Earlier this year I said that my worse case scenario was the UK leaving the EU and Trump winning the Presidency... Apparently, the universe took that as 'cosmic ordering', which I didn't intend at all.
Hyperbolic egotistical silliness aside, it does feel as if this year has been a landslide into terrifying territory on both sides of the Atlantic. We're seeing the rise of the political Right, a shift away from Globalisation and the reassertion of the idea of national identity - despite or because of the growth of monocultural ideals that's been directed through more diversity, the growth of international capitalism and technology. Perhaps the trend towards this has been going on for a while, gathering pace under the radar until finally, it has burst out into the open. The Credit Crunch in 2008 and economic policies from the last sixteen years have hollowed out both the UK and the USA - though arguably on this side of the puddle it's a legacy that goes back to, oh, well a long time (the debate about where the British economy went off the rails is a whole 'nother debate). It does feel as if both results have been the resurgence of the people who have been neglected, even if it also feels as if they don't actually know what they're talking about and as if, as I've said elsewhere, the world has grown too complex to fully comprehend - which is not helped by the internet's polarising effects...
I'm going to advance a bit of a theory of mine, which I don't think I've advanced on here before, This is the start of the 21st Century in anyway that matters. The last 16 years has been a hangover of the last century, continuing the trends of the 20th Century and forming a sort of period of recovery from the Millennium. Just as it could be argued that the First World War was the real start of the last century, because it brought Socialism, Communism and mass democracy onto the table across the world. It was the start of what we understand the state of politics to be. It could also be argued that the same is true with the Battle of Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, which arguably ushered in a more stable debate between Liberalism and Conservatism. This time it feels as if the new division that's being established is Nationalism versus Internationalism. Where we go with that is another question. It certainly seems as if we're likely to see a big war, possibly spiralling out of Syria or out of Russian opportunism if Putin thinks he can get away with attacking Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (and let's not forget the elephant in the room, Climate Change, will bring fresh conflict as refugees from the countries that suffer the most move north),
I honestly don't know where we go from here. I'm actually kind of scared by the lack of reason that seems to be on display and the retreat to tribalism - this is the first time I've seen an en masse move that will only hurt the people who voted for it. I know the system we have has left far too many people behind (though the cynical side of me does wonder if that's always been the case and it's only a problem now because it's affecting white, middle class, men) and that not a lot has been done to address that - back in the 1980s Liverpool was famously left to 'managed decline' because it was a hot bed of Labour sentiment, and the Conservative government saw no profit in helping it. More recently the Nick Clegg memoir reported that David Cameron opposed building social housing because it 'would make more Labour voters' - this in a country where it is increasingly looking like owning your own home is going to become nothing but a fantasy for most young people.
At present it seems like the people in my country will only get poorer, that food will be scarcer and that the number of people who die from hypothermia because they can't afford to keep the heating on will rise. I suspect that many people in America feel the same. This is the start of the new century, this is the start of the battles for everything we hold dear, with added spokes and wheels to make things more complicated... May the Gods have mercy on us all.