How Trump Won And The UK Voted For Brexit

How Trump Won And The UK Voted For Brexit

On both sides of the Atlantic millions of people have been asking the question, “How did this happen?  Why did we lose?”.

How they laughed when it was first announced that Trump might run for President.  How they scoffed at the very idea the the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland might one day leave the European Union.

Well, Trump is in now in the White House and the Brexit juggernaut is rolling, albeit around some obstacles put in its path.  The causes for both events will no doubt be debated for a long while yet but there are already some reasons that now seem undeniable.

How Trump Won

Voter Apathy and Complacency?

  • Voter apathy.  No matter how important the vote there are always too many people who find something better to do than to put a cross on a piece of paper.  It seems it’s just too much effort for millions.
  • Voter complacency.  Trump couldn’t possibly win and Clinton is dead cert.  Only a fool would vote for Brexit.  I’m not going to vote because there’s no point when things are so certain.

A quick google reveals that about 63 million Americans voted for Trump but over 90 million didn’t vote at all.  As they say over there, go figure.

I wonder what percentage of those who didn’t vote were on the Women’s Marches or have spent many hours on social media bemoaning the fate of their respective countries.

Ignorance and Prejudice

Another reason often cited as the cause of these so called catastrophes is varying degrees on ignorance, gullibility, and bigotry among those who voted to leave the EU or put Trump in the White House.

I would be the first to agree that there are some pretty dim people out there but to suggest that tens of millions of people are unable to make rational decision for themselves and their families, having weighed up all the arguments for and against, is wildly inaccurate and very condescending.

After the Brexit referendum some people went as far as suggesting that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all.  They suggested that some voters were either too old to make decisions that would have long term effects or that they were too stupid to know what’s good for them.  This patronising viewpoint is one often heard uttered by the Eurocrats.  Leave it to the experts, they know what’s best for us, eh boys?

Racism and Xenophobia

This is another favourite excuse used by many to explain who things have turned out as they have done.  It doesn’t occur to them that many immigrants and descendants of immigrants voted to leave the EU for reasons they can explain perfectly well for themselves.

If a white person said what is said on these clips people would be quick to whip out the tired old excuses of racism and xenophobia. The truth is that they believe that while immigration has benefits you can have too much of a good thing, and that stricter controls and stronger entry requirements isn’t at all xenophobic but just sensible governance:

In this next clip we see an American gentleman, “Big Joe” who is perfectly capable of making his point among crowds of people who were protesting the day after Trump’s inauguration.

One woman shouts, “You’re on a bicycle and you’re oblivious!” – not sure what’s wrong with being on a bicycle.  Big Joe replies, “Political Correctness is un-American!”

I urge you to watch it to the end as the debate becomes a bit more articulate as it goes on.

Big Joe Answers Questions at Women’s March

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPqrimR8GWw

Negative Outcomes

Take your pick. I’m sure there will be plenty to choose from.  The worst so far is the fact that Trump has signed the executive order to push ahead with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Positive Outcomes

Imagine if Clinton were now in the White House and Britain had voted to remain in the EU.  What would change?  I would bet very little, except perhaps that Hillary would probably have to keep Bill on a tight leash:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1F8FBszGG8

Things would grind on just as they had before with no major problems resolved and things getting progressively worse for many.

Instead, we are witnessing a big rush of energy entering the political world and things are turning upside down.  Those on the Left who have always seen themselves as champions of freedom and democracy are becoming more and more censorial and authoritarian.

Meanwhile, more people are turning to the Right as they lose faith in the liberal and centre politicians who have failed to listen to their concerns and grievances and who have brought in changes that have transformed their communities and countries without consultation nor consent.

This energy is shaking things up.  It’s removing some of that smug complacency (from both voters and politicians) and reminding us all that our votes do make a difference.

It’s reminding us that our democracy is a precious thing, and that we should never again leave it to others to make decisions for us.

