Do Relationships Matter?
I posted a picture on the weekend from Steve Bell, the satirical cartoonist in The Guardian. In it he describes the relationship of the British Prime Minister Theresa May and Donald J Trumpton of the United Statues of Umerica, and the erm...positional stance of both. A South African friend messaged asking me to elaborate, so I've tried.
Come What May
Most of the people I know in Britain are pro-Europe. Theresa May herself can see the merits, but has been dealt a Brexit hand and believes that's what the public wants - 51% voted to leave and, in my opinion, that was largely based on the premise that they can stop immigration and a huge sum of money (namely 350 million pounds a week) given to the EU will instead be provided to the beloved NHS. Neither of these is true and was quickly denounced by the Leave Campaign once the votes were counted.
Before the Brexit vote May stated that the economic arguments were clear and that being part of a 500-million population trading bloc is significant for us (UK). We know this because she chimed "I think the economic arguments are clear ...being part of a 500-million population trading bloc is significant for us." She added "a lot of people will invest here in the UK because it is the UK in Europe". Seems astute. Since Brexit the EU leaders have effectively said va te faire foutre. Worth looking up if you wanted to impress your French boss.
Membership Fees and Costco
The whole point of having an EU was to get better trading deals through collaboration (and to try to stop war between the countries through joint industry). Naturally those not part of that block would welcome the change if it gained them an economic advantage in dealing with a smaller community. The way I envisage this (God help us - Ed) is going to something like Costco where you can get everything in one store. If those prices aren't to your liking, you can oust Costco and go straight to the supplier, but then you're doing Costco out of their % and sourcing control. Now that may not be a bad thing for you as a buyer and it's a minor loss to Costco - it's a big unit and can probably survive. However, if more and more people do that, Costco loses its market share and collapses, meaning you have a free for all where you contact the suppliers directly as Costco no longer exists. Now being a supplier, things have got infinitely more difficult. I have to source all my buyers once again, enact trading deals with everyone and may not have the steady stream of income and protection that Costco once afforded me. All Buyers have a membership card and pay for use of Costco, as too perhaps would the suppliers. It's an exclusive club: no fee then no access to the best stuff. What Britain want to do is not pay the Membership Fee, have the ability to change the rules of the club, but still use the facilities.
Economically USA will, I think, get stronger under Trump as he is very America First. If a country is America First vs Harmony, then you wonder what we (UK, Aus, Anyone) will get out the relationship. Not that every country doesn't look after their own but having such a forthright 'America First' policy whilst cutting basic medical care and funding for NGOs that support abortions does ring hollow, denouncing media and facts like something from 1984, banning some reporters and free speech, and whilst building walls the likes no one has seen since Berlin. And that wasn't widely seen as a positive step. As for announcing a National Day of Patriotic Devotion, I've seen things like that before, but mostly in North Korea. What's the next step - if you don't celebrate today you're un-American and therefore un-patriotic? It's a dystopian view, and to quote Radiohead "when I am King you will be first against the wall, with your opinion which is of no consequence at all"
The America First policy comes at a price of alienating what most left-leaning people believe in. I don't need to tell you about Trumps first week (the erudite Waleed Aly does that very well below) but any affiliation or association to something you ethically and morally disagree with is widely perceived as bad news. Trump has said that 'Brexit is going to be a wonderful thing for your country' yet that entirely depends on perspective (Scotland, North Ireland, London, 50% of Wales and immigrants don't think so) and the economic deals struck. If May cannot secure good deals with Europe and other countries, then Brexit will be a fu**ing disaster. Oh also throwing people out of your country etc isn't that awesome.
As for Trump and his media strategy of denouncing anything he disagrees with, it's baffling. Anyone can say the media are lying: Rolf Harris did it, for example, and that turned out...oh yeah. If I believe that the media are one-sided, bias and don't report the facts, I'm entitled to that opinion. If the media then report that I believe everything they print is utter lies, does that make my belief untrue because they printed the truth of my belief that everything they report is lies? Quite simple it's a slippery path of utter bullshit. I think the term 'alternative facts' probably coins it nicely. The whole point of a fact is...ayyyeee!! (Everyone knows what a fact is, Reed - Ed)
As for May's immense feet, she wore (once? often? no idea) leopard print pointy shoes and these have been elongated more and more ever since to that of a witch or a court jester. It seems that although clowns were topical in 2016, they'll be front line in 2017.
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