Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 10 November 2016

Another Political Notion

I didn't want That Man Trump to adorn this blog again,
so, here's a picture of a white, middle-class, privileged
woman, who's starting to feel quite strongly about some stuff
I was chatting with a friend today about her plans to leave the country. She has a ten year plan to take up residence in Spain.

Well… Good for her.

I just wonder what her chances are of fulfilling that plan.

Of course, plans are made for changing, and they change all the time, but what if she doesn’t want this plan to change? Will she still have a say in where she lives in a decade’s time?

We voted for Brexit… At least, I didn’t, but enough people did to make our break with the EU and our European cousins a very real possibility; some would call it a foregone conclusion.

We’re right at the very beginning of the exiting process, and, so far, I’m tempted to think that we’re making a pig’s ear of it. I have a feeling that a great many Europeans feel that way too. Of course, many of them are seeking their own moves to the right of politics, and, perhaps, even their own ways of leaving the Union.

America has moved dramatically to the right of the political spectrum, too, with the election of That Man Trump.

So, could it be that globalisation is on the way out? And if that’s the case, what could it mean for all of us?

Will the Liberal Elite in the United States seek to abandon what they might consider to be the sinking ship of their homeland… And, if they don’t abandon it now, for just how long will they be prepared to grit their teeth and hang on for grim death? Will one Trump term be enough to motivate them to leave? Will two?

The thing is, if Trump goes through with his xenophobic plans and closes America’s borders, and if the EU breaks up and more stringent border controls are implemented, will anybody be able to move freely around the globe, or choose where in the World they live?

We saw this in the second half of the century with China and Russia. Movement in or out was difficult and often impossible for dissidents.

It’s a strong word, isn’t it? Dissident! But these are strange times, and our language is bound to react to the changes that are taking place in the World.

If movement is possible, if the Liberal Elite in America, who now have a colossal fight on their hands to live out their principles, decide to quit their country, where will they go?

Well, I guess they’ll come here. They’ll come to the UK and to Europe, and it will be the kind of Brain Drain that the UK talked about in the second half of the last century, when so many young, educated people emigrated to America, Canada and Australia for a better standard of living. We call it the Talent Drain, now, because some still believe the UK is losing too many of its best and brightest.

It used to be about money. Perhaps, in the not too distant future the Brain Drain will become about ideologies.

Here’s the thing, though, with Brexit and a move to the right, the UK is also talking about clamping down on immigration. Will we allow American migrants into the UK? Well, we just might, because it appears to me that the stance against immigration is actually a reaction against particular kinds of immigrants: those who fall into the categories of having a native foreign language or a different religion or complexion from the majority of Britons.

We seemed to have a great many more problems with immigrants from our Indian and West Indian commonwealth countries in the second half of the last century than we ever did with the Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans, who also chose to make the UK their home.

So, if we all become less tolerant of foreigners, it won’t only be the needy who miss the boat (as it were). My native English speaking friend might find that she’s not very welcome in Spain.

Conversely, a friend of mine in America, whose politics are Liberal and whose calling is academic, has children who can claim dual nationality. What will their situation be in a couple of decades time? That Man Trump is claiming America for the Americans right now. He plans to close America’s borders. He was cheered long and loudly for proposing That Wall. 

What concerns me is what happens after he closes America’s borders. If life doesn’t improve for white middle America, who will they turn on next? It won’t be undocumented aliens, because they will have been banished already. Will they turn on Hispanic Americans or the black population? And when they’ve done their worst with them, will it be the Jews? Will religious intolerance take over? And when that phase is complete, will America turn on its citizens of dual nationality.

OK… I’ve taken this thought a long way down a very rough path, but you get my drift.

