Gary Lineker has been coming out with some pithy, relevant comments recently on Twitter, and much like an essential feature of the game he professionally played, the result of the US election reveals a country of two halves.

Much like Brexit, this result and the corresponding lurch to the right, stem from inequality.  Unfortunately, and quite to the contrary of what these dispossessed people have voted for, the resulting administration now has the propensity to make their situation far worse.

It is one thing to be a demagogue and stand up and say what you think people want you to say.  It is another thing to deliver that change, especially when your agenda is probably quite different to the one you used to get into power.  So those people who voted for him must get used to the idea of getting disillusioned--especially with reference to “building the wall”--pretty soon.

But who can guess what is going on in Donald Trump’s mind?  It is certainly the case that he has supported Democrat candidates in the past and has sometimes appeared liberal in what he has said.   But he will feel the pressure of a resurgent Republican party and all the extremes that such an establishment contains and has no choice but to act accordingly. 

So the lurch to the right is now here to stay and may be enlarged by forthcoming elections in Europe.  All of us who are liberal and progressive are undoubtedly fearful.  We are fearful, in particular, of right-wing policies connected to: climate change; civil rights; growing nationalism; welfare; taxation and the handling of the economy in general.

The opportunity is there to be seized for liberalism, but we need to make the argument and in particular appeal to those who have been left behind.  In reality, no party has truly represented them for years.

In particular our ideas, campaigns and resulting policies must specifically address and advance how changes that have been brought about by exponential growth in technology and growing globalisation can and will be a benefit to all and not some.  Inequality is the great social evil of our times for those living in much of the developed world and has to be countered head on.

The right will not do this, much as they may claim otherwise.  Post Brexit and post Trump, if you are progressive, it’s not enough to stand around and despair.   We continue to develop at the SLF and invite you to get involved and help us shape a better, hopeful, sustainable future for all.

 

This blog originally appeared on the Lib Dem Voice website, libdemvoice.org.


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