Tag Archives: Boris Johnson

“An overdose of freedom is lethal to a state.”

An interesting interview caught my eye in the Financial Times of 19/20th June. It was with Vladislav Surkov, who is the architect of the corrupt democracy that has kept Vladimir Putin in power for 21 years. Surkov is a consummate Kremlin backroom operator who became Putin’s chief ideologist and closest political confidant, carrying out a similar role for Putin as Dominic Cummings did for Boris Johnson or Steve Bannon for Donald Trump. In the same way that Cummings and Bannon were eventually thrown overboard by their political masters, so Surkov has just been ‘let go’ by Putin.

Surkov was a founding father of Putinism and helped to create Russia’s ‘sovereign democracy’, an ostensibly open system with a closed outcome. Elections are called, candidates campaign, votes are cast, ballots are counted and the same man wins, every single time. Its core idea is that the stability of the state is much more important than the freedom of the individual. This leads to the creation of fake opposition parties, rigid control of the media and impossible barriers to entry for political figures not approved of by Putin.

Surkov claims that Putin has not abolished democracy but has married it with the monarchical archetype of Russian governance. “This archetype is working. It is not going anywhere…it has enough freedom and enough order. An overdose of freedom is lethal to a state. Anything that is medicine can be poison. It is all about the dosage.”

This stands of course in complete opposition to ideas of societal freedoms that up until recently were espoused by most governments in the west. Whether these ideas can still hold in the current climate of pandemic-induced fear and panic is now debatable. One can imagine that governments in the west and the kind of people who meet at Davos are questioning whether our ideas of individual freedom and liberty can be sustained during a time of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly when autocratic regimes such as the governments in China and Russia are claiming that their cultures are superior to ours when dealing with current world crises. 

Could it be that our governing elites have in effect seized the opportunity of the pandemic to introduce an experiment to see how far they can go in imposing Chinese or Russian-style social controls on their populations? Have they reached Surkov’s conclusion that “an overdose of freedom is lethal to a state”?

I wonder whether the battle for our freedoms has already been lost. The extraordinary passivity displayed by my fellow citizens in the face of lockdown restrictions and curtailments of liberty, which have been aided by a covert culture of censorship and self-censorship from the media and professional institutions, has been quite unprecedented in my adult experience, which spans the last half-century. 

One can only hope that the recent exposure of Matt Hancock as not only a “totally f………  hopeless” secretary of state for health (Boris Johnson’s verdict on Hancock, as quoted by Dominic Cummings in a statement to MPs) but also a nauseating hypocrite, who was filmed groping an aide in his private office while telling everyone else that they can’t even hug their dying relatives, will by his actions have done enough to make even the most passive Brits rise up in revolt against our political masters, who preach one thing for the little people (and set the police on us or threaten us with prosecution for supposed infringements of their rules), while doing quite other things themselves. It would seem so, as Hancock has now been forced to resign, despite Boris Johnson saying that “the matter was closed.” 

One of the most powerful comments I have seen on this came from Rachel Taylor, a hospital doctor in Oxford, who tweeted: “It’s not the infidelity, it’s the sacrifices every decent person made because Matt Hancock told them to do so. You do realise we had to tell distraught family members they couldn’t see their dying loved ones in hospital? Over and over again. I can never forgive his hypocrisy.”

Sajid Javid has now been appointed as Hancock’s successor so we shall soon see whether he intends to continue with the government’s Covid restrictions. At present the government’s public case for continuing these restrictions does not stand up to any logical or evidential test. Nor does it take into account the full extent of the negative impact on people’s lives in order (it is claimed) to save the lives of a tiny number of people, many of whom might die anyway from pre-existing conditions and complicating factors, for which Covid might be the final catalyst. In other words, although Covid appears on the death certificate, it may not have been the actual cause of death. This is not a justifiable reason for removing the civil liberties of the entire population, and never could be. There must be a more moderate, middle way of dealing with this situation. 

Here are two personal examples of how our freedoms are being eroded: my wife, who is a French national, needed urgently to go to France to see her 89-year-old recently widowed mother. After having to pay £60 for a PCR test taken two days in advance of her flight, she was able to help her mother for a week before returning and being put under quarantine (not unlike house arrest) and then was subjected to three more tests during the 10 days, at a further cost of £299, and being phoned each day to check that she had not absconded. The profiteering by these private testing companies (and how did they get their contracts?) adds injury to insult, especially as the PCR test in France, taken two days before departure, was completely free.