Martin Niemoller made a good point well, and he made it more than sixty years ago. I think it might be time to take another look at what he said. And, not for nothing, this is quoted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


  1. This has been a painful week for 60 million American voters. We are spinning through all the stages of grief. It's unlike anything else in living memory, but with shades of the 9/11/01 attack. But instead of a ragtag foreign enemy striking out of a clear sky, Tuesday night's results unmasked friends and family as secret operatives for a vast traitorous coup. Instead of uniting against a common enemy, Americans are turning away from one another in fear and distrust or celebrating with intolerant/supremacist violence. I've been telling immigrants, "America is over, get out before the internment camps spring up." The defeated Left's outpouring of anger and fear is met with smug platitudes from the Right--but I say what did you expect, anger and fear won the election!
    Instead of fleeing abroad or simply enduring the avalanche of laws, repeals, and other harmful acts to come from Washington, some Californians like myself are exploring a third option: peaceful secession. A "Calexit" would leave the remaining USA as the world's largest economy, and California would be the 6th largest. The idea is in early stages and it's possible the new nation could include other neighboring states. We figure this can be done by Constitutional Amendment, which requires a majority of the other 49 states to agree with the decision. We further figure most of them will be overjoyed to see us go! California has significant internal struggles but is currently enjoying an ascent toward prosperity, which can only skyrocket when unyoked from the million-ton weight of "red states" that dig in their heels against progress and equality.
    From a certain point of view, the United States is like a long-running EU-type experiment. The individual states or blocks thereof are not mere administrative districts, but almost like separate nations chafing under the federal authority that tries to keep it all together. Shared heritage does not seem like a sufficient foundation to keep traveling together into the future. Sorry I have run on so long, but here's an enlightening look at some of the divides - even though this doesn't fully explain the present situation.

  2. Dear Mrs Vincent-Abnett
    May I please assure you that your concerns are baseless, yes there has been a lot of nasty rhetoric thrown about by both sides during this campaign, enough that I tuned out for the most part until the final weeks (I am a bit of current affairs junkie) but from my personal experience, what most Trump voters want is merely a bit of control over their lives.
    I am a Brit who lives and works In America, and has done for the past 15 years (including University studies), and whose job requires me to travel at least once a month between New York (where I live) and London (where I'm writing from); so I'd like to think I can see both Trump and Brexit from an international perspective. Most of my friends and in-laws voted for Trump, albeit with a view that he was the lesser of two weevils.
    What they want, and following the Brexit vote I suspect many of our countrymen wanted is some control over their lives, both politically and economically; politically that their elected representatives are actually accountable to them and are subject to the laws they pass, and economically that if they play by the rules and work hard (not necessarily in single industry for their whole lives - that might be impractical) they will be able own a home, get a decent education for their kids, access to affordable healthcare and to retire on a decent pension. That is essentially the 'pride' that you spoke of in your last post and has nothing to do with race or gender. Lastly Speaking as a long term 'resident alien', I do get a little narked off when people go on about the 'right's of people who break the law and didn't follow the (tough) procedures I had to (a) get a student visa 15 years ago and (b) apply for a green card after being offered a job.
    I understand completely why successive presidents after Ford allowed Chinese manufacturers to undercut American ones, it was (a) aimed at undermining the nominal communist alliance between the USSR and the PRC and (b) hoped that a burgeoning Chinese middle-class would over time demand a society based on law and order, along the lines of Western Europe. However it has not worked and it is the duty of politicians to provide an atmosphere where these former factory workers and their children can acquire the skills necessary to succeed in this brave new world.
    What is lacking in the Anglo-Sphere in general over the past 60 years is a 'societal glue' or 'Social Contract' that people can count on, the sense that the wealthy and powerful are morally obliged to look after those less fortunate, not in a patronising and condescending way using the bureaucracy of government, but in a manner that enables them to stand on their own two feet. In the past the Church was that social glue, but I have a sense that that would be anathema to many of today's liberals, perhaps we should look to the ethical principles of the Stoics to govern our lives.
    Sorry for the long post, I know that the comment section of blogs doesn't lend itself well to this format, but you gave me such a lot to think about.