Updated: Jul 14, 2018
Since 2016 the world has been in the grip of (my opinion!) a regressive mentality. Epitomized by the election of Trump in the USA, and Brexit in the UK ... a populist mentality emerged that spread to different countries. In almost all countries that this mentality touched, the populist sentiment that emerged was anti-immigrant.
So how did this situation come about? In my opinion it was precipitated by the growing gap between the 'haves' and have 'nots', or to be more scientific, the ever growing wealth/ income gap (chasm). An ever growing population, both in percentages and in numbers, somehow got left behind as the wealth that was building up from the spread of globalism and its trade was hoarded by the few and made the poor more aware of their condition. Add to this the mentality of the conservatives/ Republicans that tried to squeeze the economy even more by cutting back on what they considered to be waste, socialism and public expenditure and you have a cauldron of resentment just waiting to overflow.
As resentment grew, scapegoats were needed. So somebody shouts, "its the immigrants" and that's it. Entire populations were after the wrong target, like whippets after the electric hare. Just who shouted "Its the immigrants" or "Its the EU" is not really certain, but in my opinion this emphasizes once again the weakness of democracy. How dare you? I hear you cry. We don't believe in socialist ideas. We all know the weakness of communism and socialism, and preach it religiously, until it comes time to go to the hospital or the poor need shelters of course.
But what about capitalism and its problems? What about democracy and its problems? We have elevated these terms so high that now it is considered insulting if anyone so much as questions this philosophy. So what is the solution? This is a question for another day but to cut the story short, I would what claim we need is not democracy but "qualified participation". Allow me to explain. In most Western democracies, you are born with certain rights, among them being that on reaching the age of 18 you may register to vote and even stand for election, either locally or nationally.
But we are not born with all our rights. You may not, for example, simply get in a car and drive ... or put a sign on your door and call yourself a doctor and start practicing. No, you need to qualify and if you succeed in passing the necessary exams you are awarded a certificate that qualifies you. The reason is obvious, such activities are too dangerous to be practiced by the uninitiated.
A doctor holds the life of his patient in his hands, as indeed does the bus or taxi driver. So what we are really saying is that political leadership, where a person holds the lives of millions in their hands, is such an unskilled job that any Tom, Dick or Harriet can do it, as long as they have the gift of the Gab. We've all met them before. The barrow boy that charms a passing housewife and sells her an extra kilo or two of potatoes more than she intended to buy. Is that really the best way we have to run a country?
In the Midlands, a middle-aged man, a third generation factory worker, loses his job after working almost all his adult life. Along comes, Nigel Silver-tongue and says, its the EU or the Mexicans that did it, and suddenly everybody wants Nigel to run the country. Who cares what he studied, or for that matter whether or not he is orange, a thief, wears a toupee or can even sign his own name. Is that really the best we can do?
If that sounds patronizing so be it! Democracy as espoused in the west, sounds wonderful, and like many other philosophies, if it didn't affect me personally then I would simply ignore it. I don't mind if somebody is Christian of Muslim, black, white or brown, male or female. I don't even care if they are educated or not, speak my language or have medical degree. I have always treated people equally. If I need a plumber or carpenter I ask around, I investigate their experience and prices and decide. But when they stand in front of me and tell me this is what we will all do, I will ask WHY?
I am not refusing a collective decision, but I simply need to know the reason, and if the answer is:
- "because we the people said so, then I will answer,"
- "like hell it is!"
But events are like a pendulum and eventually things swing back. In the UK, the sheer resistance from some people and the difficulty of execution is already changing things. I have always maintained that as things stand only the people in a second referendum will be able to solve Brexit, and I stand by that opinion. Even skeptics like Corbyn and May will eventually be forced to accept the inevitable simply to survive (politically speaking!)
In America, do you really think that electing an ignorant racist and sexist moron (with incestuous intentions) as President of the richest and most powerful country in the world would simply be accepted because it was done democratically (assuming he is not a Russian agent)?
He bought himself the opportunity to prove himself, but what he is and how he thinks are already beginning to impact even his most ardent supporters. His trade wars are impacting them because the opponents are targeting them. His splitting up of families at the border are too much even for the most fanatical of his own supporters, not unlike May and the Windrush scandal in the UK.
As I said, the pendulum is swinging back, and in the UK even those opposed to immigration are realizing that we need them and that they pay their own way. In Europe, when pressed, the leaders are beginning to respond, and immigration as indeed the Euro, are high on their list of priorities. These will be solved ... and everything will be fine and dandy once again!