My own experience is potentially more serious: I am now being threatened by the government with the loss of my job unless I have two Covid vaccinations within 16 weeks of new legislation to be introduced in October. I should explain that, at the farm where I work, we have a small residential care home for three adults with learning disabilities. The care home is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, and I am its registered manager. The CQC has rated our care home as ‘Good’ in all five of its inspection categories and I believe that our model of care, which provides a family-style setting on a working farm, is recognised as offering an exceptional quality of life for our residents. 

In accord with their families’ wishes, our three residents have each had both jabs of the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine, and so can be considered safe. They also have one PCR test each week. Our staff have three tests a week (1 PCR test and 2 lateral flow device tests), so we know that we, too, are free from infection and that our residents are safe. My strong personal conviction is that I do not wish to have the experimental Covid jabs on offer (from Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford Astra Zeneca) until there is more data and all four phases of the vaccine trials have been completed (we are currently in Phase 3). This conviction of mine is only reinforced by the hitherto-suppressed stories that are beginning to emerge of unexplained deaths and serious illnesses following the Covid-19 vaccinations (examples here and here).

I also believe that to insist I have the vaccine or lose my job is to go against the principle of ‘informed consent’ prior to vaccination which is enshrined in UK law and international human rights law. These vaccines were introduced under emergency conditions to deal with the pandemic. It would normally take 10 to 15 years to develop a vaccine from inception to licencing, yet the Covid-19 vaccines data was collected over two months. I cannot be informed properly about possible adverse consequences of these vaccines until all 4 phases of these trials have been completed. To threaten me with the loss of my job before all the trial data is available is fundamentally unjust, and unworthy of a free country. 

For any government minister to change my terms and conditions of employment and thus require me to have the vaccination or face the sack is not to get my informed consent but to obtain consent by coercion. And this from the government which decided to send elderly NHS patients back to the care homes without testing them for Covid-19 “so as not to overwhelm the NHS” and thus condemned many tens of thousands of other care home residents to death. 

Although most political leaders and those powerful people who consider themselves ‘masters of the universe’ haven’t yet got the true message of our times, I wish to finish on a more uplifting note and quote instead the ‘masters of wisdom’, as channelled by a dear friend, Annie Davison. I commend these thoughts to any politician who is tempted to tell the rest of us to “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“The most important thing for us right now is to know and recognise that all humanity is spiritual in origin. Therefore, all humanity is equal in the eyes of universal understanding. Throughout its history, humanity has been unable to perceive equality. Until now, life has been about fight and flight, about dominance and servility. About reaching for the stars no matter whom you tread on along the way.”

“But over these last years, more and more people have recognised that there is more to their inner world than this mighty, greedy, trampling attitude that has evolved to its zenith. Slowly but surely, they have understood, worked hard, and moved through the history mankind has created – life after life, death after death.”

“They have reached the knowledge that life itself can be spiritualised and that if you treat your life gently, with intention, with respect, then you can treat others gently with respect. Life itself, on earth, is where life can be lived within a spiritualised worldview.” (…)

“It is as simple as that. All beings are equal.”

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Filed under Covid-19 pandemic

Covid-19, world morality and the culture of safety at any cost

Although I wasn’t a Waldorf pupil, my primary school was child-centred enough not to interfere with my unconscious assumption that “the whole world is moral”, to use Rudolf Steiner’s words.  For whatever reason, I was able to grow up as a child in the 1950s believing that those who had charge over our lives, such as parents, teachers, MPs and ministers, policemen, doctors and other public servants were, on the whole, good people working for the benefit and general welfare of others. Looking back to a time when I was younger and less disillusioned, I think I had a fairly positive view of the role of government and officialdom.

In the ninth lecture of Study of Man, Steiner says: “When human beings leave the world of spirit and soul and clothe themselves in a body, what do they actually want? They want to realise in the physical world the previous things they experienced in the spirit. Human beings before the change of teeth are, in a manner of speaking, still wholly focused on the past. Human beings are still filled with the devotion which they develop in the spiritual world. (…) This basic mood is actually a very lovely one. It is one which proceeds from the assumption, the unconscious assumption: the whole world is moral.”

