The way things are going, probably not.
Are we seeing the end of social democracy? I got myself into a lot of trouble in 2015 and 2016 posing that question.
For the first time in my life, in 2015, I voted Conservative. (Very unlikely I’ll do it again, by the way).
And then in 2016, I voted to leave the EU. I’m not going into the reasons here. There are plenty of articles around The New Colloquium explaining what’s wrong with the EU, if you’re interested to find out.
But the point is, all this was really upsetting to the vast majority of my friends who are of the left, and mostly what I would describe as the liberal left, in that they are not Marxists or socialists in the sense that Erich Honecker was a socialist. More that they believe that the State should take care of everyone and everything, and that tolerance in all matters takes precedence over personal liberty.
Well, 2016 saw the beginning of the end of that way of thinking having dominance. First 17.5 million Brits voted to leave the EU. Then 60 million Yanks voted for Donald Trump as their President. Then 20 million Italians rejected the status quo. That’s getting on for 100 million people who’ve already told the political elite: “We’ve had enough of you patronising us. Go forth and multiply.”
Hillary Clinton called them ‘the deplorables’. You couldn’t really make that up, could you? If you want to fuck your chances of becoming the most powerful person in the world, why don’t you just demonstrate, once and for all, that you are completely and fatally out of touch with what Richard Nixon called ‘the silent majority’?
And coming up, we have French elections; and later in 2017, German elections. Last time out, 35 million French votes were cast, so let’s just say they continue the trend, and half of them put two fingers up to the establishment. That’s another nearly 18 million to add to the total.
Forty four million Germans turned out in 2013. There’s a lot more at stake this time, so maybe even more will vote. Maybe Angela Merkel will win again. But in the week after the Brexit vote, two thirds of Germans thought she shouldn’t even stand in 2017.
Angela Merkel’s bloody nose
Frauke Petry, leader of the AfD Party (Alternative for Germany), is going to – at the very least – give Angela Merkel a bloody nose. The Germans are fed up with being the EU’s banker of first resort. It’s their tax money holding up Greece and Italy. They are so over their WW2 guilt.
So you can expect another 20 million or so added to the two-fingers brigade.
That’ll be, conservatively, 150 million people in the west throwing over the liberal truisms of the past 50 years.
And there are half a dozen other elections in Europe in 2017 – Albania, the Czech Republic, Hungary (watch out for that one! The Hungarians could not give two hoots for migrants or refugees, and have built two border fences to illustrate the point); Holland; Norway; Serbia; Slovenia.
By the end of 2017, then, it is not inconceivable that 200 million voters will have given their political elite the very strong message that they’d like to be taken just a little more seriously.
And if I were you, I wouldn’t be calling them ‘the deplorables’. I’d be trying to understand what it is they’re so cross about. The liberal left has increasingly had its own way politically in the west for 60 years. And the liberal left is really just a tiny minority; certainly a small elite.
A sea-change in political language
Take America, for instance. The liberal left exists down probably two-thirds of the west coast. Maybe 30 million people, if we assume they all think the same way (of course, they don’t); and another 10 million on the east coast, around New York. Other than that, apart from the political population of Washington DC, there are at least a quarter of a billion people whose way of life and way of thinking is anathema to the chatterati and the majority of media.
Similarly in the UK. Five million, maybe? Probably not, but let’s be generous, and say yes. Certainly, what Jeremy Corbyn laughably calls ‘the working class’ has no clue what Jeremy is talking about most of the time.
So, halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, are we seeing a sea-change in the political map? If a quarter of a billion voters are saying they’ve had enough of ‘fairness’, ‘equality’, ‘multi-culturalism’ and mass immigration, then the language, at the very least, has to change.
As those extreme liberal lefties in China are fond of saying: “May you live in interesting times”. Well, yes, we do.