Going Home

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.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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2 Responses to Going Home

  1. Fumo ergo sum says:

    I think there is another reason why “staying wherever you are” is the best among attainable options these days. And it also has to do with globalisation. I actually love(d) travelling to other cities and countries and to indulge myself in its local culture, history and above all its gastronomy. Not that I have travelled to Japan so far – even though I think it must be an awesome destination – so I usually travelled within Europe, which is in itself tremendously rich in its diversity. But due to globalism, most European cities gradually resemble one another – most notoriously larger cities and capital cities. You will encounter the same soulless shopping streets where herds of mindless consumers besiege the same soulless megastores that can by found from Stockholm down to Rome, such as C&A, Apple, Zara, H&M or local spinoffs of those expensive shopping factories. A shopping experience that at the end of the day will turn in a culturally ‘most enriching’ gastronomic experience at a typically ‘French’, ‘Italian’ or ‘British’ branch of Starbucks, McDonald’s or KFC. Whether you are in Brussels, Lyon or Munich, you will be permanently surveilled by an extensive network of CCTV-cameras – so that you can get conditioned into conformist thought and behaviour,… eeehm, I mean, all these cameras are meant ‘for your own safety’, of course. Visiting a museum is, some notable and honorable exceptions notwithstanding, like being dropped at a kindergarten where you will actually not even have the opportunity to stroll around the halls and the many artworks on display at a quiet pace. Instead, you will be distracted all the time with countless ‘touchscreens’, ‘interactive tools’ and many other utterly redundant gimmicks. In any case, they are there so that the chiiiiildren (how do you mean, you come on your own?…) can amuse themselves as well during their one hour stay. Then there is of course also the environmentalist craze taking possession of every single European town, making itself manifest in phenomena ranging from expensive recyclable bags to overprized parking-lots.

    I am probably generalizing too much, yet I cannot get rid of the impression that Europe’s cities are gradually all bathing in a same blunting, egalitarian and globalist atmosphere which is not enchanting at all. It is on the contrary plainly repulsive. The problem with globalism, therefore, is not only that it destroys “one’s own” immediate environment where one lives – be it one’s town, village, province or country – but that, in the same vein, it levels out or destroys other cultural environments as well. I therefore scorn those globalists pretending that ‘the whole world is their home’, because they fail to discern the rich variety of other cultures, people, customs and religions that inhabit that very world about which they presumptuously speak. I asume they actually take no interest at all in other cultures and people, or even hate them, because when they would effectively take interest in those other cultures and places, they would have to reckon that there effectively are things and persons that are other than themselves. And this is something that globalism, which tries to erase every single difference in habit, value or quality from the world, cannot en will not endorse.

    Almost needless to say that the most evil of all curses that globalism has put on Europe (and I asume on the whole world…) are those vile and brutish smoking bans that are everywhere. And that have as a consequence that all bars, taverns and pubs, wherever you go, all look as appalling and unwelcoming as anywhere else. For that is also a common characteristic of whichever city I visited the last decade: my citytrip ending with a break somewhere ‘in exile’, which often makes me even wonder why I asked for a vacation leave at all (at work I am at least CERTAIN that my daily couple of exiles are sheltered!). And yes, it is to a very large extent due to these smoking bans that whenever I think of a new city or region to visit I no longer reflect once or twice, but even three or four times whether I really want or need to go there at all. And the last couple of years, I noticed that the answer to myself is more often a ‘no’ than a ‘yes’, and even if it is affirmative, I make sure that I can be back home within a mere three days maximum. So I too am gradually ‘putting down roots’ in the contingent spot where I happen to live in the old duchy of Brabant, Belgium. Because there is no place where I must go, let alone need to move to, instead.

  2. Timothy Goodacre says:

    I tend only to go to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or Scandinavia. Definitely not anarchic France !

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