Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nigel Farage and the Politics of Resentment

Nigel Farage Smug Enough 

Brexit happened for many reasons, but among them is one which is familiar to any American who has tuned into a Trump rally: resentment against an inchoate winner class. 

Nigel Farage, an English member of the European Parliament provided a vivid performance which revealed the monster behind the mask just after the votes were tallied.  Mr. Farage, who went to work in The City, the English version of Wall Street, after high school rather than going off to college, taunted the French, German, Spanish and Italian members, saying that despite their pedigrees and their elite status, none of them had ever had a proper job, or had ever had to meet a payroll or ever actually had taken entrepreneurial risks and so he, Nigel Farage, was actually their superior. And what really galled him, was how they had once  laughed at him, disrespected him years earlier when he spoke of England pulling out of the EU. 

"You laughed at me then," crowed Mr. Farage, "But you're not laughing now!"

You could just seen the shaved headed, tatooed, hunched crowd at a Trump rally raising a cry of exultation, had the Jumbotron been showing Mr. Farage's performance in New Hampshire. 

Mr. Farage has long railed about how the European Union has sneaked a political union into the structure of the EU, distorting and deforming treaties to serve the purposes of bureaucrats who desire a new world order.  I kept expecting him to invoke images of the black helicopters and blue helmeted soldiers who serve the nefarious will of the new world order, crushing the independent souls of sovereign nations like England. 
When England Stood Alone: Wasn't fun then. Won't be now. 

The survivalists of Wyoming and the Dakotas, who imagine they live off the grid,  and who  lay in arsenals of assault rifles in anticipation of the Armageddon which they know will come with those black helicopters and blue helmets, must be playing Mr. Farage on continuous youtube loop.

Stock markets seem to be settling down and now the pundits are saying, actually, Brexit will not shake the foundations of world economies, but rather it will likely affect only England much, and the European Union less. The former England of Great Britain will become less vital and might find itself not so Great, when Scotland and Northern Ireland separate to leave the English and when their restless Welsh cousins grumble about splendid singularity.
Global Warming Victim. Let's not think beyond our borders

Years ago, I traveled to Scotland where  merchants accepted my British pound notes,  but when I crossed the border into England, my Scottish pound notes were spurned as worthless.  I found this evidence of a certain arrogance on the English side. The Scots, then, as now, were open and welcoming,  where the English were not.  That same character flaw has not come home to roost for the English.  

To be sure, there are those in London who do not share the provincialism, who relish the hubub of the Babel of voices in London just as New Yorkers love the diversity of their city. But London is not England, and England not London, anymore than New York is Peoria. 

The English will have to work out their fate for themselves. The rest of us can only wish them well, but they have made their own bed. 

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