Perhaps it’s inevitable, but it seems that as soon as anyone is put in a position of authority, they will start to abuse the power they’ve been given. And instead of regarding themselves as temporary representatives of the people who put them there, they start thinking that they and they alone know best what’s good for everyone.
It’s as if when a man becomes a bus driver, driving a bus from Bradford to Burnley, he will pretty soon take it into his head to drive from Bradford to Birmingham instead, ignoring the protests of his irate passengers, and telling them that he knows better than they do where they should be going. He’s in control, and they should stop complaining.
Once there is a mechanism of top-down control, top-down control is inevitably increasingly exerted. And that’s our world today. We have authorities of every kind telling people that they know what’s good for them. So there’s Tobacco Control, and Gun Control, and Climate Control, and Thought Control, and increasing top-down Control of more or less everything. And sitting in their seats in the bus, the powerless passengers become more and more enraged, and shouting at the driver: You should be going where we want to go, not We should be going where you want to go.
Us Brits voted for Brexit because we wanted the British government to represent the British people. We wanted to take back control from the top-down rulers in an increasingly tyrannical EU. Whether we’ll get what we wanted is another question, but that’s what we wanted.
And Americans voted for Donald Trump, because they wanted a president who was one of them, with the same values as them, and working on their behalf, unlike an American political class which had ceased to represent the American people, in the same way that the European political class had ceased to represent the peoples of Europe.
Today there are two events in the USA, both of which illustrate the problem.
Firstly in Virginia there is going to be a protest against the top-down control of the Democratic state governor, who is trying to take guns away from Virginians.
And then in Washington there begins today the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. And that is essentially the American political class setting out to take back control from someone who they think should never have been elected to the highest office in the land, because he was an outsider with no political experience, and not one of them.
They’ve been trying to get rid of him from even before he got elected. They thought that the long-running Mueller investigation would do it, but it turned out to be a dud. And so now, with opinion polls predicting that Trump will get an even larger vote in the November presidential election than he did four years earlier, they’ve decided to invoke the nuclear option, and remove him from office via the process of impeachment, before he can get a renewed mandate from the American people.
So, as I see it, the American political class is about to take back control over the American people. And they’ll probably succeed. All they need is about 20 Republican Senators to find him guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, and he will be removed from the office of President of the United States.
Will a Republican Senate vote to convict a Republican President? My answer is: Yes. Because this isn’t Democrats versus Republicans, but the American political class versus the American people. The American political class – all the Bushes and Clintons and Romneys and Pelosis – is about to take back control.
Donald Trump is calling it a coup, because that’s what it actually is. He hasn’t committed an impeachable offence, but that doesn’t matter: all that matters is that 20 Republican senators wrongly find him guilty of one.
I fear that what we are about to witness over the next few days and weeks will simply be a protracted show trial that will end with Donald Trump being removed from office.
What will happen then, I do not know.
Will the American political class be able to re-exert the control they lost four years ago? Will George W Bush and Barack Obama and other past political luminaries step forward to “unite the country”? Will Hillary Clinton announce that she’s running for the presidency in November? Or will the American people explode with anger in response to a transparent, slow motion political coup?
We have the same problem in Britain. The British political class lost control of Britain four years ago, and have been trying to regain control ever since. It’s not clear at present whether Boris Johnson is any less a member of the British political class than his predecessor Theresa May was. We’re supposed to leave the EU in 10 days time, but we will be leaving for the third time. Are we really going to leave this time?
There’s the same problem in France. And in Italy. And in Spain. There’s the same problem everywhere.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope that the Republican Senate remain loyal to their Republican President. But I fear that many of the Senators have loyalties that lie elsewhere.