Politics is a funny old game, and it’s evident that the board has taken a fundamental shift to the right. This all seems like a bolt out of the blue right? Wrong. Don’t worry though, I myself have fallen foul in multiple conversations where the words “I genuinely didn’t see Brexit happening” have fallen out of my mouth.
Still to this day, I find myself asking out loud, “Is Donald Trump really the President of the United States?”
Most people know of the famous quote, “know your past to understand the present and shape the future.” This is even more pertinent in our situation here in the UK as well as across the globe. Take a moment to step away from the current chaotic landscape and cast your magnifying glass over the last century, you’ll see that we actually shouldn’t be surprised that far right views and policies have come to fruition. It’s happened many times before. Why? The pattern emerges during specific periods, times of financial crises.
History shows that far right movements tend to benefit more from economic instability than those of the far left. A study spanning across 800 elections, 20 countries and over 140 years found that far right political parties see around a 30% vote share increase within the first 5 years of a financial crisis. OK, so why is this? Is it just a coincidence? I’m not expert when it comes to politics but I think not.
Put simply. Financial messes are made by humans. Tensions are high because people are out of pocket and need someone to blame.
In steps the far right! A financial crisis is the perfect catalyst to manipulate, scapegoat, divide and blame. Traditional far right campaigns tap into the public’s vulnerabilities during, and after major recessions, alluding to the idea that the world has become lawless and disorderly. The aim being to convince people that a hardline approach will help put the world to rights.
During times of crisis' both the elite and minorities are the classic scapegoat, although I’d argue that the latter usually get the raw end of the hate. Currently immigrants are the silver bullet to the right wing arsenal. According to these groups, immigrants are either eating up all the resources away from the natives or they pose a criminal and terror risk, completely ignoring any benefits from their integration.
Trump’s momentum evolved from the idea of building a wall across the Mexican border and using the theme 'America First'. Many pro-Brexiters voted to leave the EU based on a promise that Britain would have better control over its borders. The same can be seen in other European countries such as France, the Netherlands and Austria. The general rhetoric is that separating a section of society will provide greater wealth and stability for the majority. Ironically, these politicians are actually more likely to cause even more chaos and instability.
On a positive note… I say sheepishly behind my leftie sofa, the same study also shows a trend of far right spikes losing momentum and fizzling out about 10 years after a global financial crisis.
I flick through my calendar to calculate dates from our last recession. We're now nine years in, Brilliant! Not long left… right? So why isn’t this surge fading? Why does is feel like it’s getting worse?
I truly believe things will improve eventually but I am concerned that some of the decisions we are making now will have longer lasting effects on human relationships for years to come. Strap yourselves in for more difficult times ahead.
I promise this wasn’t meant to be a doom and gloom piece, even though some may interpret it to be. I guess what I want you to take away from this is that we are all creatures of habit. Everything happening now isn’t exactly new. We need to avoid the same pitfalls of the past. I’ll refer back to the quote “know your past to understand the present and shape the future” take time to look back and compare it with what is going on now, do you see any similarities? More importantly then focus on what YOU can do to help create a new narrative for the future.
My name is Mickel, I am the new BDM for Beatfreeks (fist bump!). I'm here to build relationships and bursting to develop something creative and cool together. Ready? What are we waiting for? Let's go!