IN WITH A KICK AND A BANG
Welcome to 2017. A new year of possibility. The possibilities are terrifying on so many levels. The 45th president of the United States was sworn in last week. The British exit from Europe has been slowed a fraction as the High Court points out the illegality of just wiping out 40 years of laws without actually having any parliamentary discussion, but the manufacturers of that exit from the most successful peaceful union of nations have been given media and political jobs and had their voices amplified again.
In Ireland the Irish Times is providing a voice to racists and eugenicists, telling us how to refer to unemployed black criminals and that the Irish should only be breeding with “Irish” people (assuming that there has been no interbreeding in the last 900 years, that the Vikings, when they weren’t being set up for attacking monasteries, never stopped to get langered and have a party).
And I’m working away, trying to make music that doesn’t sound like it was made by a 7 year old, and trying to survive on an income the unemployed here would laugh at but massive chunks of the world’s population would envy. I read or heard somewhere that if you have a dollar, or a euro, or a pound, you have more wealth than a massive amount of the world’s poor. If you have a roof, you should look after it and try as hard as possible to keep it.
The 45th president of the United States, a loathsome individual who has been accused of multiple sex crimes, has been called before court innumerable times more often than even me, may alter the shape of modern society – he will cause fear, that’s his aim. He wants to put fear in his enemies, and make his accomplices feel valued – until the moment when he needs them to fear him too. He will court the neo-nazis over the world because they will cause strife – this is simple marketing for him – weaken the foreign markets, strengthen the US. Any weakness abroad is a good thing for Trump’s America, and threatening the destruction of Europe is one way to create it.
And it’s not overdoing it to say he is courting neo-nazis. He’s a good friend of this man for a start. He’s used the phrase “America First” – I can imagine Nigel sitting with him saying “Well, we wanted to get the old National Front, the Britain First supporters, you know, the racists and…” “What? Britain First…? That’s catchy. I like it. Got smarts. We wanna be first.” “But Donald, it’s not really, they’re racist and a member killed a liberal MP earlier in the year, maybe it’ll work for you, but…” “America First. It’s got a ring to it. I’ll use that. Steve, you got that? America First. We use that.”
Steve Bannon will have checked the name. He’s not that stupid to use a title or phrase and he knows that people will see the reference to the 1940s movement that was wholeheartedly in support of Hitler. The cartoon to the left is a hint at where things have gone – the comment about the “mightiest minds” can refer to institutional education (heavily dismissed by the right wing in the UK, and leered at by neo-fascists in Ireland and the US) or the press – that it is a source of conversation and that is all.
No, it’s not just a source of conversation. It’s something that should be decried, yelled at and if necessary smothered and suffocated. Assault is not a good thing. Drowning out their voices and not giving them oxygen is the key.
Good luck this year, and next – if we stand together, support each other and fuck up the world we can actually make it better.