2007 - 2020

Trump Unmasked

American politics is strewn with dynastic legacy, from the sprawling Kennedy clan to the Clintons and Bushes and now of course the Trumps.

But if Eric, Melania, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka and Jared seem to be more akin to the Addams Family* or the (late-80s) Ceaușescu’s – they are now appearing increasingly ‘bunkered’ (and more in a Führerbunker sort of way than a Mar-a-Lago sort of way).

“We were getting ready to win this election” pleaded Donald like a toddler whose balloons had been taken down and their party cancelled to the roar of his immediate family and employees “and frankly we did win this election” he added, a tad prematurely.

Amanda Carpenter, a Republican speechwriter claims that Trump “can’t compete in everyone else’s reality, so he creates his own”. This certainly chimes with the families response to the harsh truth about election day. The Hill reported:

“Eric Trump, one of the president’s two adult sons (LOLs, Ed) , at roughly 3:30 p.m. EST tweeted, “We have won Pennsylvania!” At that time, more than a million mail-in ballots remained uncounted in a contest where the president leads by just more than 300,000 votes. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been winning mail-in votes in Pennsylvania by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, suggesting many of the remaining mail-in ballots would favor the former vice president.”

But at some point reality impinges on even the most vivid imagination and even the most narcissist fantasy. For the Trump family this is embarrassingly public as the world watches in real-time their leaders humiliation. This is particularly difficult because part of the mythology of Great Men, tyrants and fascists must be that they are impervious, superhuman, endowed with machismo. It is also difficult for his extended family for more prosaic reasons ie. they will know that there are dire legal and financial implications for them in all of this.

Chants and Incantations

The political philosopher Timothy Snyder (author of On Tyranny) has pointed out that dictators often rely on slogans that get repeated until they become “incantations”.

“Make America Great Again” – “Drain the Swap” – “Build that Wall” (and “Take Back Control” nearer to home) spring to mind. While the left intellectualise and produce manifestos and treatise the right creates the simplest slogans and spectacle.

Sometimes this shamanistic vibe is from the fringes of America’s far-right christian movement like the wonderful Paula White:

At other times it’s the call and response of the mob and the Trump rally with, most recently “Sack Fauci”, and the old favourite “Lock Her Up”. This has recently been added to with the “Stop the Count” chant.

Even Trump’s tortured speech (“I have all the best words”) and strange social media messages (“Cofveve”) has echoes from a Ur-Fascist past. As Umberto Eco puts it in his essay “How to Spot a Fascist” (1997): “All the Nazi and Fascist scholastic texts were based on poor vocabulary and elementary syntax, the aim being to limit the instruments available to complex and critical reasoning.”

In the sense that this is a battle of fact and against lies, science against mysticism, responsibility against victimhood, it is also a battle for the idea that actions have consequences. Timothy Synder has written (‘Donald Trump borrows from the old tricks of fascism’):

“Trump and some of his supporters mount a strategy of deterrence by narcissism: if you note our debts to fascism, we will up the pitch of the whining. Thus Trump can base his rhetoric on the fascist idea of us and them, lead fascist chants at rallies, encourage his supporters to use violence, praise a politician who attacked a journalist, muse that Hillary Clinton should be assassinated, denigrate the intelligence of African Americans, associate migrants with criminality, run an antisemitic advertisement, spread the Nazi trope of Jews as “globalists”, and endorse the antisemitic idea that the Jewish financier George Soros is responsible for political opposition – but he and his followers will puff chests and swell sinuses if anyone points this out. If Trump is not a fascist, this is only in the precise sense that he is not even a fascist. He strikes a fascist pose, and then issues generic palliative remarks and denies responsibility for his words and actions. But since total irresponsibility is a central part of the fascist tradition, it is perhaps best to give Trump his due credit as an innovator.”

Biden In

If it’s easy to get overwhelmed with schadenfreude in this moment, but its worth reflecting on a few home truths too.

After four years of the most appalling venal and unproductive time in office – when Trump reeked havoc and openly flirted with white supremacy – he increased his vote and almost won. After fours years of rampant failure, he’s expanded his base. Huge huge swathes of the American public voted actively for a quasi-fascist candidate in full-knowledge of what he is. That’s not cause for any celebration. These people, that phenomenon, and the forces that propel them aren’t going anywhere soon.

The idea that Biden could be labelled as a “socialist” and part of “Antifa” is so ridiculous it offers an insight into the complete collapse of political meaning in American public discourse.

Joe Biden arrives in office in the midst of a global pandemic and with a Supreme Court stacked against him, and possibly without control of the Senate. Like Obama before him, who arrived in the wake of the great financial crash, he walks into the Oval Office surrounded by crisis.

