Monthly Archives: November 2016

Five Parallels between Brexit andTrump

puzzle-268905_960_720On November 8th I went to bed feeling cautiously optimistic. Surely the American public can’t really elect someone like Donald Trump, I thought. The polls were putting Hilary Clinton in the lead.  I awoke the next morning and listened to the news in shocked disbelief. It was a feeling I remembered from June when, on the day of the EU referendum I also went to bed with the same optimism that surely everything would be OK, surely we wouldn’t really vote to turn our backs on the organisation that had protected me and safeguarded me all of my adult life, and I also woke to the devastating news of a terrifying unknown future.

That feeling of sickening dread and disbelief was so similar to how I felt the morning after the EU referendum that it got me thinking about other ways in which the two events were alike.

  1. The Polls. All through the EU referendum campaign the polls put Remain ahead. Sometimes Leave managed to close the gap a little but they were always far enough behind to make a victory for Leave look unlikely . Likewise during the US election campaign, although at times Trump managed to inch forwards in the polls he never got close enough to make a Republican win seem at all likely .
  2. The Lies. There were so many lies told by the leave campaigners that I wrote a blog post on the subject which you can read here. Trump’s campaign also did not let the truth get in the way of success. Trump said that Hilary Clinton wanted to let anyone come into the USA without doing anything about it. Trump also claimed that Obama founded ISIS and Hilary Clinton was the co-founder. I could go on but Trump’s lies would need a blog post all to themselves.
  3. The Slogans. Some of the slogans used by the Leave campaigners were remarkably similar to Trump’s slogans. “Let’s take back our country!” “Make America /Britain great again!” These slogans are actually completely meaningless but I can see how they might sound appealing if you don’t think too deeply about their lack of meaning.
  4. Targeting immigrants. With Trump it was Mexicans. With Brexit it was EU migrants and also, rather strangely, Turks, who are not even in the EU. Outlandish claims abounded about how many would arrive and what they would do .
  5. Hate crime. Perhaps partly as a result of number 4 above, hate crimes against foreigners increased after the referendum result and now sadly the same thing is happening in the USA. Trump’s appeal to the perpetrators to “stop it” is perhaps one of the most insincere things I’ve ever heard him say. I don’t think people suddenly started hating foreigners when before they hadn’t, but they believed that the vote legitimised their hatred. Whereas before they kept their hateful opinions to themselves, now they feel they have the right to act on them.

It has been said many times that the popularity of Trump and of Brexit are due to the fact that politicians are not listening to ordinary people. These are protest votes by people wanting change. But is this really the sort of change we want? By all means let’s protest and demand change but not like this. We are better than this.

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Six Things you might not Know about BBC Question Time 

  1. Last week I was lucky enough to be picked to be in the audience of BBC Question Time when it came to Gloucester. I even had my question selected which meant that I got to read it out. This was quite an accomplishment as 1000 people had applied to be in the audience, 150 were chosen and all of those 150 submitted at least one question.

This was my question:

I asked this question because Ken Loach himself was on the panel. He was brilliant; I recommend looking up the episode on iplayer or YouTube just to listen to Ken Loach .
Here is a video of my fifteen minutes of fame:  http://linkis.com/www.youtube.com/EfscJ

It was an amazing experience finding out about the show and being part of it. Here are six interesting facts about the programme that I learned .

  1. It is not broadcast live but it is filmed all in one go and broadcast exactly as filmed with no editing. They didn’t even bleep out the four letter word that one audience member used. We finished filming about an hour before it went on the air, giving me enough time to get home, pour myself a glass of wine and go on Facebook to tell all my friends to watch .
  2. You get tea, coffee and biscuits when you arrive.
  3. David Dimbleby is a lovely gentleman . He spoke to us all in a room before we started filming about what we should and shouldn’t do. (Do boo if you disagree with what someone is saying; don’t say hi to your mum.) He chatted and joked with us in a very natural and genuine way so you would never guess,  if you didn’t know, that he must make the same jokes to a different audience every week .
  4. They have a practice run with members of the audience sitting in for the panel in order to test the cameras and the sound. This is when someone reads all the questions and selects the ones to be used in the show.
  5. You only get to know just beforehand if your question has been picked. They interrupt the practice run to read out the names of the successful people who are then taken outside the room for a quick talk on how to read your question which is handed back to you printed on a piece of paper. Even then you can’t be sure that your question will be used because they have to pick more questions than they need just in case the debate dries up on one particular topic.
  6. The panel don’t know  what the questions are going to be so they have to think on their feet which some of them do better than others.