Although we all know that this is not how the world actually is, it is vital for the future development of the child that in their early years their unconscious assumption that the world is beautiful, good and true should not be destroyed. I’ve been reflecting on all of this during the Covid-19 crisis, when the actions of government ministers have been causing me more and more disquiet. For one of my generation and political views, it has been a dispiriting experience to find myself tending to agree with Ronald Reagan that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ “. 

I’m also disappointed to see the readiness with which most people have gone along with every new restriction, imposition and removal of an established civil liberty by the government. There are two sides to this, of course. During this crisis, we have seen some of the very best of human nature. I’m a care home manager and when I took our residents to get their jabs at a medical centre in Crowborough, there was a long but good-natured queue of people waiting patiently in line. There were friendly and helpful volunteers shepherding the queue, and the doctors and nurses inside the clinic were just lovely with our residents, who were understandably nervous beforehand, by reassuring them and administering the injection so that none of them felt a thing. All in all, this was the British at their best and it occurred to me that there must have been a simiIar national spirit in people during the Second World War. 

On the other side, I don’t think one has to be paranoid to start wondering whether there is another agenda behind all of this. By now it is clear that all the vaccinations, mask-wearing, social distancing and staying at home are not that effective in protecting us from Covid-19 and therefore most of the restrictions will have to stay in place. Scientists are saying that while vaccines are having a major impact by cutting illness and deaths, they are not effective enough to allow a return to normal social mixing without the risk of “a big epidemic”. Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said on 5th April: “I don’t think there’s any surprise that it [Covid] is still with us now, nor is it going to magically disappear over the next few months. This virus will be with us for the foreseeable future. We will have significant problems with Covid for the foreseeable future, and I don’t think we should pretend otherwise.” 

And on Tuesday 13th April, Boris Johnson told Sky News: “The (Covid) numbers are down – of infections and hospitalisations and deaths. But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers – in hospitalisations and in deaths and infections – has not been achieved by the vaccination programme (my emphasis). People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing”. 

So, why is Boris all of a sudden playing down the role of vaccination in dealing with Covid?  If it’s the case that, even though you have had your jabs, it will not make much difference – what are they for? You still have to wear a mask in public and practice ‘social distancing’ and for months to come, you may not be able to travel abroad, or even go very far within the UK. We don’t know whether the jabs will reduce transmissibility of the virus or whether they will protect you against new variants – but we do know that it is likely you will now have to have additional jabs at regular intervals.  Pfizer’s chief has just said that people will probably require a yearly Covid booster shot. Oxford Biomedica, which is manufacturing the Astra Zeneca jab in this country, is expecting to earn over £50 million pounds this year from the jab. 

Back in December 2020, I wrote a piece about Coercion and the Covid-19 Vaccines, in which I argued that we were about to see the beginnings of a campaign that would threaten to make life so difficult for anyone who didn’t agree to be vaccinated that it amounted to making it compulsory. Events since have not proved me wrong.

There was a time, before he became prime minister, when Boris Johnson presented himself as a believer in civil liberties. This is what he wrote in his Daily Telegraph column in 2004, when the then Labour government was thinking of introducing ID cards: 

“If I am ever asked, on the streets of London, or in any other venue, public or private, to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and when I am simply ambling along and breathing God’s fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it (…) and add, in the words of Barry Goldwater, that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice, and that I really don’t know what I dislike most about these cards. There is the cost; (…) There is the loss of liberty, and the creepy reality that the state will use these cards – doubtless with the best possible intentions – to store all manner of detail about us, our habits, what benefits we may claim, and so on.”

What a difference political power and a pandemic can make to basic principles! But it’s been obvious for a long time to anyone who has observed Boris Johnson’s career and general behaviour that he has no basic principles, other than to do in all circumstances whatever will lead to his personal advantage. 

Now in 2021 the government, of which he is prime minister, is proposing not only vaccine passports (ID cards by another name) but also a “UK Health Security Agency”. The idea behind it is that to control the circulation of viruses, the government needs to control what people are allowed to do. Our rights to freedom of assembly, of protest, to send our children to school, to go abroad, to visit the pub etc are now seen by the government as privileges which they can remove or restore as they see fit. One idea apparently being seriously considered in Whitehall is that each of us will have to send in our temperature every day using the NHS app.

I have some skin in this game, as the Americans say. The government is planning to legislate to make it illegal to work in a care home if you have not had the vaccination – but I want to wait for further analysis about possible side effects from these experimental vaccines before deciding whether or not to have one. 