Further, the criticism of Biden is that he is a product of Corporate Capture and a consummate Washington career politician – precisely the brand that the Trump rhetoric rails against. The very dead centralism that made him palatable will also make him useless. Under this argument electing a sort of policy void leads inevitably to Nothing at All. Now the political bar is so low (it’s marked “I’m Not Trump”) that success has no meaning. Added to this, the criticism goes, the depth of the problems that Biden inherits mean that a bold and radical platform will be essential to have any impact.

Counter to this is the argument that Biden has won more votes than ever candidate in history. He has delivered the Rust Belt seats that Hillary Clinton couldn’t. He is described as a “bridge” to a new era and beneath and alongside him are Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib and other more radical and dynamic individuals. This more positive analysis points out that the Biden-Kamala transition programme is called “#BuildBackBetter” and that they are fully aware of the scale of the crisis they are faced with and the scale of the post-Trump reconstruction that is required.

Amid the chaos of this election you see an America that has a broken electoral system and is radically divided. It is witnessing a pandemic land in a country without proper healthcare and in which a rampant libertarianism undermines public health. In this desperate situation the removal of a grotesque figure may be the start of healing. And “healing” must not be a code for inertia (“No justice no peace”) as the saying goes.  But all of this will only work if forces far beyond the Democratic Party are evoked and engaged in a mass movement for change.

Trump’s incantations and voodoo have failed. It’s time for some real magic.

 

* In this scenario Rudy Giuliani, is of course Uncle Fester

 

Comments (58)

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  1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

    And yet the Donald got his marketing right; his brand of politics – a populist ‘mass movement for change’ – has been bought by almost half of the US electorate, in the largest turnout for a century. I suspect mass populism will live long after the demise of the Donald.

    1. Well maybe. He certainly did better than the pollsters thought but if he gets removed from the White House and faces a deluge of legal and financial challenges (as is highly likely) then I’m not sure he’ll be celebrating?

      1. Legerwood says:

        He’ll pardon himself before he leaves … or at least have a damn good try!

        1. He can only pardon himself for federal crimes not state ones.

          1. Legerwood says:

            Won’t stop him trying though.

      2. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

        I wonder whom the great disgruntled will elevate next; assuming the Donald does get ousted, that is.

  2. James Robertson says:

    Not sure whether to thank you or not, Mike, for putting up that clip of Paula White. That is one seriously unhinged person, although perhaps she is more calculating than crazy. Interestingly she has been denounced as an apostate, heretic and charlatan by other fundamentalist preachers.

  3. William Ross says:

    Mike

    I always find it hard to express my views about Trump because I cannot stand the man and I think that he is acting in a pathetic way. Only the states and, if necessary, the courts can declare that an electoral candidate has won. His reckless words may cause violence.

    Having said that, this election is a disaster for the left. Once again the pollsters were wrong. Trump very nearly won and outperformed his vote tally of 2016. The Democrats have failed to carry the Senate so goodbye liberal judges and the New Green Deal. The Democrats remain in control of the House of Representatives but have lost ground there. Trump increased his support across all racial segments except white men ( a tremendous irony) Against the most divisive Republican candidate in history, and in the year of arguably the greatest catastrophe since the Civil War, and after a Summer of race rage not seen since 1968, the Democrats close their only candidate who could possibly have won. This was a colourless, near 80-year-old semi – demented incompetent who was supported by the whole worldwide media class who steadfastly refused to examine his hypocrisy and rampant corruption. A man who had been a US Senator since 1972 had the cheek to accuse the US of being ” institutionally” racist. Where have you been Joe?

    If you think that this places the Democratic left in a position to advance you seriously need counselling. Trump would simply have loved to face Warren or Sanders.
    Can you imagine them winning Georgia, or Michigan? Robin MacAlpine thinks events should have seen President Sanders. https://sourcenews.scot/robin-mcalpine-the-centre-is-broken-control-did-the-the-breaking/ . It is an interesting article but laughable. What Biden did from his bunker was to guarantee the votes of Never Trumpers and moderate Democrats. Even then he only won the popular vote by between 1 to 2 % points. Unlike Hillary, he also had no third party candidate standing.

    So here goes nothing.

    Kamala will be in charge by 2024, having achieved nothing. What comes around will go around.

    William

    1. Daniel Raphael says:

      First of all, Michael, thank you–once again I am confirmed in my choice of this site as my favorite of all locales on the internet. Your analysis is superb.

      William, there is nothing “left” about–or of–the hilariously named Democratic Party. I won’t bother rehashing for those who didn’t have to endure it, the monkey spectacle of the Democratic Party primaries, which coined at the very beginning of the shambolic process, the expression “doing an Iowa.” That was really only penny ante stuff, anyway–the electoral casino in the US is so thoroughly gamed and compromised by the need for tsunamis of cash, there need be no repeat of all the dreary, obvious details. It’s worth mentioning, as some folks here may not be aware, that the Democratic Party is not a membership party at all; it is a loose assemblage of many different groupings, none of which are answerable to a rank-and-file vote by mere commoners.

