Most of us in Britain looked on in horror and disbelief at the news footage of the storming and desecration of the Capitol building with Representatives and Senators cowering in fear amongst the swirling mists of cordite and tear gas. And most of us were not at all surprised at President Trump desecrating his oath of office to protect the constitution and inciting the army of deep state conspiracy theorists, seditionists and separatists. His people; their eyes burning with conviction that the election had been stolen from them, that Biden is a Marxist who would defund the police and destroy the America that their forbears had fought for. Of course, there is not a shred of evidence to support any of these contentions. But that is not the point. Anyone who proffers a contrary view is an enemy of the people and any media outlets who broadcasts them are purveyors of fake news. A disturbing but predictable twist was to see camera crews attacked by the screaming mob. All that was missing was a guillotine erected beneath the rotunda for a tableau from Les Miserables.
American democracy will survive, but it is fragile. Seventy five million people voted for Trump for a variety of reasons. I hope that many of them will be wondering why they voted for a narcissistic, kleptocratic sociopath who has trashed America. An interesting poll of paid up Republicans showed that on the day of the invasion 45% of them supported the rebels. A day later this was reduced to 18%. Yet they still claim to be the party of law and order.
Five people died. Their blood is not just on Trump, his ghastly grasping family, their waxworks entourage and his Stepford Wives spokeswomen’s hands, but on all those who for four years did nothing. Not just closed a blind eye, but gained from this monster’s political beneficence. Step forward Mitch McConnell the weeping boil on the bottom of the body politic. And the rest of the spineless senior Republicans who put their own futures and fundraising before the constitution and the rule of law. This hasn’t been the party of Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior for many years. Those men were true patriots in every sense not this rabble of weaponised trailer trash. How appropriate that the iconic image of this insurrection was the clearly deranged deep state apologist, Viking Helmeted Qanon Shaman is a failed actor living with his mum. Beautiful dental work though....
And what about over here? Where are the self styled Bad Boys, Farage, Banks and Wigmore? I’ll tell you. They will be desperately trying to work out a line which distances themselves from Trump (but not far enough to cause offence) but lauding his movement (not the violent bits natch) and will try and kick start some sort of nationalist party. In your dreams boys.
An important side issue is now about freedom of speech. Should Trump have been banned from Twitter? Oh, and let’s not get too misty eyed about the altruism of big tech. It doesn’t exist. They have allowed, for a fat profit, all sorts of hateful stuff to be published. Whoops, no, silly me. They are not publishers they are platforms and are protected from all sorts of legal nasties. They know that this will soon change and have gifted Biden Trump’s head on a silver salver in the hope that he will water down any new legislation. He had better not.
My personal view is that the only things that should be banned on social media are views that break the law or could lead to serious injury or loss of life. They were right to ban Trump.
But over here was UTube right to ban Talk Radio? In some respects the station has become a bit of a UKIP echo chamber. And some of their presenters are just in the business of chasing ratings and say some really, really, stupid things, particularly about COVID-19. But ban them? No.
The delightful irony is that those who shout loudest about the freedom of speech have the most toxic views, whether they be left or right, and want to close down or censor outlets whose presentation of news doesn’t meet with their own. ‘Defund the BBC’ they scream. Forgetting that this in effect is censorship.
Sadly, the default position on the invasion of the the Capitol to those on the British Trumpian right with little imagination is that ‘it’s a bit rich for Remainers to....defying the will of the people...blah, blah, blah’. The Brexit battle is long over guys. Get a life.
But who will be the British Qanon Shaman? Place your bets now please.