Sunday, 13 November 2016
Nigel Farage, a man unable to win a seat in Parliament after 7 attempts nor able to win Brexit without the help of Boris Johnson, got to spend an hour with Donald Trump this weekend. It is hard to imagine much more of a diplomatic slap in the face to Britain's Government (and to the United Kingdom itself) than this from the man soon to lead the US. Farage actively participated in hurting his own country's reputation, and took time to take holiday snaps.
But the supposed defenders of British values, Brexit supporters chief among them, will see this only as a victory for their fight against the status quo. They do not value Britain's history, institutions or ways of doing things. They don't value our power or reputation. They're revolutionaries intent on disrupting our constitutional arrangements.
The United Kingdom has come to a crossroads. On the left is Corbyn and his Labour party. They are quiet and meek in the face of opposition (see reserved support for Brexit and an attempt to paint Trump's victory as indicative of an up turn in Labour's own fortunes!) and far too friendly with Vladimir Putin (the dodgy leader of Russia who, if you haven't been paying attention, has been engaging in a war of aggression with Ukraine for the last couple of years). Corbyn's attempt to cheer up his troops this morning was to point out that they managed to HOLD a couple of council seats recently.
Meanwhile on the right we have a Tory party determined to take us out of the EU. They are no longer engaging with EU institutions, despite previous promises to keep working as part of the EU until the end. They've got no support in the US from the next administration, have sullied our relationships with our neighbours and aren't even that friendly with Putin. They've isolated us for no good reason.
And then on the far right we have Farage who has placed himself as Britain's unofficial ambassador to Trump alongside Marion Le Pen (of the French FN). Putin and Trump are fluttering their eyelashes at each other. A dark alliance is forming and the characters involved couldn't spell statesmanly, let alone act it.
I've always been a proud Brit. I've none of the usual liberal hang-ups about our imperial history. I fully support our actions in the Second World War and the Falklands War, warts and all. Dresden and the Belgrano were terrible, awful events but we didn't start those conflicts. I like Churchill, respect Thatcher and worship Her Majesty, the Queen. It takes a LOT to make me feel ashamed of our country.
But as we begin to align ourselves against our European friends and neighbours, and send out feelers towards Putin and Trump, I fear that rather than finding ourselves in peril (as I thought we would be after Brexit) we may well BE the peril.
For the first time in my life my loyalties lie outside this country, with the people of continental Europe. The Tories and Labour are weak and morally suspect. UKIP has lost the battle for votes but is winning the battle for hearts. The Lib Dems can mount a small resistance but aren't going to turn the tide. And the nationalists await to help kick us while we're down.
We're probably done for as a serious contender for a leader on the world's stage now. We're at risk of becoming a satellite state of the new Trump/Putin axis. For all their talk of defending Western civilization, the right have happily overseen it's decline. The left would only be too happy to see the back of it too.
I've got no answers. No solutions. This re-alignment seems to be inevitable. Europe has a great many issues to overcome (the rise of the right, the idiocy of the social justice obsessed far-left, uncontrolled immigration, democratic deficit). I'm unsure if it'll be able to survive. But now I'm rooting for it to thrive as the liberal centre of the world. The continuation of our culture may well depend on it.