      The left–by which I do not mean the Democrats–is in the best position it has been in a long while, both because it is separate from the sinkhole of progressive politics that is the Dems, and also because there are fewer illusions about what can be done by “working through the system.” For those who truly had not heard: the world, the one we presently occupy as I type these words, is on the edge of extinction. Really. It’s not the guys in the robes and long beards with the End Is Near signs who are saying so…it’s the scientists. This march towards extinction is being largely powered by inertia–the continuation of business as usual, consumption as usual, degradation of the environment and climate as usual. The culprits are well known, and the driver of it all is the “market economy,” capitalism. All this is known, easy to find the examples and documentation.

      What is less easy is what has to be done. There is going to be no nice, civil, pristeen, follow-the-procedures way, if we are to survive. Biden is both semi-senile and a lifelong tool of precisely those business interests destroying our planet. Nothing short of massive, illegal, *effective* actions that make it impossible to go on as before, will suffice. The rule of greed and stupidity–arguably, two names for the same thing–can’t allow for the inconvenience, disruption, and–horror of horrors!–loss of profit entailed. There is no happy way to avoid this, it will be uncomfortable, those who rule us are used to using force and are willing to kill at least some of us, to maintain their rule. If you’ve paid attention to what’s been going on in the streets, you know what I’m talking about; if you are Black, you don’t need to be told anything.

      Nice people want things to be nice. Well, a smile and a handshake and a business lunch is nice…but those don’t make a nice person, nice policies, or outcomes that are nice for those who want to live and have a future for their children and future generations. The not-at-all-nice prospect in view for our world is crafted by those who interests are straightforwardly selfish, willing to destroy real value–the world needed for life itself–in exchange for zeros in reports. That’s the psychosis that is capitalism: life is to be transmuted into…nothing.

      See you on the barricades.

      1. Robert Hughes says:

        Excellent Daniel , as is Mike’s post . I find it impossible to be cheered by Trump’s departure ( assuming he departs ! ) knowing that his replacement is not ,in any meaningful way , an improvement : only faint cause for optomism is , as Mike mentioned , there are some bright sparks among the up and coming Dem prospects – AOC , being possibly the brightest . It’s to be hoped that the process of getting to a position of power doesn’t have the effect of dulling that light by compromise , personal ambition , vanity and the sundry other pitfalls of career politics . We’ll need all the clear-sighted and clear-conscienced individuals we can find

      2. Arboreal Agenda says:

        What barricades?

        1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

          Remember? The Alamo? Big John Wayne?

          Barricades… Walls… It’s a recurrent theme in American folklore.

          1. Daniel Raphael says:

            Thanks, Anndrais, for recognizing and grasping the metaphor. I should hastily add that, on occasion, they have in fact assumed more than purely metaphorical substance…but that is a purely tactical consideration.

  4. w.b. robertson says:

    Aged 77, Joe looks like he is going to scrape home in an election where the Donald polls higher than last time. By 2024 the US could well have its first female black president. That would be a real achievement. Or Joe could be aged 85 if his Wall Street backers are running him for two terms.

  5. William Ross says:

    I am glad that America’s Lenin (DR) agrees with me as to the centrist and colourless nature of the Biden phenomenon. Biden says nothing, hopes nothing and believes nothing. He is an empty vessel. He’d make a great member of the European Parliament, and Andrew Wilson would love him. I do not see how Daniel can agree with Mike’s analysis that the Squad are standing by to take over from Biden when his lucidity fails.

    Hilariously yours

    William

    1. John Learmonth says:

      William,
      Its all irrelevant as according to ‘Lenin’ we’ll all soon be extinct due to ‘climate change’
      I have to laugh at the lefts double standards though criticizing Trump (rightly) for trying to overturn a legitimate vote but aren’t these the same people who spent 4 years (and counting) trying to overturn by any means the Brexit vote?
      You have to laugh
      Keep well
      John

      1. Wul says:

        I voted to “Remain”. However I accept that the UK is now taking back control and we are free from distant law makers who don’t understand or care for us.

        I have never “campaigned” for a second vote, or tried to “overturn” anything…same as millions of other UK citizens. We think it was a shite idea, but we are just “lumping” it. The next few years will tell if it was, in fact, a great idea that will allow us to punch above our weight on the world stage.

        John, you can’t blame people for starting a campaign to reverse a decision that they think was self-harming. It is their democratic right. It does not reveal “double standards”; they always thought it was a shite idea. The “leave” campaign has been proven in law to have operated illegally however.

