On Donald Trump’s last visit to the UK, a Scottish environmentalist famously disarranged his hairstyle by rubbing it with a balloon. The resulting photographs spoke to Leftists, who saw the mildly amusing stunt as a totemic symbol of defiance of ‘the establishment’. That activist later preened himself for prescience - “I’m glad the rest of the world is catching up now” - and considered auctioning the balloon for a relevant charity -
“It could be disabled people, Mexicans, Muslims – the trouble I’m having is deciding which charity gets the money, because he’s maligned so many different people.”
This is the 21st century British Leftist take on Trump, one we hear several times each day, shared in whole or in part by the 586,196 self-styled liberal-individualists who petitioned that Trump be excluded from the UK - passive-aggressive, faux-rebellious, masochistic, mawkish, morally certain and priggish, underpinned by dislike of America as exemplar of the West. If Trump gets the White House keys, their worst fears will be realised - their worldviews confirmed - their victim status confirmed - their virtues displayed - their souls purged of all impurities. Such a prospect surely ought to please British conservatives.
But many are - or were - ambivalent. A surprising number share anti-Americanism with the Left, although for opposite reasons. They are painfully aware of Britain’s long declension, and feel their old, still world-straddling country should not subsist in any superpower’s shadow, especially one which supposedly lacks history and sophistication. Although anti-Americanism is weaker in the UK than on the continent, Enoch Powell was always anti-American, while Harold Macmillan condescendingly compared the British-American relationship as being like that of the Greeks and Romans - England as brilliant originator, America as rough-hewn but better-organised follower.
Others snigger at all kinds of earnest religiosity and the vulgarity of US politics (as if British politics were not vulgar), recoil from written constitutions and widespread guns, or wince at some of Trump’s haltingly-expressed policy prescriptions. America may be the can-do society - but surely even Trump can’t do that!
And yet he did, and does, and promises more - and as GOP grandees hyperventilated, and his rallies swelled to rock-concert proportions, conservatives started to think they’d mistaken him, switching on eagerly each morning to see which sacred kine he had slaughtered overnight, whose balloons he had burst.
UKIP's Nigel Farage was an early adopter, backbench Tory MPs started to emerge as Trumpists, and Brexiters were cheered by his support after Obama’s greatly-resented pro-EU intervention. Meanwhile, those Tories who had been quickest to denounce for what had seemed like perfectly politic reasons are dismounting undignifiedly from high horses, with Cameron now preparing for a visit from the man he still calls "divisive, stupid and wrong", while Boris Johnson may have started to merge into him. The deck is being reshuffled in a rush, and all places are being set out again, as a lively new chapter in our needed-resented “special relationship” is about to open.
- Derek Turner has appeared in a number of top-notch news outlets, including Taki's, Chronicles and the Times. If you think this article was good, you'll probably like his last book. If you didn't, then you probably won't like this other book he wrote either.
Follow him on Twitter: Follow @DerekTurner1964 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out some other articles from Derek Turner:FLIGHTS OF FANCY
A HIGH VOLTAGE VOTE
BREXIT - AND BREXISTENCE