The scariest thing I read last week was a Facebook post by Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College.

I think it must have gone viral as I saw it a number of times on a number of different people’s timelines over a number of days.

What she said was that the Muslim ban imposed by the Trump administration last week was something she called a “shock event”.

The aim of a shock event isn’t to achieve the stated policy objective – in this case stopping people from Muslim countries from entering the USA – rather it’s purpose is to sow confusion, to create a distraction, allowing the administration to hide its real goal.

What the “real goal” might be she didn’t made clear.

The shock event also divides people along partisan lines. People who voted for Donald Trump will be cheering him on, while the liberal intelligentsia are roused to righteous anger.

As if banning Muslims from entering your country is somehow worse than bombing them in their own countries.

Not that we need any shock events to divide us these days. We seem to be achieving that without any intervention from the President of the United States.

It didn’t start with Brexit or the election of Trump. These things are merely the symptoms of a deep disease within the body politic.

The real sickness is inequality. That’s why people have been voting against the status quo in such large numbers.

Identity politics has failed us. So what if an openly gay man like Peter Mandelson can rise to power and prominence within the British establishment, if he continues to be “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”?

So what if we’ve had a black President of the United States, if he’s also bailing out the banks with public money and kowtowing to Wall Street?

People have divided along class lines. It’s overwhelmingly working class people who voted for Trump or for Brexit.

And they’ve voted that way not because they are sexist or racist or homophobic, but as a howl of protest at the ongoing insecurity that globalisation has forced into their lives.


From The Whitstable Gazette, 09/02/2017

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