As I write this, President Donald J. Trump is visiting the United Kingdom. His skill at dragging the collective media into chaos and leaving it there without a map is clearly as effective here as it has been for the past three years across the US itself.
He teased the UK Government with a Free Trade deal, then rolled it back within a week. He made some comments about Europe, its history, and our cultural identity that would inevitably send those hypersensitive hacks into gleeful derangement for all the wrong reasons. He praised and insulted the Maybot before praising her again; practically in the same sentence. Life to him, as he was never shy of admitting, is a deal – or a competition – or a fight. The key to all of these is knowing how much you want to win and how willing you are to walk away. Whether this was innate or learned doesn’t matter; Trump has it and is willing to use it.
May on the other hand is either unwilling or unable to understand her responsibilities and to carry them through to the end. Elements within her party might show a brief spark now and then, but they’ve proven time and again that modern Toryism is about party before country and cash before value; short-term thinking in its purest form.
Our establishment, our so-called elites, our elected rulers of any party colour tell us in a thousand whispered ways to extend the hand of friendship no matter how frequently or violently it’s bitten. Progressivism, in the sense they mean it, purports to disarm us physically and mentally in preparation for a world where everyone is as comfortable as them. Needless to say, this is not the world that most people live in today.
The message of Trumpism is even simpler than we’re told: Self-respect. The average American today hasn’t killed anyone, hasn’t enslaved anyone, hasn’t done anything deserving of punishment – and yet, they’ve all been told during the Obama years and before that they all harbour some kind of original sin – for the past, for some construct of privilege, or for the very aspiration to live their own lives in their own way that founded their nation in the first place. Within that recent history of abasement, no wonder that any sense of pride in the self will be seen as a dangerous identity obsession – if only by contrast.
Britain too, and England in particular, has struggled with similar issues. Rejection of the EU rapidly became a proxy for self-respect here in the same way that Making America Great Again is liberating that nation from its own false constraints. It doesn’t surprise us that our fair-weather ‘Conservative’ leaders are permitting our Brexit to shift by degrees into another stultifying morass; it is unfortunate that it seems to have surprised so many of their voters for so long. Unfortunate, but not hopeless.
It should surprise no-one that Brexit must be fought for again, by inches if necessary. We never lost the spirit, and with each day we re-earn and regain the numbers and the resources and the respect we’ll need to guide this nation back onto the path of freedom – with as light a hand as possible, no matter what contrary idea some career alarmists might like to claim. There is nothing wrong, hateful, destructive, irrational, or backwards about asserting a set of values in the face of some contrary and aggressive ideology – whether that ideology consists of European federalism, or political Islamism, or Communism, or any other form of obsession with some superficial group at the expense of the individual and our individual freedoms to associate with the values and forms of identity we choose. We of the United Kingdom already know what we were, and what we are, and what we could yet be. It’s not anyone else’s decision; it’s yours.