Friday, January 27, 2017

The misjudgment of Theresa May

It has been a long hiatus from blogging.

Partly it was that I have had little time and less inclination to comment of a series of utterly catastrophic events for Western values. I began to feel that the fear of the implosion of the West that this blog was founded to warn against had actually happened. The withdrawal of the UK from Europe and the advent- one can hardly say that losing by three million votes was an election- of Donald Trump in the United States are two malign sides of the same discredited coin. A spectacular failure of confidence and a betrayal of what open societies are supposed to stand for.

In ancient Rome, a victorious general could be granted a Triumph- a truly extravagant ceremony where the Triumphator was promoted for one day above all mortal Romans. In the midst of this adulation a slave would travel with the hero saying: "Respice post te. Hominem te momento" (Look [to the time] after you [are gone]. Remember you are only a man. This "momento mori" has been much on my mind as I have watched the Conservative Brexiteers, who won only by the narrowest of margins and the new Trump administration, which lost the popular vote by over three million votes, attempt to reshape the politics of their respective countries as though they had an overwhelming mandate to do so.

Trump and the Tories are seeking massive and potentially hugely destructive changes in the social, political and economic order, but they are failing so utterly to conciliate with any other forces in society that it now seems a foregone conclusion that things cannot turn out as they predict. Donald Trump is already the most unpopular incoming President since records of these things began.

The Tories by seeking a complete break with Europe are flying in the face of the majority of what even the Leave voters expected. It will be extraordinary disruptive and is undermining the power of the UK on a daily basis. We are insulting our friends and gratifying our enemies, such as Vladimir Putin. It is a monstrous act of economic self harm and political vandalism. In the midst of these catastrophic decisions, Theresa May has gone to Washington to court the crass and vulgar Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump is held in contempt by the vast majority of the British people: if he is the least popular incoming President among Americans, he is positively despised by the Brits. As ever more resistance gathers in the States to the erratic and odious Mr. Trump, Theresa May has decided to put all our eggs in an American trade basket.

It will not work and it will make the Conservatives astonishingly unpopular. At the moment it is only the inept and useless Labour party that is sustaining the poll ratings of the Tories. As soon as a viable alternative is put forward, I predict that support for the Tories will all but collapse. Increasingly I am reminded that in Canada both the Conservatives and the Liberals were virtually wiped out at different times, only to recover power- in the case of the Liberals at the last election from a pretty deep third place. If Brexit ends as the disaster that it seems inevitable that it will, then I could see deep changes emerging- including not merely the rehabilitation of the Liberal Democrats, but quite possibly their return to power, even as the largest party. 

If the choice is humiliating subservience to America or partnership with Europe, we will recoil from Trump. So to the Brexiteers I say: remember you too will die.