Please read this blog before you think that I have taken leave of my senses. I loathe Donald Trump. He is clearly a misogynist, racist bully with a casual regard for the truth and a shocking ability to cause trouble globally. Anyone who can promote headlines like these, culled from the pages of American newspapers yesterday is a major cause of concern
“Trump promotes claim he is ‘loved like the King of Israel”
“Royal Rebuke for Trump after he cancels Danish trip”
The actions that he is taking are damaging both the economy of the World and the chances of peace in the Middle East. He either doesn’t understand or is totally reckless about his actions in promoting a trade war with China. The people that are being hit most are those people who, globally, consume the most. That means that the big sufferers from tariffs are the people of the USA who are facing higher goods themselves. The further knock on effect is on the other exports that are made on behalf of American companies but of goods which are created in China. The biggest sufferers in the end will be America and its Companies.
The Middle East is suffering because of the way that he has destabilised Iran. Iran is by no means a perfect Country. They were, however, sticking to a difficult agreement about the production of nuclear fuel which America and the European countries supported. The European Countries still do. His actions with sanctions are producing real poverty and starvation in a Country which feels it must retaliate against the unilateral actions of the USA.
His view of women, people of colour and those with a disability are loathsome. Pretending to imitate the movements of a disabled journalist and his attack of 4 excellent women of colour who have been elected to Congress would not be acceptable in any civilised society.
So, what’s the good thing then? Well, we have our own Trumpian mini-me in the shape of Prime Minister Johnson. The one thing we can say is that although much of a muchness Trump is worse because he has a bigger Country to ruin and bigger toys to play with! He feels entitled to grab any ‘pussy’ he fancies.
Johnson also has a reckless view of the economy. It is absolutely OK to trash our economy as long as he and his mates, many of whom are taking advantage of the decline of the £ and who are trading in advance in the necessities of life so that they can make a killing, can profit from it. Already thousands of skilled and professional jobs have been lost and there are more to come at places like Ellesmere Port in the car industry. Not one reputable independent commentator thinks that Brexit will not be painful. The only argument is “how painful”.
Like Trump he has a real disregard for people from other Countries. He has already insulted ‘Johnny Foreigner’ in the form of insults about the French and German nations. He shows a total lack of understanding of the rightful concerns of Irish people on both the North and South sides of the Border about the Good Friday Agreement.
He has a biased white male view of society. His comments about ‘water melon’ smiles cannot be dismissed as a joke. He clearly feels threatened by strong and capable women.
These are two people who are arrogant and have some sort of mental problem which makes it difficult for them to relate to the people around them. They were born rich and have no concept of the struggle that so many of their fellow citizens have to keep their heads above water. They use the rhetoric of helping the masses to entrench privilege for their coterie of friends.
It would be easy to say it’s all their fault. In fact, all of us must take the blame for their rise to power. The political systems in both Countries are male dominated and relatively difficult to enter. Many people move into politics at a national level on the backs of their parents who moved into politics on…….!
In both Countries whole communities and large parts of some cities have been left behind by technological change. People who were skilled craftsmen or had hard jobs on trawlers or down mines have been cast on the scrap heap with no understanding of their capacity or of what we can or should do to assist them.
That has also meant a great financial mismatch between the haves and the have-nots. Whole communities have little aspiration. There seems little point in getting a couple of GCSEs when it won’t lead to a job which gives a basic wage that you can live on and bring up children on without tax credits or insecure benefits.
Capitalism, a system which needs to work for all, works only for the wealthy in the UK and the USA whereas in Countries like Sweden and Germany the results of the interaction between capital and labour are much more evenly spread. The happiest Countries in the world are ones with the highest taxation because people see the benefits of a well-funded public sector providing benefits for all.
If we want to tackle head on the white nationalism of Trump and Johnson we need to tackle head on the reasons for their rise. Liberal democracy in both countries seeks to emulate the social democracy of the Nordic Countries. Unless we create a caring, sharing society our institutions will continue to be highjacked by a greedy, powerful minority.
That is the challenge to all of us. Let’s not let Trump and Johnson win.