Tuesday 21 November 2017

Populism, the new victimhood, and the rise of anti-everythingism

The people have spoken. They have given the establishment a wallop, and TV stars rule the world, says Brendan O'Connor

DISCONTENT: Young anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at the gates of Downing Street in London. Photo: PA
DISCONTENT: Young anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at the gates of Downing Street in London. Photo: PA
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Does anyone even know how to do a Brexit? Do they know where to start? But more importantly, how far are we going to go with all this? The truth right now is probably that if we put any daft notion up for a referendum and gave equal weight to the nutty option, then about half the people will vote for the nutty option. The people, with their sacrosanct, sophisticated, divine democratic rights have got a taste for giving the establishment a wallop. And the latest developments on that front seems to be that the flaky guy from Have I Got News for You is going to be UK PM and the mad guy off The Apprentice is possibly going to be the leader of the free world. And they're not even the right guys off those two shows. Most sane people would probably prefer Hislop or Merton to be PM and Alan Sugar, or even Bill Cullen, to be president of America.

The narrative now is one of unfolding revolution. So the era of middle-aged and old, white men ruling the world is apparently over and they are being replaced with, well, different middle-aged and old, white men. The radical revolutionary rump is represented right now in the US by a billionaire who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and in the UK by a public school Tory toff. The left, which has lost any kind of moral compass, professes to hate these guys but is, in some strange way, on the same side as them. They are all apparently against the status quo. They are all apparently against the establishment. They are all apparently speaking to the apparent common man and woman. They are speaking plain truth to and hearing the voice of the man on the street who is not being listened to by the establishment any more.

Trump is apparently in touch with the blue collar workers of the rust belt in a way that Hillary Clinton, a member of the Washington elite, is apparently not. This billionaire property developer is apparently an outsider while Hillary is an insider. Trump is shaking up the system and sticking it to The Man. And Boris is more in touch with the common man than his fellow Eton toff and member of the 1pc Dave. And Trump and Boris are speaking uncomfortable truths apparently. Trump isn't even bothering to use a dog whistle for his anti-immigration views, while Boris lets Farage deal with the more unseemly side of the Little Englander narrative.

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