If the BBC – or ‘Auntie Beeb’ as we in the UK refer to the institution, affectionately – was in mourning after the outcome of the European Union Referendum, she’ll be positively suicidal this morning. Almost choking on his words, James Naughtie, the BBC’s special correspondent in Washington, has just announced – at 0735 hrs on Wednesday 9 November – that the 45th President of the United States of America will be Mr Donald Trump.
Editorially, the BBC is a bastion of the liberal elite; it’s a self-confessed ‘institutionally left’ leaning organisation which consciously, or otherwise, would prefer us all to think like Auntie Beeb (it’s a trait of the political left to expect everyone to think like them – or be considered a fascist). This meant, for example, loving ‘Europe’ during the EU Referendum campaign, and subtly ridiculing Donald Trump during the American Presidential Election campaign. It’s precisely because of this type of institutional thought management – and for other important reasons, of course – that most British people voted for Brexit, and Americans have now voted for Donald Trump. That’s one hell of a lot of fascists.
These two voting outcomes were as much protests against ruling elites (political, Establishment, ‘big business’, mainstream media, bankers and central banks, remote institutions like the European Commission, the IMF, the European Court of Justice (sic) and so on) as they were votes for Brexit and Trump. Something profound is happening right now and Auntie Beeb’s struggle to influence our thinking is emblematic of the wider loss of thought- and, therefore, voting-control traditionally exercised by the political class and the Establishment.
Without wishing to put too fine a point on it, we’re experiencing revolution on a grand scale here – so far, thankfully, without too much violence.
One can’t help but have mixed feelings about the outcome of the US Presidential Election. During the campaign, I said that if I were a betting man, my money would be on Trump. I had a similar feeling in the run up to the EU Referendum – and really did stick money on Brexit. Indeed, I argued fervently in public for the UK to leave the European Union; so I put my money where my mouth was. I didn’t feel a similar urge to argue Donald Trump’s case, but I understand absolutely why he’s just been voted into the most powerful public office on the planet.
So, what’s going on?
Well, you’ll have your own views on why the British people voted for Brexit and why, today, the Americans voted for Donald Trump. For example, a friend of a friend of mine on Facebook posted this comment just now. John (not his real name) said that the outcome of the US Presidential Election was:
‘Proof that universal suffrage in the media age is dangerous and produces abuse of the very democracy it claims to support’
Now, John is exhibiting a trait of the liberal elite. What John is saying is that whilst he’s able to take the omnipresent information and misinformation that swirls all about us in the internet age and make sensible decisions, the guy next to him isn’t. When I challenged John along this line, he said that the other guy’s vote can only be legitimate if he ‘considers properly the issues and [doesn’t] vote on slag-used soundbites’. So, John reinforces his own view that he knows how to sort the signal from the noise and vote wisely, but the other guy probably relies on ‘slag-used soundbites’ – and so the other guy’s vote is less valuable, or indeed worthless.
Notice anything here? Do you notice the fine line between liberal elitism and fascism? Fundamentally, fascism is about intolerance. So too is liberal elitism insofar as the liberal elite doesn’t tolerate views from outside its caste. As a prime example of this, just listen to the jeers and sneers whenever UKIP’s Nigel Farage speaks.
The ridiculous irony of the arguing stance of the liberal elite is to accuse virtually anyone who thinks – and votes – differently to them as being fascist. If you voted for the UK to leave the EU you must be an intolerably thick, racist. If you voted for Donald Trump for President you must be, er, an intolerably thick, racist. The liberal elite struggles to get its collective head around the idea that tens, and perhaps now hundreds of millions of bog-standard, ordinary people aren’t interested in being told how to think, or that their opinions carry less value than the likes of John’s.
Like I said, there’s some sort of revolution under way here and the western political and other Establishment elites are struggling to make the pace.
Another Facebook friend of mine commented that he ‘fears the spirit of fascism is in the ascent’. In other words, the desire of tens/hundreds of millions of people to break free from unrepresentative political and other powerful institutions and see the charting of a different societal course, represents the rise of fascism. I’m not convinced. To my friend I replied as follows …
Perhaps in the ascendant is the spirit of liberation from stifling political and Establishment elitism? Definitely a case of take your pick at the moment. Bear in mind, however, that prior to our own EU Referendum here, the upshot was going to be pogroms, total economic disaster, World War III and, finally, the collapse of western civilisation. I remain to be convinced that Donald Trump will prevail over the American Constitution any more than UKIP will win a landslide victory at the next UK General Election. So, I think both here and in the States, the motto for us all at this time should be, ‘Calm down dear …’
The bottom line is that I’m in favour of the seismic political forces now at work in the US, the UK and indeed across Europe. For almost a generation the western political classes have been creating an intolerable and ultimately unsustainable gulf between themselves and ordinary people. It’s probably appropriate today, therefore, to recall the words of a previous American President, one Abraham Lincoln who observed at Gettysburg in 1863 a new birth of freedom which he said should be marked by ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ Amen to that.
PS As an ex-serviceman myself, today I shall be out on the streets of Moray collecting for Poppy Scotland – so forgive me if I don’t respond to comments as swiftly as usual. If you feel moved so to do, by all means please donate to a good cause.
. There are several definitions of ‘liberal elite’ swirling about, but for me the liberal elite is that cohort of politically left-leaning people whose education has traditionally opened the doors to affluence and power allowing they themselves to form a managerial elite. The term liberal elitism is commonly used with the implication that the people who claim to support the rights of the working class are themselves members of the ruling classes and are, therefore, out of touch with the real needs of the people they claim to support and protect.