Demonstration and Protest

By all means make your voices heard but don’t smash windows and burn cars.  Burning the limousine belonging to a Muslim immigrant doesn’t do your cause any favours.  Nor does bullying and intimidating Trump supporters simply because you disagree with their points of view.

Is a hijab an appropriate symbol to use in the Women’s March of January 22nd?  Again, depends on your point of view. If you’re one of the organisers bemoaning the fact that 22 states in the US don’t allow Sharia law then it’s probably part of your agenda.

If on the other hand you feel the way this woman does, then it is not appropriate:

It breaks my heart, as someone who is forced to wear this atrocity since the age of 11 (I am 25 now), to see them celebrating the tool of my oppression. Being a hijabi has denied me so many rights, I feel offended right now. I don’t see how this is standing up for minorities. I am a full grown woman who lives a submissive life because she can’t afford to be independent, and has to do things she doesn’t approve of so that she can have something to eat. My parents have threatened repeatedly to throw me on the streets if I ever take it off. Millions of girls are denied their basic rights because of the hijab mentality. Why aren’t you standing up for them?”

 

Welcome to Brexit Britain. It’s up to all of us now

Welcome to Brexit Britain. It’s up to all of us now

Welcome to Brexit Britain

Welcome to Brexit Britain.  I’m one of the 17.4 million people in the UK who voted to leave the EU. According to many this means I am likely to be an ageing little Englander, a racist xenophobe, and a short sighted ill-informed idiot who has been duped by a campaign run by clowns.

It seems I’m also partly responsible for ruining any chances of prosperity and happiness for future generations, and the possible collapse of western civilization.

Who knew putting an X on a ballot paper could be so powerful?

The reaction is ongoing and it’s likely to be some time before feelings subside.  After all, the intensity of the convictions are proportional to the importance of the event.

There is a lot of anger, but I wonder what the reaction would have been had the result swung the other way.  How would the Remainers appease 16 million Brexiteers for example?

I’m not going to ask anyone to calm down or suck it up.  Your reaction is your own responsibility and you’ll have your reasons.  I respect your views and I hope you will respect mine.  After all, isn’t that what a tolerant, fair and democratic society is all about? Aren’t we supposed to be mature enough to work this out despite our differences of opinion?

However, it seems some Remainers won’t be happy until we keep having referendums until they get the ‘right’ result. Either that or, some have suggested, this result is ignored.

Did you vote?

The turnout was so large and the outcome so close that it was inevitable that several million people were going to be disappointed either way.  There was no room for compromise.  You were either for or against Britain leaving the EU.

However, this didn’t stop a lot of people sitting on the fence and abstaining altogether.  It has been reported that there was an 80%+ turnout among voters aged 60+ and only a 45%+ turnout among those in their twenties, so it’s just possible that if more young people got off their backsides and voted then the result might have been a win for the Remainers.

On the other hand, I suspect there would have been even more votes Brexit were it not for the fact that there were some who didn’t want to feel associated with Ukip and Mr Farage, even though they broadly agreed with the principles of the Leave campaign.  Eurosceptics on the left in particular may have wavered at the last minute onto the Remain side.

One thing I do know is that this referendum was not a General Election.  A vote for Brexit was not an endorsement of Ukip policy, whatever the simplistic memes on Facebook may suggest.

Why I voted for Brexit

I’m not going to repeat all the arguments here.  We had months of debate and everyone voted for their own reasons. The media was awash with information and there was no shortage of data to mull over while you made up your mind.

Personally, I voted for Brexit with a sense of optimism and a positive view of a stronger, more prosperous country free of the reins of the EU, trading with our European neighbours and the rest of the world, but on our own terms.

Far from pulling up the drawbridge to retreat into Little England I sensed a chance for us to turn to look outward and further, with bigger ambitions and more freedom in which to explore them.

To me, a vote for Brexit was a positive move in a different direction away from a club that looks upon the UK as a rich but badly behaved uncle.  Someone EU members tolerate for his financial contribution, but secretly don’t respect and find a bit embarrassing.

