US politics affects British politics, and has done for about a century. But does British politics also affect US politics? Joe Biden seems to think that it does:
Former Vice President Joe Biden told supporters Thursday night Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s historic victory in Britain should send a warning to Democrats in 2020.
“Look what happens when the Labour Party moves so, so far to the left,” Biden said, predicting the headlines out of the parliamentary election results in Britain.
Biden commented on the British poll during a fundraiser in San Francisco.
Biden reminded Democrats that he was the candidate that could unite the party and defeat Trump, who he argued was similar to Johnson.
“You’re also going to see people saying, my god, Boris Johnson, who is kind of a physical and emotional clone of the president is able to win,” Biden said.
What’s interesting about this is that Biden came out and said this the moment the result was known. He didn’t wait until the next day. Why did Joe Biden think that what had just happened in distant, sleepy Britain mattered at all?
Perhaps it’s simply that the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place, and everybody is aware of the close proximity of everybody else.
When I first crossed the Atlantic from the UK to Brazil back in the mid-1950s, it was on a ship that took about two weeks to do it. Later I crossed on noisy propeller planes, and that took about 12 hours. My last flight by Boeing 707 jet took about half that time.
And pretty much the last long flight I ever took, from London to Japan, took me the full length of the whole of Russia in less than 12 hours. I spent hours gazing down on Siberia. So I’ve seen Russia with my own two eyes. I’ve seen the whole darn thing. And later that day I saw Mount Fuji in Japan, rising through clouds. The world seems a much smaller place when you can do something like that.
I also saw the first television broadcasts from the USA to Britain, sometime in the 1960s. Before that, the news from the USA would arrive the next day.
So we have a world which is increasingly synchronised. Everything happens at the same time everywhere.
The entire process might be (and perhaps actually is) called globalisation. And globalists are people who think of the whole world as one place, and don’t see any borders. And one of the new political divisions these days is between globalists on the one hand and nationalists or nativists on the other: between people who jet around the world, and people who stay in one place.
And these days I stay in one place: Herefordshire, England. I don’t want to go anywhere these days (and as I a smoker I’m not welcome anywhere anyway). So I’ve become a nationalist or localist or nativist, slowly putting down roots. And I think that the plain simple fact of life is that most people do live somewhere, and they get accustomed to life wherever they live, and come to identify with the places where they live. It’s their home. And they’re always glad to go back home. And that’s probably why there’s a rise in “national populism” in the face of globalisation. It’s a re-assertion of singular place and unique identity against global uniformity.
And the UK election last week was a re-assertion of British national identity. Britons said (once again) that they didn’t want to submerge into the bland conformity of the European Union. They wanted to run their own lives, and make their own laws. And in this respect they’re really no different from any other country in Europe. The French people want the same. And so do the Italians. So does everybody else, everywhere in the world.
But because our world is now so synchronised, the shock of this sort of re-assertion of local identity is felt instantaneously everywhere else, and by globalist politicians like Joe Biden who don’t understand the resurgence of nationalism and patriotism. But it’s really just an inevitable reaction to globalisation. If you spend your life travelling the world, eventually you just want to go home. Because there’s no place like home.