September 2016 was a personal milestone. I turned 40. What long seemed impossible, was always inevitable. The mountain I’d built in my path turned out to be a gentle ripple. The world didn’t stop and my legs are still spinning my pedals. My monument isn’t the only Impossible that has become the Inevitable. It was impossible that the UK would vote for BREXIT. It was impossible that the Labour party vote the unelectable Corbyn as their leader twice. It’s impossible that the US will vote for Trump. Isn’t it…?
Cycling past the Houses of Parliament I wonder what’s happening in Western Democracies? The accepted wisdom is that these are protest votes by the electorate to give the political establishment a bloody nose. If this is true then it is a high risk strategy. This means does not necessarily justify the end. The results to date are that the UK has voted to exit the EU without a clearly defined exit strategy i.e. a vote for the unknown. Labour has voted for a leader (and entourage) that is stuck in a 1970s time-warp to regain their party’s socialist heritage i.e. 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. The USA is quite possibly going to vote for Braggadocious Lunatic instead of an experienced politician because she represents corrupt Washington and he represents the anti-establishment and offers no nonsense change (according to Trump himself).
If this a strange and worrying state of affairs why has no one done anything to stop it? In a globalised ever-changing world politicians are the very slow to change. In the UK we’ve long been stuck in a political sludge, with just two established political parties of two extremes. The Left and the Right. The vast majority of us are not similarly polarised. Love him or loathe him, Tony Blair understood this and created New Labour that in the early days was as close to everything for everyone as you can be.
Why is no one filling the gaping void now? Our politicians are stuck in a binary inertia. When Apple, Facebook, Google have gone from small tech-start ups to Global Super Powers in a relatively short time, why can’t a new political party(ies) make themselves legitimate in a similarly short responsive time frame?
Why hasn’t Hilary sought to distance herself from being a full-paid up member of the Washington elite? Maybe she can’t or would be even less trusted if she did but it must be easier to convince US voters that she does represent change and a fresh direction than for Trump to convince US voters he could be the President of the USA. Whilst Trump has spun, morphed and trampled over his own words over and over again to catch any passing tide of momentum Hilary has stayed Hilary.
As I stop, waiting for the lights to allow me to proceed I worry in another direction, if these protests votes build an unstoppable momentum and the impossible/unthinkable continue to, why aren’t those with true power doing anything about it? Surely the mega-corporates, the political dynasties, the secret societies don’t want the global disruption that a Trump presidency would trigger?
Which makes me conclude that none of it really matters, that it doesn’t matter who is President of the United States, it doesn’t matter which colour of political party is in power, it doesn’t matter which common market a country is a member, none of this can disrupt the entrenched status quo.
What can be done? Same as when I hit 40: Keep calm and ride your bike.