A Trump-Boris-Farage coalition? We need Europe more than ever
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The EU might not be perfect, but we need it more than ever to provide an antidote to the politics of Trump, Johnson and Farage, writes JENNA NORMAN.
Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump walk into a bar. They all order milkshakes. Our democracy is the punchline.
Donald Trump has arrived in the UK to all the fanfare of a state visit. Asked last week if he would sit down with Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, and prime ministerial candidate, Boris Johnson, Trump said: "Well I may...Nigel Farage is a friend of mine, Boris is a friend of mine. They're two very good guys, very interesting people...and I think they're big powers over there I think they've done a good job."
While the Left is busy arguing amongst ourselves, the far-right are connecting, collaborating and organising before our very eyes. And we've been here before. There are contemporary elements sure, the introduction of social media has allowed new levels of connectivity and new places to hide the trails of dark money and data. But the old boys' network carving up the world any which way they see fit, that's nothing new. Neither is it new that the populist right thriving off economic vulnerability and inequality.
There's no shying away from it anymore: opposing Brexit is central to opposing facism in whatever toupeed form it takes. At another time in history, with another government and another political narrative, maybe going it alone wouldn't be so dangerous. But we do not live in another time.
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We live in the now. In the now where Donald Trump - TV personality, billionaire, accused sexual predator and criminal - is the President of the United States of America. In the now where we know the Leave campaign broke the law. In the now where all our likely future Prime Ministers want to drive the country over a cliff it has clearly indicated it wants to draw back from. Where the three men at the heart of these scandals could meet in our capital city next week to plot and plan our futures.
In this now, we need the EU more than ever. Of course it's not perfect, but the European Union provides commitments to democracy, peace, justice and equality. These commitments are not subject to short-lived political cycles or personality-tribes. They hold states and individuals to account. They provide supranational commitment to workers rights, women's rights, environmental protection and so much more. They are the very opposite of Johnson-Farage-Trump's grand plans.
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Populism wants to make us all feel dependent on these strongmen. We must remember the power that we hold. In 2017, a new wave of leftism seized a generation of young people. It rippled around the world from Spain to the United States. It changed the conversation and engaged people who had never been involved in politics before: ethnic minority groups, young people, women and the poor. It was seismic and it was powerful. This wave has hit a Brexit-shaped iceberg. The Labour leadership's euroscepticism has demoralised and confused a movement ready to lead the fightback for our climate, for our NHS, our jobs and our rights. And yet if the European election results showed us anything it's what a different 'now' we could be in if the left united to fight Brexit.
So let's do that. Alongside the pomp of the royal guard, when Trump visits he will also be greeted with a wall of people-powered resistance at the Stop Trump march on Tuesday. Let's harness that disruptive passion and turn it against the old boys' Brexit. It's time to activate and organise. Because they already are.
- Jenna Norman is a campaign coordinator for Women for a People's Vote