  6. Lordmac says:

    The only noise trump will be hearing from Paula white,is the noise from his shredder

  7. Wiliam Ross says:

    John

    Thanks. I find it all hugely amusing. Trump will whine about a lawful vote but is powerless to undermine it. How different from our Remainer friends.

    If they lose they just require another vote.

    William

    1. MacNaughton says:

      You shitty little Brexiters…we just can’t get rid of you people., eh?..

      You win your rigged little referendum, and then you keep wanting more, and more and more…
      To begin with you say you’ll stay in the Single Market, but as soon as you’ve won, you backtrack on that…
      Then you say you’ll be staying in the customs union for the Good Friday Agreement, but then you tear up that Treaty too…
      You want No Deal, and once you’ve got No Deal, you’ll start a trade war with the EU..
      And there will be fisty cuffs between lorry drivers, and barnies between fishing boats.
      And it will go on and on and on…
      You’re selfish, stupid, narrow and obsessed…
      You people are just the British version of Trump…

      The only thing which is positive about Brexit for me is that if I can get another nationality, I will be able to burn my British passport, something I am really looking forward to doing…

      If BTL at Bella continues to be a place where Scottish Brexiters meet, I’m out, Mike, I’m not making any more contributions to your site.
      William Ross and John Learmouth have 90% of of the English press to go and air their stupid, petty little views…
      Why do you continue to allow people like them on here?
      You let them come on here, hijack an article about Trump, and goad and taunt and misrepresent those of us who have been living the nightmare of Brexit first hand? Boring us to death at every single chance…?

      William John, do us all a favour, go and fck yourselves…

      1. John Learmonth says:

        Presume you wont be inviting me over for a holiday in spain?
        Could do with some sunshine and i’ll cook the egg and chips xx

        1. MacNaughton says:

          Why not try fkcing off?

        2. Andrea says:

          Will those chips be made by the spuds Scottish producers are facing a fraught time for selling?
          Thanks, Brexiters.

          If ever I could find a rational, logical, and informed site explaining why Brexit is
          So Good for Britain I’d hold my nose and read it.

          Meanwhile: it’s all bubbles like a spit bug. A big, steamy, emotional cloud of nostalgia.

          The big world beyond is about to eat your chips. It is what it is – and you made it happen.
          Good for you…(sarc)

      2. Andrea says:

        Peace, MacNaughton. Remember:
        “Alas, regardless of their doom,
        The little victims play!
        No sense have they of ills to come,
        Nor care beyond to-day: ”
        Thos Gray

        Hubris is followed by Nemesis. Guaranteed.

        1. MacNaughton says:

          Thanks Andrea.

          The most striking similarity between the Brexiters and Trump is that they are serial liars. On this very thread, they claim there is a campaign underway for a second vote. There is no such campaign. As it is, as a Scot resident in Europe, I did not get a vote in the EU referendum at all.

          My European rights have been stripped away by the delusional voters of Boris Johnson’s England and their idiotic allies in Scotland like the boring old men further up the page who pollute the only website in Scotland where you can find intelligent debate with their lies and taunts and xenophobia.

          They should be barred on the grounds that they turn every single thread to their only favoured topic.

          Brexit is not an event so much as a state of mind. It features a basic British nationalist disparagement of Europe, the vague and paranoid belief that the EU is a conspiracy against them, a belief in British superiority, and an ignorance which is fathomless…

          That there is a minority in Scotland who support the madness of Brexit is true, but they are wildly over represented on these boards….

          1. Wul says:

            It is an interesting phenomenon that; people who win a referendum ( Scotland 2014 and Brexit 2016) and yet cannot stop both goading those who “lost” and yet also playing the victim.

            I’m not sure what it indicates. I feel it is something to do with a deep-seated sense that despite being on the winning side, they are, at heart, losers in some important, unfathomable sense. Otherwise, why bother? They always find things “amusing” and “hilarious”, but one feels that any time spent in their company would be depressing.

  8. Arboreal Agenda says:

    One thing I find it difficult to get my head around regardless of the politics, is how utterly shambolic the election system is in the US. It’s an embarrassing joke really that they cannot organise a vote count that doesn’t last days and days, or even weeks at this rate. The very fact some States start counting mailed-in ballots as soon as they come in, whilst others can’t do that till the polls close is a guarantor of chaos especially given the electoral college system (another failure). And then all these law suits like crying babies who won’t accept a ‘no’. And all this happens every four years with campaigning starting two years in! To the outsider it is ludicrous and makes the place a laughing stock without even mentioning Trump who has done his level best to make America shite, again. There seems nothing united about the US these days, even less so than the UK in some ways.