It was a chance to divorce ourselves from a failed project.  Time will tell, but it may the case that once again Britain has shown the way and others will follow.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue be trading partners, friends, and allies to our European neighbours.  Far from being insular we now have a chance to strike deals with any other country, free and unfettered by rules with which we don’t agree.

The idea that we could somehow fix the EU from the inside was a pipe dream.  Mr Cameron tried a few months ago and returned with barely any concessions. The men (and it is mostly men) in Brussels would not compromise even though we he had the leverage of a UK referendum on the horizon.

The EU’s agenda will always come first and the pleas by individual member states for change or reform for the sake of their own populations will always come second.

The immigration bit

We will continue to welcome immigrants to Britain, both from Europe and the rest of the world, who are ready and eager to contribute to our nation. It’s neither desirable nor practical to do otherwise, but we should be able to control who and how many come in to our country.  There’s nothing racist about that.  It’s just good government.

The thing is though, we seem to have bred a generation of people for whom the subject of immigration is the ultimate taboo. The political correctness is so powerful and ingrained that it’s difficult to even open the debate without a fair proportion of the audience assuming you’re a closet Nazi.

It’s been ridiculous for years.  The mainstream media tip-toes around the subject while everyone from career politicians to sanctimonious students and Guardian columnists are ever ready to describe the benefits of immigration, as if they had never occurred to anyone else.

I’ve grown weary of being lectured like this by people half my age who assume anyone over the age of 50 thinks like Alf Garnett and deserves to be shipped off to the Winnie Abbott Re-Education Camp for the Politically Incorrect.

There are all too many people who, for the best of reasons, have a rose-tinted view of the consequences of mass immigration.  They are often isolated from the impact and far removed from the real effects of a sudden increase in population in an area that doesn’t have the services and infrastructure to support it.

Even Miliband and Corbyn have managed to work that one out, but only because they didn’t get the number of votes they expected from certain areas that have a history of voting for Labour.

The aftershocks of the referendum result

The media loves to report on bad news and attracts more viewers using sensationalism.  We pride ourselves on being intelligent enough to know this and to be able to discern the difference, but the fact is we keep falling into the trap.  We lap up the hysteria and have emotional reactions as a result.

Jobs were lost and created before the referendum.  Contracts were won and lost, and businesses failed (BHS, Austin Reed etc).  They will be lost and created afterwards and I’m sure that there will be those who blame the losses on the referendum result while at the same time suggesting that any created couldn’t possibly be due to the outcome of the vote.

I’ll bet there’s many more of the 17,410,742 Brexit voters who can freely admit to not being an expert in economics, but to pin our hopes for prosperity for ourselves and future generations on EU membership seemed an unwise choice.

No doubt many will think we foolish and uniformed, but there it is. I expect millions more voted either way on less information.  I simply do not trust the people running the show in Brussels.

Meanwhile, on June 29th, there are already positive reports to be seen among all the negatives and the FTSE 100 has closed at a pre Brexit level.

Where do we go from here?

Assuming we want peace, prosperity, unity, happiness, and the whole nine yards then we’ve got to start imagining those outcomes, formulating a strategy, and moving towards it.  I say ‘assuming’ because there are those who want disruption, anarchy, and violence.  You’ll find them on the far left as well as the far right of politics.  They’ve always been there, ready to leap in and seize any opportunity to prey on people’s fears and create turmoil.

What unites people despite all their differences is a common desire to live in peace and dignity, with a reasonable standard of living,  and to see their children grow up happily with a decent education.  That may seem obvious and simplistic, but it’s the foundation for everything else. Politics is just arguing about how to bring that about.

Britain remains a great country with a great future, if we choose to create it.

It’s up to all of us as a country now.  If we can imagine it then we can make it happen, but if we’re determined to live under gloomy clouds of bitterness and regret then that’s exactly what we’re going to get.

As the eloquent Sufi mystic and poet Rumi so aptly put it:

Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.