed been robbed of his election victory, and thus precipitated yesterday's mob invasion of the US Congress.

The parallels with the UK are not exact.   Prime Minister Johnson is no Donald Trump (not yet, anyway), but Nigel Farage is a good imitation.  The unfairness in the UK is not so much attributed to the government as to globalisation, immigration and, in particular the EU.  Farage based his appeal on this mood, Troy voters haemorrhaged towards his UKIP and frighted David Cameron into offering the EU Referendum he didn't expect to have to call.

Although Prime Minister Johnson has not, yet, abused our constitution to the extent that Trump has in the US, he has illegally prorogued parliament, has threatened to break international law, is cutting regulatory  conners to allows lucrative contracts to be given to Troy friends, and is ignoring the norms of ministerial reponsiblity.

 We are, I hope, a long way from an attack on the Palace of Westminster, but we urgently need to find convincing ways of making our system  work "for the many, not the few" or we can go down the illiberal road on which Trump has led the US.

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