Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Shania Twain and the Politics of Anger & Disenchantment

The Twitter mob was out in force at the weekend, brandishing their virtual pitchforks and tar and feathers because someone had opined about something in a way that they found unacceptable. Shania Twain, the country singer who went mainstream a few years ago with songs like That Don't Impress Me Much, Man! I Feel Like a Woman and the lovely You're Still the One, is on tour to promote her latest album. And so she gave an interview to that great moral arbiter The Guardian and thus her troubles started.

Because she said - and prepare yourself to be shocked - that she would have voted for, shock horror, Donald Trump. Quick! form a pile of her old albums and burn them. How do you burn streamed music though? 

Now there are a few things to observe here. First, Shania Twain is Canadian and so couldn't and didn't vote in the election anyway. Second, she is perfectly entitled to vote for, theoretically vote for or otherwise support anyone she likes. Her reasons for doing so, that Donald Trump is honest, are ridiculous. But perhaps she is not a keen follower of politics. Perhaps she just liked the rhetoric of the orange moron and that convinced her. But she didn't vote anyway and so why do we care? This is democracy. It is a sorry indictment of American politics that Trump was able to win by lying egregiously throughout the campaign and that he is getting away with doing so endlessly now he is in power but that is a failing of his political opponents who failed to expose him. The reason Trump is president now is not that he was a fine and truth telling candidate it's that Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate and couldn't beat him. Oh and the FBI didn't help either. It's unlikely that the Russians made much difference.

Trump is an appalling man, a pathological liar, an ignoramus, a fantasist, lazy, irrational and given to tantrums. But he has a gift for branding himself and of honing a message that appeals to substantial section of the public. He has also emerged at a time when there is anger and bitterness amongst large sections of the white working class who have been left behind by the new globalised economy.

Democracy is in crisis in the West at the moment but instead of wondering why the masses are revolting against the consensus the Guardianistas prefer to condemn and censor. It's as if they think that silencing people will somehow stop them holding opinions they don't like. They want safe spaces to prevent them hearing what ordinary people think and understanding why they are so angry and rebellious.

The same is true of Brexit and of the general attitude of the self appointed elite of Europe who do their best to ignore or actively subvert the will of the people and their anger and dismay at the direction of politics and this obsession towards a homogenous European future that nobody has ever voted for. Brexit happened for the same reason that Donald Trump has happened. Britain has always been a profoundly Euro sceptic country, always resistant to the federalist urge. Why it was a surprise when we voted the way we did says a lot for the state of denial that exists in large parts of the establishment.

But if there is anger now think what it will be like if the remainers succeed in preventing our leaving properly by keeping us in a customs union or perhaps even preventing us leaving at all as is clearly their intent.

Shania Twain apologised in the end, probably at the behest of her publicists, in much the same way that some companies have felt the need to apologise for advertising in the Daily Mail or otherwise enraging the bien pensants. She shouldn't have apologised. She should actually have told them all to get stuffed or words to that effect. The same is true of those of us who voted for Brexit. We voted the way we did and the polls suggest that opinions have not changed. If there were to be another referendum there is a strong likelihood that we would get the same result. Even if it were to be reversed it would be by a very small majority. But would that give the remainers pause? Would Europe rein in its vaunting ambition? No. They would see it as a green light, a mandate to take us in a direction we do not want. That, or a variation of it, is why there is anger and rebellion across Europe and the western world. The more the establishment ignore it, the worse it is going to get. If they succeed in diluting Brexit or stopping it then this country could easily explode, the Tory party could fracture and we could end up with a Marxist government. These are the stakes we are all facing. Democracy is messy. But it is being made messier by elitists only hearing what they want to hear and silencing those who disagree with them or who hold opinions they don't like.

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