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.

12 comments on “World Class Stupid”

  1. DC says:

    Seems the UK State is increasingly becoming involved in the life of the ordinary person.
    1. We have the highest proportion of CCTV cameras per person in the world. (1 for every 11 people)
    2. They failed to get us to accept identity cards so now we need a passport to get non-emergency operations in the NHS!
    3. Every single phone call event and all your internet records now need to be retained, should the authorities wish to examine them.
    4. The authorities have at least 20 stingray devices deployed in London. They don’t discuss their usage and never reveal the data collected by them in court.
    5. Not just the Balkans but the Baltic States are at risk. (So those who took up the virtual Estonian citizenship could become virtual Russians.)

    Not quite sure when we will reach the point when the UK finally becomes “Airstrip One” but it is concerning. Still we can always rely on our snazzy new aircraft carriers. If they only had some planes to put on them…

  2. Brian Evans says:

    Two great truisms of life-

    1 People never learn from history.

    2 The best form of defence is attack.

  3. SteveB says:

    DC: Other european countries think the UK is stupid not to have id cards and address registration.
    I’d like to write some more on this whole topic later if I have time but I can make 3 quick points.
    (1) Europe is not some homogenous thing that is going to move to right or left but a collision of vastly different cultures and economies (and power / ownership structures). Western Europe wont suddenly become vastly right wing, and Eastern Europe is already anyway, and Southern Europe is just hopelessly corrupt beyond redemption.
    (2) Direct action: yes I 100% agree, if you believe in something stand for it. This is British.
    (3) The US will survive Trump and also the US is not 1930s Germany. The US constitution is a strong thing not so easy to walk through like Hitler did in Germany (also without ever winning a majority)

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Medical ID cards. We’ve had them forever in Canada. Most adult people use their driver’s license as ID because it has a photo and an address. If you don’t drive there is an equivalent card available for you. We’ve never felt the cards were a tracking device (although they could be). We didn’t know about passports for the longest time because most of us didn’t go farther than the US and there was great anger when we had to have passports – expensive and don’t last long enough. One of my friends will not get a passport so he can’t go to the US – not that he’d want to these days.
    I’m sure we’ll survive all this, but what will the price be?

  5. Vivienne says:

    I have recently apologised to Italy for someone’s behaviour.
    I understand that 20 million Americans who voted Trump will be worse off when he scraps time and a half payments- and feel glad that those people will be alerted earlier than Brexit folk to what they voted for.
    I never never want to see another grinning Garage or whoever he is. When did a foreign country ever have the temerity to choose our Ambassador? Britain, please retain some dignity.

  6. Kevin says:

    .I’m writing from the US and this is the first time that I strongly disagree with one of your posts. And the reason I disagree is that your response strikes me as premature. It makes no sense to come out swinging when Trump has yet to be inaugurated. He is, technically, still in the planning stages of his administration. To show the kind of respect at this stage of the game that the Hamilton cast displayed was first class. I see no reason to savagely antagonize or even threaten Trump just yet. Some effort at common ground or conciliation must be made. And if that proves impossible, THEN it makes sense to let loose the Kraken!.

  7. admin says:

    Kevin, he has form.
    In the UK nobody really argued with the idiot Farage as he barracked his way around the country, and then it was too late. ‘Wait and see’ was the approach adopted by Neville Chamberlain in 1939, and in the US protests are taking place AFTER the elections – it seems to me that Democrats are especially prone to treating people as nicely as they would wish to be treated, when clearly the reverse is not on the table.

  8. John Griffin says:

    Not often I agree with Admin (I’m a life-long lefty) but he is on the money here. The sooner you get started on bullies, the better; the sooner you oppose narcissists like Farage and Trump, the sooner they expose their true (insecure) selves by over-reaction. BTW good luck USA, with the next civil/Indian/Mexican/slave war.

  9. TR says:

    tRump’s picks for his cabinet posts and especially Bannon as his advisor should disqualify him for the post of Leader of the Free World. He appears to have already violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution [No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
    Article I, Section 9, Clause ], repeatedly: Never too early to oppose this abomination.

  10. Helen Martin says:

    Here in Canada we’re beginning to see blatant racist actions by people who appear to have grown tired of having to be tolerant of people with whom they disagree. We have to control this.

  11. Helen Martin says:

    What do we have to control? I think I meant the blatant racist actions but my pronoun references are becoming more vague all the time.

  12. Joel says:

    “Silence is consent” – old and timeless trade union truism. Applies to more than industrial relations.

    Parallels with pre-war Nazi Germany are becoming stronger. We now have a plummetting Pound which will hit food and fuel prices when present contracts expire, while we have static or falling incomes, for those who have one at all. The UK imports all of its transportation fuel and over 50% of the food we consume, of which a frightening amount is wasted.

    A worst-case scenario should not be ignored. While I’m no fan of Chamberlain (I’m another life-long lefty… My choice), there is an alternative viewpoint that ‘appeasement’ bought time for the RAF and Navy to re-equip and plan. Don’t know how true that was but history depends on your viewpoint as much as who’s writing it.

    Farage and Trump (and other lunatics) want to write ours. Be afraid (and prepared), be very afraid…

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