In response to an FT article by Gideon Rachman on 22nd August 2016, entitled ‘The crisis in Anglo-American democracy’
“Given the disasters of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, combined with a long stagnation in living standards, it is not surprising that voters in the US and Europe are seeking more radical alternatives” – Gideon Rachman
You’re right Mr. Rachman – it is not the least bit surprising. It is also not the least bit surprising, given the Teflon nature of our politicians, that voters are coming to the conclusion that the establishment has not the least bit of intention of doing anything about it, other than blaming the symptoms.
Even if Donald Trump was in fact a reincarnation of Attila the Hun, and Jeremy Corbyn a modern day Lenin with the hat but without the intellect…neither of them have been in power, ever…and neither of them carry the least bit of responsibility for the dire state of our economy or the international mayhem we face. They both entered a ‘space’ that was created for them…by leaders who now want to blame them for the extreme discomfort that their popularity evokes.
The parties you list…Italy’s Five-Star movement, France’s National Front, Spain’s Podemos and the Alternative for Germany…are a symptom of a backlash against a political and financial system that has failed the vast majority of its people, whilst richly rewarding those who wield the power in that system, those with vested interests in the maintenance of that system, as it is – the status quo. Any system that continuously fails the majority of its people and simultaneously refuses to reform from within – will eventually be reformed from without, and this will not be pleasant. History is quite clear in this respect.
Reform from within requires introspection – looking in the mirror. I see very little of that. There is little sign of governments or leading politicians adopting the natural human behavior that most call ‘learning from our mistakes’. You’ll grow old and grey waiting for anyone to tell the truth about Iraq or Syria or Libya; your children will be having dental implants before anyone at the Federal Reserve admits that their policies have facilitated a massive transfer of wealth from poor to rich; and your grandkids will be considering moving to a bungalow before any banker goes to jail for market rigging or fraud.
And yet, none of that appears in this article. There is no soul searching, no criticism of the establishment, no critique of the role of the media, no admission of the totally ‘free pass’ that this paper, along with most of the others, provides to Hillary Clinton. The lack of interest in DNC corruption and CGI cronyism, to name just two, is quite remarkable.
So, when you say the following Mr. Rachman, I totally agree with you:
“A competent opposition would, by now, be all over the May government”
But I would add this: a competent media would, by now, be all over the Clinton campaign. You are not, and I have absolutely no expectation that you ever will be - unless and until Julian Assange releases something so egregious that everyone has to take notice.
In conclusion, I agree with your assertion that the rise to prominence of people like Trump and Corbyn is a sign of a sickness in British and American democracy…but …they are symptoms, and symptoms are not the sickness.
The sickness is to be found in a political and financial system that serves itself before the people; a judicial system that applies the rule of law to the weak, but turns a blind eye to the crimes of the strong; in the leaders who refuse to acknowledge their errors or reform their behavior; and finally, in a fourth estate which is failing in its traditional role, some would say its duty, of holding power to account.