Critics will scoff at my use of the term ‘experimental’ and point to the NHS statement: “The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.” 

According to the scientific technical writer, Mark Pickles: “There are many things wrong with this NHS statement. It is misleading at best. The medicines are not licensed. The medicines are not approved (certainly not according to the FDA in America, who in granting ‘emergency authorisation’ for three vaccines tell us ‘There is no US Food and Drug Administration approved vaccine to prevent Covid-19’, and the clinical trials are still in progress. We are now in the long-term trials, or Phase 3 of four phases, following which the medicine is assessed and either licensed or revoked.” 

What’s more, “every letter of authorisation from the FDA to Janssen BioTech, to Moderna TX and to Pfizer Inc for the Covid-19 vaccines describes each product as: ‘an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication.’ “ 

The medical term ‘investigational’ as used by the health authorities is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as follows: 

“Investigational [medical]: relating to or being a drug or medical procedure that is not approved for general use but is under investigation in clinical trials regarding its safety and efficacy.” 

To my mind, ‘investigational’ means that these vaccines are still experimental. This also means that everyone who has had one of these vaccines has been unwittingly taking part in the biggest trial ever known in the history of medicine – and it’s worth remembering that all of the companies making these vaccines have been granted blanket immunity by government from litigation arising from unforeseen side effects.

This creeping authoritarianism is to my mind quite sinister. Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, whose inaccurate projections about the pandemic (forecasts of 250,000 deaths in the UK and 1.2 million in the US) have been relied on by several governments to shape their response, made some interesting comments during an interview with Tom Whipple of The Times: 

“I think people’s sense of what is possible in terms of control changed quite dramatically between January and March (2020),” Professor Ferguson says. When SAGE (the UK government’s Scientific and Advisory Group) observed the ‘innovative intervention’ out of China, of locking entire communities down and not permitting them to leave their homes, they initially presumed it would not be an available option in a liberal Western democracy. ‘It’s a communist one-party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.’ ” 

It seems from Ferguson’s comments that the UK government is taking lessons in social control from the Chinese Communist Party and applying them to a so-far docile population at home, with success beyond their expectations. But is it just paranoia on my part to draw the conclusion that Boris Johnson and his bunch of political pygmies are simply the servants seeking to enforce a larger agenda emerging from those who regard themselves as our global masters?

Here it is instructive to listen to Edward Snowden. Wikipedia tells us that Snowden is the “former computer intelligence consultant who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.”

I have a great deal of respect for Snowden, his bravery and his sense of outrage at the immorality of many covert government operations. I think that Rudolf Steiner would also have applauded Snowden for revealing to us the brutal reality and lies behind so much government rhetoric. I urge you to listen to him in this short YouTube video, where he is speaking about coronavirus and the effect on our freedoms, and in which he suggests that the pandemic is being used to put in place controls on populations throughout the world – and that governments will find these controls very useful and want to make them permanent.

In the end, it comes down to a question of trust. We all know about Boris Johnson’s track record with truth, so I suspect that most of us will not be reassured when we hear him declare his confidence in the AstraZeneca or any other vaccine. These are fearfully complex questions that only an epidemiologist or virologist can pronounce on with any authority, so some of us will want to turn instead to scientists for reassurance. But can we trust the scientists and doctors, many of whom derive their funding from the giant pharmaceutical corporations? I don’t think so, which is why I want to see two or three years more data from the ongoing clinical trials before I decide whether to have the jab. In the meantime, I and my care home colleagues are having three tests a week to show that we are free from infection. It is fundamentally immoral for any government to seek to coerce me through the threat of unemployment, loss of the right to travel etc, into a premature decision on the matter of vaccination.

I am saddened to have lost my childhood assumption that the world is beautiful, good and true because, in my heart of hearts, I think that this is how the world is one day meant to be. At this time, however, as we become more and more aware of the impending incarnation of the being whom Christ called “the Ruler of this World”, it is clearly unrealistic to suppose that governments, leaders and the rest of us are not going to be unconsciously or otherwise influenced in myriad negative ways by what is coming towards us. Our only option is to become as aware, as far as possible, of the reality behind world phenomena; and in Rudolf Steiner’s words, “it is humanity’s task in this period to come to grips with evil as an impulse in the evolution of the world”. 

