Succession

So President Trump has turned out to be a comedy show. Tragedy as farce. The question now moves on. Noone gets their ‘Ding Dong Witch is Dead’ moment.

Outcome 1: Trump resigns/is impeached/melts and Pence becomes President.

He is much more competent than Trump with the added bonus of being just as batshit. Hard to see how the GOP don’t see this is as the ideal outcome and hard to see how it will be avoided. The office of POTUS being devalued is not an option and everyone feels relief that the incompetent man baby is gone and Pence enjoys a strengthened mandate. Women are fucked. Ethnic Minorities. LGBT community. Politics as usual.

Institutional resilience test of Trump serves as a warning to those with power and we all move onto a toxic new normal. While the liberal left scream vindication at Trump leaving.

Power

Power. Every great economist, every great political thinker, has reflected on power.We don’t reflect on power. We don’t reflect on the complexity of the power relations that shape our lives, Suzanne Moore said you’d be better getting married than reading Foucalt if you wanted to understand power. It’s easier to reflect on power when you are powerless and looking at what is shaping your life than it is to reflect on power you exercise. Power corrupts, or so am told, and I can quite believe it. Social work is one long reflection on power, unequal power relations equal violence, oppression and abuse. That type of reflection is necessary to stay sane when you are intervening in people’s family life, or dealing with the vulnerable. You have to be aware of how you are shaping situations and how your presence is impacting what you can see. I don’t imagine that is easy when you have power over millions.

When I joined twitter it was notable to me that the people in this stupid little chatroom were the people who made and shaped policy felt by millions. Watching their reactions to mixing with the world now they didn’t have elite institutions to protect their isolation at the top of a hierarchy. It’s no secret how it turned out. Media figures abusing and defaming people, and the christening of a chatroom as the future of media. What if the problem is bigger than the centre left abusing those they disenfranchise?

THis is a generation of political class who only really understand exercising power without reflection. Who are used to being detatched from those whose lives they shape. It was easy in the first four or five years on twitter to make your point direct to those with power, to interrupt their narratives. Focus E15 gained prominence because their occupation of a housing estate was publicised on twitter during party conference. I was able to write for the nationals and to generate a list of enemies who really shouldn’t know my name. If I wanted something in the papers, there was usually a way to get it there. What if the consequence of media power moving to a digital environment are more serious. If they can’t reflect on power they have, how do they know when they are giving it away? How do you put a genie back in a bottle?

My gut is that the astroturf of the alt-right and hard left is shallow. An inch deep and a mile wide. But the revelation of the culture underpinning media, politics and policy makers wasn’t just open to us. We don’t exist in isolation. If this culture cannot even reflect on power they are giving a chatroom, and feel personally injured by people whose reality impacts their identity, what have other world powers been seeing? If a gobshite single mum from Todmorden,  or a group of housing activists in London can disrupt media narratives, is it really a surprise that social media is the ideal tool to disrupt an election?

If these people can’t reflect on the power they hold, how will they know when they don’t hold it any more?  Will they be like Merovingian Kings wearing the empty robes of power as it falls out of their hands? Who will inherit what they lose and how will it be used?

I really don’t think the policy and media culture outraged at Trump on twitter understand what they have done. The way the power they had can morph and pass to someone else. They have been insulated from it forever. They don’t even know how to reflect on this, the chances of them doing so are slim. Inequality is a euphemism for power. Dynamics between groups, between nations, between individuals, institutions. An inequality crisis is one where unequal power relations are driving crisis. The economists and political thinkers who have reflected on power have usually been given the opportunity to reflect on power by crisis. That crisis would appear to be here.

Trump: The Long Fart

For the world’s scariest dictator, noone is afraid to mock or ridicule Trump. The fears of 1984 are overplayed. Doublespeak and that level of control requires people to buy into that system. That isn’t happening. While we are looking for our 1984 moment we are ignoring that this is 2017. Trump is incompetent, vain, stupid, and doesn’t appear to know how to operate the machinery he sits on. While every liberal this side of the universe is shouting about resisting Trump, the real problem may be much bigger.

The best strategy with Trump may be to sit back, use him as a test of institutional resilience and let him fuck himself over. The problem he poses is not addressed by this. He is President of the United States and every test of institutional resilience has to undermine that office and isolate it. Resisting Trump means the office has to be devalued.

I am not one to share posts from Conservative Home(although I read it occasionally) but it may be time to differentiate the passenger from the driver.

We have international crisis played out as dinner theatre, facebook pictures of the guy who carries the nuclear codes, and the endless stream of twitter stupidity. We have gamergate in the Whitehouse and Putin is delighted. And I doubt he is the only one. While this office is made ridiculous a space opens up for power to realign and resisting Trump is what will create that space.

There is no choice but to limit the power of a man baby in that office.

The question of whether you are in conflict with someone doesn’t depend on your participation or awareness. I don’t want to type the words but the Catch 22 Trump represents is uniquely dangerous.

How long can Russia be at war with us, while we pretend it isn’t so? How long can we pretend that Europe is not bookended by threats and how long can we pretend that the vacuum created by a narcissistic man baby as the first twitter president(and his lefty mirror image as leader of the opposition here) is not dangerous? Obama was not a saint. Obama did not understand the threat Russia posed and I wonder how long before we are dragged from slumber to recognise the situation we are in.

We have a political class who by their nature cannot reflect on power dynamics, and those dynamics are changing rapidly. How long before we realise the situation we are in? And how long before they do?

The first Conservative on the role of an MP and his relationship with public opinion.

Edmund Burke;

‘But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgement, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you; to any man, or to any set of men living. These do not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays you, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion’.