Its all a bit stream of consciousness I’m afraid. We have lost Leonard Cohen, and gained President Trump. Not a good week.
Trump’s victory and Brexit are different things, but they have this in common. They appear to be symptoms of a loss of faith in a cooperative world. They have in common a re-assertion of zero-sum nationalism.
“We no longer believe in the fairy story that we can all prosper together. It is self evident that for me to win, you have to lose. I’m comfortable with that.”
So both sides of the Atlantic seem to have majorities (or decisive minorities) who are:
Suspicious of welfare and foreign aid
Hostile to immigrants, or people who might look like immigrants
Suspicious of any rights that are shared with those who are different to us
Comfortable behind fences, if that’s what we need to defend our privilege
Eager to be seen as victims
So where do we go from here?
We need to care, and to protest. Compassion and anger may be the best of what we have left. Perhaps above all we need to grieve, because this doesn’t look like a blip. The post war consensus has gone. Its not coming back. We won’t stop Brexit, or reinstate a sane White House. Its gone. For good or ill people in these countries no longer have faith in the old world. We need to let it go. Breathe. And build a new, compelling vision of a better, more just future from the wreckage.