    1. Daniel Raphael says:

      It is a sign of breakdown, and of concomitant polarization. The two major parties–both of them storefronts, clearinghouses, for corporate interests–exist so that our ruling class (often referred to as the 1%) have a way of peaceably resolving their internecine disagreements about how best to rule the rest of us (the 99%). This used to work better, as I recall from having lived 70+ years in the US…and it isn’t for some inexplicable reason that “the culture of civility” has atrophied, but that the system in which we live, and which we endure, has grown steadily sclerotic, squeezing ever more tightly the same source of exploitation. This is the result of globalization, where capital meets the quite real physical limits of a limited world…but capitalism cannot abide limitations. Localized centers of capital, smaller nations with marketplace niches, do better with this, at least for a time, but even the relative havens (heavens?) of mildly social democratic outfits in Europe are not immune from the jarring reverberations of a world being traduced and ultimately destroyed, by the vultures of capital.

      The breakdown of civility and “fair play” in the US electoral system is just another symptom of systemic breakdown, the crucial disjunct between the demand for endless, unlimited profits on the one hand, and the needs of the human source of profits, on the other. Trump et al have striven mightily to remove every and any encumbrance or shred of civility that might inconvenience the Big Movers of capital, but even so, the damned serfs keep having untidy human needs that get in the way. Given this untidy state of affairs, the heretofore relatively genteel practice of mutually shared plunder has quickly devolved to gaming the rules, suppressing the vote, and gerrymandering electoral maps to optimize the prospects of incumbency. The two parties are increasingly at each other’s throats; Trump has added his own style of creative embellishments to the electoral casino, and as of this writing strives still to break it sufficiently to his purposes.

      Whether or not he succeeds, the process of decline will continue. The corporations destroying our air, water, and other necessities of life will not willingly stop, and there is no force other than that of the commoners themselves, willing to sufficiently exert the pressure to make them stop. That brings us back to where we began: polarization between the needs of survival today and in the future, versus the reports to the shareholders. It’s a matter of which side you’re on.

    2. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      The electoral college system is an intrinsic element of US federalism. It’s the constituent states rather than ‘the people’ that elect their president, and the system is intended to ensure that candidates appeal to a broad and diverse set of states rather than focusing only on the few U.S. cities with the highest population densities. It would be a bit like Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales having equal clout with England in electing the president of a federal Britain instead of unequal clout based on England’s numerical supremacy.

      I wouldn’t be averse to having a federal president, elected thus, instead of a majority prime minister – and, for that matter, a college-elected senate, in which each nation within the union has equal representation, rather than an unelected House of Lords. Both would serve as democratic checks against a tyranny of the majority. This federal arrangement could, of course, be replicated within the governance of each nation.

  9. Hank Rearden says:

    Pathetic propaganda piece

    1. James Mills says:

      ” Propaganda piece ” ???????????

      With a name like ‘Hank’ I am assuming ( correct me if I am wrong ) that you don’t hail from Drumchapel or Gorgie ? You are not Nigel Farage , are you ?

  10. Michael says:

    Interesting that over the four years of Trump in the White House, his support from Black, Hispanic, women and educated people has risen. And his support from white uneducated males has declined!

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Yep, but support for Trump among over-65s (the fastest-growing demographic in the US) has nose-dived since 2016, which is perhaps more significant when it comes to the arithmetic. Some US pollsters are suggesting that this demographic may be ‘fed up’ with all the ‘disruption’ and abnormalcy of the last four years, while younger demographics within all marginalised groups, like the ones you point to, may see this abnormally as a sign that the times they are a-changing.

      Perhaps America has become more conservative again and is calling time on Trump’s radical shake-up of the cosy Washington consensus.

      1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

        ‘…may see this abnormalcy as a sign…’, even, Bloody auto-correct!

  11. Alba woman says:

    Why are men in Scotland so boring and deeply nihilistic? Women’s life chances have been attacked by this guy yet not a peep of this in the majority of the writings here. Come on guys …make an effort to be the egalitarians of Scotland. The women of Scotland would greatly benefit from your eyes opening to such possibilities.

  12. William Ross says:

    Wul

    I am responding to your two short comments.

    1. I lost in 2014 and won in 2016 just like roughly half a million of your fellow Scots. These are people I would expect you to reach out to. Many of them are on the left.

    2. Whatever you may have done politically since 2016 is something you know about and I do not. What is undeniable is that assorted Remainers campaigned to the Nth degree to overturn the 2016 vote whether by trying to ignore it altogether, by attempting to sabotage it through the elite House of Lords or the UK Civil Service or the elitist European Commission ( all strange bedfellows for Bella) or by staging a second “People’s Vote” when it was found that the original “People” were so backwards, stupid and uneducated. The SNP, which can only win through a referendum, attempted to annul a valid referendum. This was absolutely mad.

