World Class Stupid
It should have been a popular protest, recognised by the government and incorporated into legislation. Instead it was allowed to become law by a weak politician. It was seized upon by the ignorant and ignored, spread by fear and hatred, and allowed into positions of power the very people who would ignore the protestors.
But enough about Hitler and the rise of fascism. Let’s talk about World Class Stupid.
I read a tweet yesterday by a student bemoaning the rise of this new dictator-class, in which she ended; ‘If only there was something we could have done!’ Well course it could have been done as it had always been done, by popular protest from Jarrow to Aldermaston to the poll tax riots. Organised disobedience was something the UK was always very good at (read ‘King Mob’ by historian Christopher Hibbert about the Gordon Riots) but something we forgot how to conduct. Complacency is the greatest weakness of all.
The rise of World Class Stupid will be good for creativity, though. With Europe now set to vote for the hard right, those of us who felt like centrists reflecting a balanced norm now suddenly appear to be persecuted liberal intelligentsia, and will have to make some noise.
But how? It’s no good making Ken Loach films and preaching to the converted. It has to be an all-embracing response of the kind Orwell managed – he changed the English language. The recent ‘Hamilton’ protest in New York was nothing of a kind. Here’s what the speech that caused Trump to demand an apology actually said;
“We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
Could it have been any more self-appeasing? The cast and audience should have been kicking Mike Pence out of the damned theatre, not delivering a politely worded plea for understanding.
One thing I learned from supporting gay and feminist movements of the past was that you hit back hard. The sea-change came when the bullied started taking up self-defence classes and fighting back. When the only language available is that of the thug, you adopt it. I’m angry that 30 years of improvement has been dumped by those who don’t have a clue how democracy works. What will it take to fix the broken towns of Britain and America (and by extension those of Europe)? Not a Brexit or a Trump, not hatred but governments who won’t slash benefits, who will restore infrastructure.
These are not idle thoughts. This morning comes news that Trump is pushing for Farage to become US Ambassador, and Putin is positioning tanks to head into the beautiful newly democratic Balkan countries. As Joe Melia once said; ‘Ladies and gentlemen, kindly take your places for the war.’
How long will it be before people start fighting to keep their rights? We’ll see after January.