Notes From the Northern Colony

populism

by Greum Maol Stevenson

Four years ago, I was preparing to leave the US, where I had lived for 22 years. I decided to leave when Trump got the Republican nomination. I was certain he would win the Presidency, but I intended to leave even if he lost, because I was unwilling to live in a nation where someone like him could be taken seriously as a political candidate.

Though he will soon no longer be President, it is the same nation.

Biden, and others, have said of Trump's America: “This is not who we are.” But it is.

Had it not been for Covid-19, Trump would have won easily this time. He lost by a narrow margin, with the second-highest number of votes in the nation's history, which means almost half the population supports him after seeing what he has done for four years.

Leaving aside the fact that Biden is not much less right wing than Trump, only less incompetent, what is there to rejoice about? Well, America will probably rejoin the Paris Agreement, and...

And that is about it. Capitalism will continue to reign, people will continue to die of being unable to afford healthcare, black people will continue to be murdered by police, and the working class will continue to rarely even be mentioned by the millionaires in elected office, who will pay lip service to protecting the middle class.

America is still the nation that elected Trump four years ago, and came close to electing him again having learned both that he is incompetent and that he is a totalitarian. Trumpism is more powerful now than it was before, and, in the wake of the election being called for Biden, we can expect violence from the fascists Trump enabled.

Americans ignore policy and respond to personality. They support political parties the way people here in Scotland support football teams. Barack Obama, a charismatic Dick Cheney, took George W. Bush's policies even farther than Bush himself dared. Bill Clinton was more of a conservative than his two Republican predecessors. But Democrats were fine with all that, because it was their party leaders. And now, as they cheer, they're cheering for their team, not for any change.

America is a good place to leave.

#usaelection #americanelection #donaldtrump #joebiden #fascism #populism #scottishblogs #greummaolstevenson

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by Greum Maol Stevenson

Last year, I remarked to a friend that he has what I consider a sexist habit of referring to female politicians by their first names, but uses last names for their male counterparts. He refers to the Scottish First Minister as “Nicola,” but never referred to her predecessor as “Alex.” I told him I thought this showed he took women less seriously than men, seeing them as closer to children than adults.

He replied he always referred to Boris Johnson by his first name, but admitted he did not do that with any other male politicians. I suggested this supported my point, because Johnson's clownish persona made my friend see him as an overgrown child, giving him the same status he gave women.

And it is a persona; in private life, he is not called Boris. His friends and family call him Al, his actual first name (his name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson). In a similar way to the US cult of “Bernie” — Sanders's friends and family call him Bernard — Johnson is selling performance, not policy. But, unlike Sanders, he is dangerous.

In this ungrammatical column in The National, Lesley Riddoch does a good job of normalising him by referring to him with chummy, faux-familiarity.

It is of urgent importance not to trivialise this catastrophe with cute nicknames. Call him what he is: the Prime Minister. And in calling him that, consider the ultra-right-wing populist who now holds that office, and see where we are.

#borisjohnson #nicolasturgeon #populism #lesleyriddoch #scottishpolitics #thenational #scotland #scottishblogs #greummaolstevenson

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