    3. The Leave campaign has not been found to have acted illegally. Tell me where? Remain outspent Leave by £1.50 to every £1.00 of ours. After all, they had the City behind them and the whole British establishment.

    William

    1. MacNaughton says:

      Another blatant lie from William, who is a serial liar as you would expect from a fanatical Brexiter (and a climate change denier too as I recall it).

      The idea that Brexit is about the people against “the whole establishment” is just a total lie. What, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the RACIST LIAR currently the PM of Britain, isn’t actually part of the elite? William maintains he is on the side of the people!!! Jacob William Rees-Mogg is on the side of the people? Half of the Conservative Party of England and Wales was for all of these years really fighting the elite, instead of actually being the elite?

      The Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, these far right Brexit backing newspapers are on the side of the people against the Establishment? In terms of newspapers sold, Leave was far more represented than Remain.

      What you mean, William, when you say “establishment” is the LIBERAL establishment, and there you are right, the liberal establishment did largely back Remain. But there is another establishment far to the right of the liberal establishment, and there always has been in England.

      Aaron Banks, who bankrolled that extreme right-wing English nationalist party called UKIP, made the biggest donation in British political history to the Leave Campaign. The Leave campaign was funded by four or five leading English businessmen. It wasn’t funded by donations from the English working class in social clubs and raffles as pathological liars like you try to make out. Brexit is an extreme right-wing English nationalist project. And it always has been. And it was financed from above, not below.

      As for “democracy”, no one voted to break international law. No one voted for the UK to waive its obligations as per the Good Friday Agreement and behave like a rouge State… the mere idea of leaving the Customs Union should never have been on the table because it requires the GFA to be broken.

      And I guarantee you one thing: if you Brexiters think there is not going to be a reaction all of this, you are wrong. If you think there won’t be a price to pay for your wee fantasy control trip, you’re wrong.

      We’re talking about millions and millions of people who feel disenfranchised and totally alienated by a sectarian government which is re-drawing the blueprint of the UK in line with a minority of hardline, xenophobic and fanatical little Englanders – Alf Garnets and Basil Fawlty types … and that is going to have consequences, inevitably.

      And in terms of Britain and soft power and international influence, forget it. No one ever did much like Britain, but they did respect it as a democracy, and that is simply no longer the case anymore…

  13. William Ross says:

    MacNaughton seems to be going from Trump to Brexit to Climate Change Derangement syndrome.

    It seems as if he was unaware that the Tory Party was (prior to 2019) split over Europe since 1970 with Remain always in control. The elite institutions of the City ( I should know), half of the Tories, Labour and the Lib-Dems, Downing Street and all of the devolved governments (but not the DUP piece in NI) all the television channels without exception including the BBC spouting EU propaganda for 50 years, the House of Lords, a huge majority in the Commons, virtually all the University sector, the Church of England, all foreign governments that matter especially the US where the President actually came and participated in the Campaign (!!!! — no concern this time about US imperialism) . — all were vociferously for Remain.

    We had the Telegraph, the Mail and the Express, some businessmen and, as it turned out, the People.

    Yes, some businessmen made big donations to Leave but so what? Is there any evidence of illegality? Aaron Banks ( not a very nice man I agree) is doing pretty well in the courts. https://order-order.com/2020/11/06/breaking-cadwalladr-issues-first-apology-to-banks/

    The charge of “far-right” is not very serious from the pen of MacNaughton. Are there really more than one million far-right Scots and half a million far-right Scottish nationalists?

    It would help MacNaughton if he would actually read the Good Friday Agreement. The EU is barely mentioned in it. The idea that the mere signing of the GFA locked the UK into the iniquitous Customs Union for perpetuity is laughable. As for “breaking international law” that line came out of a spectacularly incompetent Secretary for NI ( who should never have been appointed). The EU has broken the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement by failing to negotiate the Free Trade Agreement in good faith. The EU constantly breaks international law but never worries a whit.

    MacNaughton writes this: “We’re talking about millions and millions of people who feel disenfranchised and totally alienated by a sectarian government……….”.
    MacNaughton, like Trump (and Hillary before him), cannot face the fact that his cause lost and lost repeatedly. The election of 2015 guaranteed an EU vote, the EU vote in 2016 was lost, the following election of 2017 was lost and the election of 2019 was crushingly lost. Remain is not disenfranchised, just defeated.

    William

    1. There’s a rash of criminality about Banks and Brexit dark money.

      Maybe you’ve read about it?

      What’s “Climate Change Derangement syndrome”?

    2. MacNaughton says:

      The breach of international law at present William Ross is in the Internal Market Bill which the English Tory government just passed, which contravenes the very same Withdrawal Agreement which Boris Johnson himself just negotiated and signed off on a year ago…. Johnson must hold a world record there surely for breaking his own deal in under a year.

