With rifles if necessary

image courtesy of Stu Rapley and flickr


Threats and resistance

This could sound melodramatic but rifles and violent resistance are threatened on a regular basis in the US debate. Actually, debate is the wrong word. Trump’s supporters seem incapable of debating, preferring instead to accuse the ‘Washington elite’ of stealing from them, and threatening violence if any real action is taken to control Trump’s dishonesty, nepotism, and potential treachery. They were at it again yesterday in the wake of the latest twist in the Russia affair. An ex CIA operative opined that the people would revolt if there was a move to impeach and would resist ‘with rifles if necessary’. Is this really true? It’s difficult to say from across the Atlantic but approval ratings suggest his support is evaporating and it seems reasonable to assume that only a fraction of what remains really poses a threat of violence. Nonetheless, it’s a bleak day for democracy when the threat of violence is in the air.

Poor me

The President’s line yesterday was just that. Poor me. The worst treated politician in history. The mere fact that a man in such high office could say that is worrying. It sounds more and more like there is a five year old in the White House. How long can he last? The pundits are divided but the midterm elections next year could be a turning point, assuming he lasts that long.

All of this is an interesting backdrop for our own elections. There is both good and bad here. On the one hand our senior politicians all appear to be grown ups. On the other we look like giving a larger majority to a PM who wants to impoverish the nation with a hard Brexit, to increase social division by wasting money on reintroducing Grammar Schools, and to focus on killing foxes rather than enabling the NHS to save lives. I’m aware that there is some rhetoric about helping the workers, the barely managing etc, but I suspect rhetoric is all it is.

The good news and the bad news

So, the bad news is that we seem to be continuing to act like lemmings and rushing for the cliff.  Hard Brexit, more social division, more austerity, more economic mismanagement. Strangely, I think there’s more good news. The first bit of good news is that we’re unlikely to see a mob with rifles marching on Westminster. The second is that we can start to see some rebuilding of the opposition in the wake of the election. And finally, she won’t last. Political fortunes change and the electorate will wake up. Maybe in 2022, by which time a few chickens will have come home to roost and we may have an effective opposition.

And right now?

Right now we have to vote. make it a good turn out. Make the percentages reflect the different views in our society. Encourage the young to get involved. Accept that the system we have is loaded in the government’s favour but hope that we can make enough gains to make Parliament more balanced. And refuse to be downhearted.

Tony Earnshaw

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