There’s something quite heartening about the public nature of this latest spat between “our” leaders. Over a number of years, the liberal consensus they expressed by way of their nakedly capitalist – okay, maybe not “naked” but with a lot of skin on display in those supposedly “free trade” agreements – and the domestic policies locking in opportunities for corporate profits off the back of public investments – that whole caboodle seemed quite unassailable from the perspective of the street.
Anyone care to recount all the acronyms of the various “trickle down will see you right” trade agreements, and unsuccessful popular protests that accompanied their passing over past years?
It didn’t seem to matter that the so-called liberal consensus didn’t expand much beyond various corridors of power. There was medicine to be dished, profits to be manufactured and a mean, lean world, befitting the finest and greatest to be gained.
Then came Donald. Well, actually, first came a steady stream of politicians who claimed they’d represent an expression of the disenchantment that was easy enough to discern on the streets and in the lives of those of us who had been medicated with spoonfuls and little brown bottles worth of TINA (there is no alternative). Donald, like Trudeau or Macron are pretenders. They claimed they’d represent the interests of the downtrodden and fcked over, but they don’t – they represent the interests of money and power.
Thing is, they seem to have different ideas about how to go about executing that representation. The liberal consensus – usually referred to as “the Washington Consensus” is fraying.
Is it desperation and stubbornness that’s on display in the photograph that was circulated from the G7 summit? Swapping out Trump for some naughty schoolkid and the others for a gaggle of school teachers keen to impress on him the gravity of whatever he’s done…or maybe a resident in a retirement home being assailed by frustrated nursing home staff and carers?
Whatever, the follow-up statements from Trudeau (who’s in the shit in the Canadian polls) and Macron (who’s in the shit in domestic polls) and May (who’s just in the shit) are kinda funny when seen in the light of it being one of their own who’s (seemingly) on the verge of destroying the house of cards that they and their predecessors have built and maintained in the face of popular opposition.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no more a fan of Trump that I am of May, or any of the rest of whatever gaggle likes to meet to make “big decisions” that will also impact on us – the ‘bit parts’ or inconvenient realities who form a more or less inconsequential part of their deliberations. But for now, for a moment, there’s a certain amount of amusement to be had watching these self aggrandising clowns run around in a flap having a go at one another.
I’m not saying it will end well. “Ending well” would require us getting our shit together and being done with them and all of their nonsense. That may happen. Who knows?