Donald Trump makes a good point about speaking in civil terms about each other. How refreshing it will be to see him following his own advice. His oft-repeated description of his enemies and anyone who gets in his way as intellectually deficient, etc., etc. will now be heard no more. Except when it comes to all of his enemies and those who get in his way of course, like Robert de Niro for example, whose restaurant was threatened in a bomb attack, or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or Joe Biden, or – well, there’s quite a long list of people who by executive order will continue to be abused by Trump. Having said that, perhaps de Niro was asking for it when at an awards ceremony earlier this year he got a standing ovation merely for saying ‘Fuck Trump.’
This is a week when it’s been hard (and depressing) to know where to begin with our leaders’ hypocrisy and moral ambivalence. I note that the word ‘gaslighting’ is now achieving wider usage, used to describe the efforts of those in charge to make ordinary people wonder what it is they can reliably believe. Trump is too crude to make the best use of the technique, although as ever, one has to qualify that assessment with reference to the gullibility of his core support. But here in the U.K. (as we know) we are far more subtle, even to the point of not having to write down our constitution (since we’re all very civil and trusting). I wonder for how much longer we will be civil and trusting when every time another report comes out demonstrating how austerity has made things worse, the standard government line is ‘we’re spending more money on (the NHS/social services/police/education/transport- whatever, take your pick) than ever before? The abuse and misuse of political language has been around for a long time of course, and I would be the first to admit that New Labour was imbued with the culture of spin, but we now seem to be reaching new heights of infidelity to the truth. It seems now that everything that is said about our national or international state of affairs is said fully in the knowledge that no-one is really expected to believe it. And in the knowledge that democracy is always a few steps (at least) behind.