      So, that is where the breach of international law is at present, not the Good Friday Agreement yet. That international Treaty, the GFA, which is co-signed by the USA and the EU, will be breached if Johnson creates a hard border on the island of Ireland.

      He doesn’t need to do that, he could create a hard border between GB and NI, so if he does go on to create said border on island of Ireland, no one can say he had no choice in the matter, or it’s the EU’s fault, as fanatical British nationalists like you will almost certainly argue.

      No, the racist liar Johnson has a clear choice. He can either respect the international treaty which it took twenty years of British diplomacy to negotiate and successfully ended the most bloody war in post war Europe, or he can break an international treaty and expect to face the consequences in the international courts.

      Your contribution here is quite illustrative of the point I made further up the page about Brexit being a mindset rather than an event. There is no terminus for Brexit, there is no end point to it, much less the end of this year and exiting the EU itself.

      Brexit can best be described as an English nationalist project which seeks to redefine Britain’s relationship to the rest of Europe from one which is based on cooperation and collaboration, to one which which is hostile and adversarial…

      And anything goes for you guys, I know that. Well, expect the very same in return, eh?

  14. MacNaughton says:

    It’s worth reflecting on Brexit when Trump loses later today as appears likely, and some of the truly extraordinary things we have seen a British government do over the short, nasty and brutish years of the Trump Presidency.

    We have seen a British Prime Minister, the spinsterish Theresa May, single out and pour scorn on all of those European who live in Britain (and other foreign nationals too) and those of us who live in Europe by describing us as “citizens of nowhere” in what stands as perhaps the most nasty and discriminatory attack ever launched by a British PM on fellow British citizens, and in fact, on on all of those people who do not live in their country of birth, in some occasions through no choice of their own.

    We have seen that same frazzled and demented lady chop and change her mind about what Brexit means exactly, driving the leaders of Europe around the bend, only to be humiliated two or three times in the Houses of Parliament once she had secured the outline of a deal with the EU, robbing the office of British Prime Minister of all of the gravitas and seriousness and authority it has otherwise always held.

    We have seen May’s own Foreign Secretary, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson resign because he could not accept a hard border in the Irish Sea, then as PM after he had stabbed May in the back, sign off an internationally binding Withdrawal Agreement which calls for the same border in the Irish Sea he said he could never accept, and then, not even a year later, serve himself, like Hitler did in the run up to the outbreak of WWII, with the excuse of “national sovereignty” for him to renege on an international binding Treaty, that is, the Withdrawal Agreement, and insist, after all, that there be no hard border between here and the north of Ireland.

    It is important to point out I feel that Western Democracies do not renege on internationally binding Treaties, not ever that I can think of…

    We have seen the British Government make a complete fool of itself before the eyes of the whole world, but especially Europeans.. We have seen the word of a British Prime Minister rendered meaningless, mere hot air.

    Now, if Biden wins, Johnson, being a man with no integrity and no principles at all – unless you count naked self-interest and hucksterism as principles – will run for cover and suddenly become altogether more reasonable with the EU. Most probably he will sign a deal, and then of course, inevitably, break it….

    The British govts of Theresa May and Boris Johnson have made complete fools out of the citizens of these Isles, there is no other way to put it…

    Britain has lost her reputation as a serious country. And that is something which will take generations to repair…

    1. MacNaughton says:

      Never truer rang the words of Cassio in Shakespeare’s “Othello” regarding the Tory English government….

      ” Reputation, reputation, reputation! I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial… “

      1. John Learmonth says:

        Youve got your way, enjoy your echo chamber.

  15. florian albert says:

    In 2015 and 2016, the main left of centre party in the UK and US found themselves losing elections they took it for granted they were going to win. In the aftermath, many on the left urged a move away from the centre to a more left wing position. This happened in the UK but not in the US.
    The result of this experiment is now in. In the US, the centre left party has won the most important office in the country.
    In the UK, the left in the Labour Party, is scattered and impotent. Not only have two elections been lost, to a lacklustre (that’s being mega-charitable) opponent, but the left’s leader has been suspended by his party. The left’s response to this has been . . . well, there hasn’t been one.
    Those urging the Democrats to move in the direction of Sanders or AOC would do well to look at how little substance there proved to be in the Labour Party’s move to the left in the years 2015 till 2020.

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Aye, but you can’t help but admire the Left’s indefatigable optimism in the face of perpetual electoral rejection. Kind of reminds me of Don Quixote.

