• Brexit plus the normalisation of the Ku Klux Klan and the oxygen of respectability for any collection of Far Right groups
• Brexit plus the resurgence of barbarism
• Brexit plus rabid anti-immigration and pro-racist pronouncements and policies that send out the most powerful signal that white America’s day and that especially of the American white working class has finally come and it is a day, a very long day, in which they have licence to do whatsoever they choose.
So, just as the Brexit vote triggered an upsurge of racist attacks and unrestrained expressions of hostility and visceral racism against global majority people who had come to believe that this was their country too, including those who were especially proud to call themselves British and were/are arguably making a far greater contribution to the society than their racist attackers, so did the Trump victory on 9 November 2016.
It was not surprising, therefore, to see Nigel Farage, still preening himself after delivering the biggest upset in British politics for generations, beaming at the world next to Donald Trump and claiming entitlement to curry favour on behalf of Britain with the newly elected leader of the most powerful nation on earth, thus massively adding substance to the ‘Special Relationship’ Britain has with the US.
The ‘Special Relationship’ was reputedly most ‘special’ under Thatcher and Reagan in the 1980s and under Blair and Bush in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2016 and towards 2020, it could be even more special under Farage (as a proxy for Theresa May) and Trump with whom he already has such a ‘special relationship’ and enjoys dollops of mutual admiration.
The British Government’s response to Trump’s call for Farage to be made the UK’s man in Washington was to tell Trump, obliquely, that appointing British ambassadors was not his call, but more pointedly to tell Farage that there was ‘no vacancy’ in the British Embassy in Washington. Bizarrely, Downing Street and Boris Johnson as May’s foreign secretary even engaged in discourse about the qualities and performance of the incumbent in that embassy, as if it might have been a different matter and a vacancy could have been engineered if those qualities and that level of performance had not been evident.
That most British of obfuscations, while not in the least unexpected, was interesting for the following reasons:
The commonality of language of Farage and Trump is instructive in this regard. Farage clearly sees himself as the architect of a revolution. He gloats about Britain gaining its ‘independence’; about ‘getting our country back’ (without being precise as to who had stolen or hidden it in the first place); about ‘securing our borders’ against the free movement of people; about giving Britain back to British people.
Trump talks about making America great again; about building walls and securing borders; about deporting illegals; about shoring up internal security; about taking the fight to terrorists at home and abroad; about restricting entry to Muslims until there is surety that they are not all terrorists.
This is all a perfect fit for a very ‘special relationship’, a relationship that will presumably facilitate free movement and international collaboration of fascist forces that lie along the spectrum I mentioned above and those already flexing their muscles in the USA.
Within hours of the Trump victory, whites in the USA, including school students, were taunting global majority people with the same hate-filled rhetoric used by Trump and his supporters: ‘Go back to Africa’; ‘why are you still here?’ (Georgia); ‘Build the Wall! Build the Wall’ (Royal Oak Middle School, Michigan); ‘White Power’, ‘White Power’ while waving images of Trump (York County Tech, Pennsylvania).
As in Britain, Africans and Asians were being randomly attacked, verbally abused and spat at on the streets, on the transport system and in other public spaces.
All of this is taking place against the background of a resurgence of racist violence both in the UK and the USA that we experienced in the run up to the UK referendum and the US presidential election.