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Filed under Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic, Evil

Trump, Clinton and Brexit plus,plus,plus

In my post of March 3rd 2016 I referred, rather rudely, to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as “the arsecheeks of Ahriman.” The implication was that the 2016 USA presidential election represented a Hobson’s Choice (ie a non-choice or no choice at all) between two routes to a place you really wouldn’t want to go to.

Upon further reflection, I’m not sure that this was entirely fair. The defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump could have at least one upside – it could signal the end of neo-liberalism, that pernicious doctrine that came in during the 1980s and 90s, signed up to by Reagan, Clinton, Thatcher, Bush, Blair etc and which marked a decisive end to the post-Second World War social contract that I had grown up with, and rather liked. Neo-liberalism brought us privatisation, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and market “solutions” to problems we didn’t realise we had, and the ever-increasing enrichment of the super-wealthy 1% (who lied that this was necessary because it would lead wealth to trickle down to the rest of us). It also brought us the financial meltdown of 2007/8 and the realisation that as the banks were bailed out and hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes, it would be the taxpayer who paid the price of their behaviour.

What neo-liberalism also led to, for most of us, was a stagnation or decline in our incomes and living standards and deterioration in our public services. In the USA and much of the Western world, the basic morality behind the idea that ‘if you work hard, you get ahead’ has broken down, because people’s wages and salaries have not kept pace with rising prices, and many of their jobs have disappeared. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the USA, the hourly wage of blue-collar workers doubled from the 1940s to the 1970s, but has flat-lined ever since then. At the same time, the free movement of capital has allowed factory jobs to be lost to poorer countries abroad. Since 2000, the real median wage in the USA is down by 14% and the real low wage is down by an incredible 26%.

This wage stagnation took place during the sixteen-year period covering the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, so it became clear to voters that both Republican and Democrat parties were going along with it; and neither party was concerned enough to do something to reverse the trend. But Donald Trump, a man described by his son as a “blue-collar worker with a bank balance,” had noticed what was going on and spotted an opportunity. The image Trump likes to project is that of a man surrounded by bling and with a trophy wife, who eats fast food in front of a TV screen tuned to Fox News – the epitome of the American dream for a certain demographic. For white, working-class voters, Trump represents a break with the cosy arrangements between big business, big banks, big media and big politics that had shut them out from the dream and put them economically and culturally in retreat. The irony of looking to a billionaire with inherited wealth to rescue them from their predicament was presumably less of a factor than their hatred for the Washington machine-politicians who had brought them to such a pass.

These people suspected that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have continued the same old policies with the same old corrupt arrangements with big business and lobbyists, while failing to deal with issues such as illegal immigration which had done so much to undermine their own living standards. Why on earth would they vote for four more years of that?

How could Clinton offer hope when she helped create this situation in the first place? In fact, she systematically destroyed the candidacy of Bernie Sanders – the only politician in the US who really spoke to the anger of ordinary voters. This is why her Wall Street connections and her former position as a Walmart board member were so deeply resented. Trump may be a boorish billionaire, but politically and economically, he is less responsible than Clinton for what has happened. When he said, “Make America great again”, it resonated. When Clinton replied, “America is already great”, it seemed like a sick joke by someone from the elite to whom neo-liberalism had been kind.

From my perspective here in the UK, Hillary Clinton was, just like Barack Obama, fully signed up to the GMO/Monsanto agenda; she would have pushed for TTIP to be implemented; she would have put post-Brexit Britain at the back of a 10-year queue for a trade deal; and she would probably have got into a war with Russia. It might have been nice to have had a woman in the White House but that’s about the best thing you could say for Hillary – no-one was going to vote for her with any real enthusiasm, other than that she wasn’t Trump. So I can’t say I’m dismayed that her presidential bid has crashed in flames and the Clinton political dynasty has come to an end.

Now, that is not to say that I’m happy about the election of President Trump, either – far from it. What’s more, it seems very likely that he is bound to disappoint his supporters, who may believe that his promises should be taken literally (do they really expect a wall along the Mexican border paid for by the Mexicans, a total ban on Muslims entering the USA, Hillary Clinton in a jail cell, etc?). Their rage when he fails to deliver is going to be awesome to behold. The victory speech he gave after Clinton had conceded the result is a sign of compromises to come – instead of calling her “crooked Hillary” as he had done throughout the campaign, he called her “Secretary Clinton”, congratulated her on a very hard-fought campaign and said: “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”  His supporters, who just an hour earlier had booed loudly when her picture flashed up on the giant TV screens and chanted “Lock her up! Lock her up!” must have been puzzled by this sudden change of tone.

