Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Anglos of the World Unite!

Donald Trump approaches the end of his first hundred days with no achievements to boast for them. He tried to undo Obamacare and failed (fortunately). There’s no sign of the improvement in employment or earnings he promised for the poor. He has, however, managed to indulge in some mean-spirited xenophobia with his travel bans. Now he’s running the risk of shutting down the government of the US altogether because he can’t raise the funds to build his wall along the Mexican border. That’s because he has apparently failed in his stated aim to get Mexico to pay for it. The wall is, of course, another measure against the dreaded foreigner.

And yet his supporters remain firmly wedded to him: 81% of Republicans in a recent poll say they are mainly excited and optimistic about his presidency.

Meanwhile in Britain, it becomes increasingly clear that Brexit is going to deliver few if any of the benefits expected of it. Already inflation is edging upwards and, with austerity policies keeping earnings down, that means living standards are being squeezed. Well, squeezed for the poor: the wealthy have seen their incomes and wealth grow impressively since the 2008 crash. In society generally, growth is slowing except in the opening of food banks, for which the demand keeps trending upwards. In spite of all that, much of the population seems convinced that all that matters is to control immigration, to keep out the foreigner.

That desire apparently sustains continued support for Brexit, though it’s far from certain that leaving the European Union will even lead to a reduction in immigration.

Meanwhile, Australia has won itself quite a reputation for its handling of illegal immigrants and refugees, holding many of them in detention centres, some outside its own territory and administered by a private-sector company. Conditions in some of these camps have led to serious controversy, with allegations of beatings, insults and sexual assaults. One of the most controversial, in Papua New Guinea, is slated to close. Meanwhile, attempts to get information out about the centres are blocked by the Australian government.

It seems that Australia too dislikes foreigners.

The Manus Processing Centre on Papua New Guinea
slated to close, but leaving an image to awaken sad memories
It has now been reported that there is debate within the British Conservative Party about withdrawing Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights. The Convention has nothing to do with the EU. British lawyers played a leading role in its drafting and it was enthusiastically endorsed by Winston Churchill. It predominantly guarantees rights to citizens but, because it can be used by foreigners, sometimes unappealing ones like the Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, many British citizens would like the country to withdraw.

They’d rather see their own rights curtailed in order to deny them to foreigners.

The French talk about the “Anglo-Saxon” world, embracing such countries as the US, UK and Australia. They believe the Anglos have a culture distinct from their own. It’s hard not to feel they have a point. After all, France seems set on barring the far right from its Presidency, while many in the English-speaking world are intent on declining further into xenophobia and the protection of privilege at the cost of rights.

It feels to me as though the Anglo-Saxon world needs a new slogan. I have a modest proposal. How about:

“Anglos of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your rights. You have an elite to feed.”

Catchy, isn’t it?

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