Brexit and Trump became fact in 2016, undeniable if horrifying beacons of democracy-in-action as Britain and America polled their respective adult electorates. All ages. All affiliations. All by secret ballot. Predictions proved way off mark and expectations were confounded on both sides of Atlantic. Many great and celebrated figures from Bowie to Ronnie Corbett, Prince to Burt Kwuok, Leonard Cohen to Victoria Wood: all shuffled off this mortal coil rather than live in the world we seem hell bent on creating.
USELESS BUT BAFFLING OBSERVATIONS
But take out all those who voted in the 1972 referendum on Britain’s EEC membership (i.e.the elderly) and the 2016 referendum would’ve resulted in “remain” winning.
Take out of the American electorate those statistically unlikely to live to the end of a two-term Trump presidency (i.e. the elderly again) and Hilary Clinton takes the victory.
In short, those least affected by what has become an unequivocal expression of prejudice, parochialism and endemic misogyny are the very people whose vote has imposed it. This demographic falls off the map soon. It’s an ironic legacy for the poor sods doomed to live and work in its thrall. Why the fuck would they do this?
LIBERALISM AND COUNTER-CULTURE FAILED TO WIN OLD HEARTS AND MINDS
Liberal counter-culture was castrated in the 70s. It was shown up as the loud and colourful and ultimately minority phenomenon it remains by landslide Thatcher and Reagan victories in the 1980s. Blair and Obama’s erudite centrism scarcely challenged the increasingly entrenched hegemony of corporate capitalism, media coercion and profit-first individual avarice.
What matters most, though, is an uncomfortable fact that’s become clear by late 2016: it is fundamentally fascist thinking that’s informing voters, especially as they get older and it seems inevitably more misanthropic. This unexpectedly fascist predisposition is the greatest resource of the corporate state: a volunteer army of apologists, guided by its pompous prejudice and driven by its worst instincts to vote against its best interests.
Is this inevitable? What’s the solution? The liberal media mistakenly thought fact, explanation, satire, ridicule, even disbelief would’ve amounted to a persuasive congregation of influence, to counter the right wing and its quietly apolitical would-be conscript millions. Wrong!
If anything liberal media calcified a blind contrariness in the psyche of the electorate, well-placed mouthpieces appropriating anti-establishment rhetoric that’s in fact merely masking a conditioned subservience, scapegoating comicstrip stereotypes like refugee hordes and Eastern European labourers while rejecting genuine electoral reform (e.g. alternative vote referendum).
BRITAIN MADE THE USA OUT OF FREEDOM AND GREED
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
The sad truth of the last twenty years in the United Kingdom has been an excellent example of modern democracy, inclusive of a whole spectrum of citizens young and old.
We’ve gotten what we voted for!
Thatcherite greed got softened by Blair’s profit-first trickledown socialism, an Olympics, toe in the water Conservatism soon becoming unclegged and finally in summer 2016 the majority of the country cast their vote against the EU; and against reality.
Those living outside the cosmopolitan cities had become the British equivalent of the American heartland i.e. crackers living a fantasy of God and the Flag (or in the UK, Queen and Country). In the past these docile hordes, in the UK, had the good manners to keep mostly quiet and happily entertained on an ouroborous diet of 50 year old soap operas and demented reality shows. No second amendment entitlement or simpleton moral fascism animated the British mob though perhaps it was the public votes on Britain’s Got Talent partly responsible for creating a sense of self-worth in the democratic process.
In any case, 2016 was a perfect storm of sorts and across the countryside and the villages and the small dead-end towns, the white anglos lapped up the anti-Muslim propaganda and the impossible claims (in the face of economic reality) of the burden the EU represented to the downtrodden Briton. Small wonder they cried “fuck the EU [and the darkies]” and overbore the cities and the Scots and the Irish to bring in a win for Brexit.
Funnily enough, having navigated the A.V. reform vote and in so doing declined the offer of more freedom and more democracy, the UK has had unelected Prime Ministers leading the country twice of the four PMs this century.
In any case, we can decry the stupidity of the little Englanders, but democracy is democracy, one man (or woman) one vote (so long as you were born British) and the referendum result was a fair reflection of the country as a whole. Who can say this isn’t a society in which the public has its say? It is. The most important affair of state in British history since World War 2 has been defined by democratic universal-ish suffrage.
That’s the rub.
BLAME IS IRRELEVANT – THE FIGHTBACK MUST BE PRO-ACTIVE AND INCLUSIVE
This admission must redefine the role and voice of current anti-fascist anti-fuckwit counter culture. The real enemies in the UK are now aligned with the long game enemies in the US: entrenched vested interests – corporate power – carpetbaggers and looters whose disdain for the lower classes will spit vitriol at immigrants in public and legislate against the poor in private.
Britain and America ARE the nations the majority of their populations have votes but no understanding or responsibility for the future their votes bring about. A fightback against this must be the defining task of each liberal, centrist, humane leftist, social democrat or humanitarian individual. All must act in ways that aren’t simply pissing into the wind or preaching to their own choir. Eschew also that tempting innoculation against contemporary stupidity: smug self-congratulation! It has served you most barbarously to date.
My conviction is the AV vote is a better exemplar of the failure of progressive thinkers than the more cartoon-confusion choice of Trump or Brexit. In reality, the latter proved a close run affair whereas the former was a cakewalk, a snow job collusion of media and vested interests that’s been splendidly unquestioned since.
Electoral reform, safely mooted today now it’s not going to happen, should by right have been the most important and transforming vote of the century. The political establishment was silently soiling itself for a bit but the cynical fat cats needn’t have worried. The confused but ironically convicted public voted to fuck themselves over once again; then promptly forgot the whole thing.