But, again from my UK perspective, with Trump there are going to be some moments to treasure. What, for example, will Boris Johnson (our new foreign secretary), say to excuse himself when he meets the new president? This is what Boris said in December 2015, as Mayor of London: “Donald Trump’s ill-informed comments (that there were no-go areas in London as a result of Muslim terrorism) are complete and utter nonsense. I would welcome the opportunity to show Mr Trump first-hand some of the excellent work our police officers do every day in local neighbourhoods throughout our city. Crime has been falling steadily in both London and New York – and the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” And here’s our former prime minister, David Cameron, also in December 2015: “I think his (Trump’s) remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong. If he came to visit our country I think he would unite us all against him.” And what about Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, who had previously stripped Trump of his role as an ambassador for Scottish businesses on the world stage after he had called for Muslims to be banned from the US, and who was vocal in her support for Hillary Clinton? What on earth will she find to say to excuse herself when Trump next comes to Scotland to visit the birthplace of his mother and inspect his two golf course businesses?  Oh, to be a fly on the wall when that meeting happens!

One of the few British political figures to have backed Trump is Nigel Farage, the man who beyond any other forced David Cameron into offering the Brexit referendum, and who said on November 9th: “Today, the establishment is in deep shock. Even more so than after Brexit. What we are witnessing is the end of a period of big business and big politics controlling our lives. Voters across the Western world want nation state democracy, proper border controls and to be in charge of their own lives.”

Of course, Farage is correct that there are several resonances between the situations in Britain and the USA. In Britain, those people who voted Remain didn’t do so out of any great love for the European Union (I’m not the only one who regards it as neo-liberal and anti-democratic), but because they liked the idea of having a passport allowing them to live and work anywhere in Europe. In the USA, I suspect most Clinton voters found it easier to find reasons to hate Trump than they did to cast a positive vote for Hillary.

As James Meek wrote in the LRB Blog:

“There are many similarities between the Brexit vote and Trump’s win. The reliance for victory on white voters without a college education, fear of immigration, globalisation being blamed for mine and factory closures, hostility towards data-based arguments, the breakdown of the distinction between ‘belief’ and ‘conclusion’, the internet’s power to sort the grain of pleasing lies from the chaff of displeasing facts, the sense of there being a systematic programme of rules and interventions devised by a small, remote, powerful elite that polices everyday speech, destroys symbols of tradition, ignores or patronises ‘real’, ‘ordinary’ people, and has contempt for popular narratives of how the nation came to be.”

And so it came about that a billionaire who has been characterised as a bigot, braggart, demagogue, idiot, liar, misogynist, narcissist, racist, sexual predator and sociopath was nevertheless chosen to become the 45th President of the USA.

Sixteen years earlier, The Simpsons predicted that Trump would become leader of the free world. In an episode, entitled ‘Bart To The Future’, broadcast in early 2000, Lisa Simpson, who had just been elected President in succession to Donald Trump, is pictured sitting in the Oval Office surrounded by advisers. “We’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump,” she says. Writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter: “It was a warning to America. And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane. What we needed was for Lisa to have problems that were beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that’s why we had Trump be president before her.”

Last month, the creator of the show, Matt Groening, told The Guardian : “We predicted that he would be president back in 2000 – but (Trump) was of course the most absurd placeholder joke name that we could think of at the time, and that’s still true. It’s beyond satire.”

Beyond satire it may be, but it has just happened. An era is ending and a new one is taking form. Despair, anguish, incredulity are expressions of grief for the lost era. But apart from the Blairites, Bushites, Clintonites and Goldman Sachs parasites who have enriched themselves, who else will really mourn the loss of the neo-liberal period?

This new era of politics, with Trump at its head, will probably be ugly. What it might mean for the future of NATO and the Baltic states, for European defence budgets, for the European Union, for the Paris climate change agreement, for Mexicans or Muslims, for relations with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea etc, for gun control and healthcare in the USA – who at this stage can say? What it might mean from an anthroposophical point of view, however, I will try to piece together in my next post.

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Filed under Brexit, Donald Trump, European Union, Hillary Clinton, Neo-liberalism