      1. Robert Hughes says:

        You also can’t underestimate the sheer scale of MSM / Corporate/Dark Money forces that were deployed to prevent Corbyn winning , such was the percieved threat he represented to the Neo-Liberal Agendists . Surely this doesn’t mean we should wave the white flag and acquiesce to that agenda

        1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

          I’m never convinced by these kinds of conspiracy theory. The bottom line is that the Left keeps putting its case to the electorate, and the electorate by and large keeps on rejecting it.

          I know the Left likes to blame the media rather than the message for this and to tell itself that the electorate has been hoodwinked by ‘the Neo-Liberal Agendists’ (or any of its various cognates), but this is self-delusional.

          By all means, keep the faith and the red flag flying high; just don’t expect to win any elections soon.

          1. robert Hughes says:

            ” Conspiracy Theories ” what the hell are you talking about ? ! There was nothing conspiratorial about what happened to Corbyn , it was all out in the open , relentless sensationalist tabloid front pages , negative MSM puff pieces and aggressive interviews ( unlike the kid-glove treatment Johnson got ) , even the Israeli State financed orchestrated smear-campaign was exposed by RT . In some ways Corbyn was his own worse enemy , or maybe he made the fatal ( for him ) mistake of believing in standards of common decency , in the media and in people generally , only to be ripped apart by that same media , abetted by treacherous appeasers on his own side . He represented England’s possibly last hope of a force for radical ( y´know from the roots ) change , though maybe for you the apotheosis of upper class entitlement or the bland , don’t-rock-the-boat managerialism of Johnson and Starmer respectively is preferable .

          2. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            ‘He [Jeremy Corbyn] represented England’s possibly last hope of a force for radical ( y´know from the roots ) change…’

            And that force was roundly rejected by the electorate throughout the UK.

            Face it, there’s not much appetite for radical change at the polls. And the theory that this is because the electorate has been hoodwinked or bewitched by some evil forces is both patronising and delusional.

            You’re in denial, mate.

          3. It depends what you mean by the Left Anndrais, and where you are talking about?

          4. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            Well, florian was talking about Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez in the US and Corbyn in the UK. The ‘Left’ in the context of such a conversation, I suppose.

          5. Hmm, but Ocasio-Cortez is an incredibly successful articulate figure, the US Representative for NY-14 (Bronx & Queens) has 10 million followers on her social media account and Bernie Sanders, though unsuccessful in his bid for the candidacy arguably radicalised the Democrats and popularised and normalised socialism.

            In other countries: Spain, Greece, different parts of South America left wing parties and coalitions have been elected in recent years.

          6. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            ‘In other countries: Spain, Greece, different parts of South America left wing parties and coalitions have been elected in recent years.’

            This is true, as is the fact that most of those countries have also flirted with populism (I also suspect that the ‘Latin’ left has about it more than a whiff of ‘peronismo’). But in the context of UK and US politics, and notwithstanding the ‘radicalising’ work of the likes of Sanders and AOC within the Democrats and Labour’s swing to the left under Corbyn, ‘the bottom line is that the Left keeps putting its case to the electorate, and the electorate by and large keeps on rejecting it.’

            I also have my doubts about the authenticity of the SNP’s leftist credentials. Over my lifetime, the SNP has tended to tack whichever way the wind’s blowing in order to advance its existential cause of Independence. It’s also not above exploiting popular ressentiment too in its pursuit of that cause. In fact, ever since my days in the Young Communist League, when we used to study such things, I’ve always found a close correlation between SNP ‘philosophy’ and Uncle Juan’s ‘Three Flags’ and ‘Twenty Tenets’ from his ‘Modelo argentino para el proyecto nacional’.

  16. florian albert says:

    Bella Caledonia Editor

    AOC is undoubtedly articulate but I am not as impressed as you are by her high social media profile. Similarly, Bernie Sanders spent $204 million against $108 million for Joe Biden. He ended up with 9.7 million votes against Joe Biden’s 19 million in the primaries. There is not much evidence that Bernie Sanders did push the Democrats to the left.

    You mention successful left wing parties; a list of left wing parties failing would be much longer and would, of course, include Scotland. That is a disappointment for somebody like me, who supports social democracy, but it is the unavoidable truth and particularly worrying since it comes a decade after a major failure of capitalism.

    1. If we take the SNP as a left wing party (contestable) but your terms. They’ve been in office for 13 years, are on course for an unprecedented landslide at Holyrood and currently hold – what is it 56 out of 59 MPs at Westminster.

      On what metric is this bad?

      1. florian albert says:

        I do not regard the SNP as a remotely left wing party. It is not social democratic, as I – following Kolakowski, understand it.
        More than any other policy, its commitment to a council tax freeze won it electoral support. It was a policy which benefited the property owning middle class and – more important – entrenched the unequal economic status quo.
        Nicola Sturgeon has pretty much continued the economic policy of Alex Salmond; with Fred Goodwin being replaced by Benny Higgins as guru.

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