Dan Boyle: Both Imposters The Same

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From top: Nigel Farage and Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign; Dan Boyle

Oscar Wilde once described fox hunting as the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable. A similar literary formula could be used to describe Brexit. The unbearable seeking the unattainable. The ineffable in pursuit of the incoherent. The graceless looking for honour.

In parallel with the Trump presidency, it and Brexit have been the political realities which never could be described in any fiction, nor lampooned through any satire.

These are the campaigns that have shown there are no depths of hate or ignorance that can’t be plumbed to achieve success, at least in the short term.

Neither phenomenon has been a flash in the pan. Each has been building their coalitions over decades. The Trump coalition a natural consequence of years of softening up the required parts of the US electorate using actual Fake News, purveyed largely by Fox News then amplified, however ridiculously, by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Alex Jones.

No conspiracy has been too cracked, no lie too lurid, to plant as many poisonous seeds into the minds of pliable believers.

The final push has been made possible by WikiLeaks, owned by the once liberally loved Julian Assange, who showed himself no different than many in politics, in putting into practice the maxim that Knowledge is Power, to be used against those you dislike most.

Brexit can best be seen as Margaret Thatcher’s revenge. Her acolytes, shamed at the manner of her disposal, took up her torch striving to stretch her dogmatism to previously undreamt levels. They became John Major’s ‘bastards’ almost scuppering the Maastricht Treaty.

Their failure saw shadow Tories exert external pressure on the party. James Goldsmith, ironically elected as a MEP in France, set up the Referendum Party, ploughing £20million of his money into the venture.

The 1997 British general election was the party’s chosen field in combat. Goldsmith stood against the risible Tory Minister, David Mellor, who lost the seat despite and not because of the intervention.

The Labour landslide meant the Referendum Party’s 2.5% of the national vote had no effect on the national result. Goldsmith died a number of months later. Many who followed his cause drifted into the then nascent UKIP.

Through a succession of European Elections UKIP won 3 seats in 1999; 12 in 2004; 13 in 2009; before becoming the largest UK political party represented in the European Parliament with 24 seats in 2014. This was followed by a number of Tory defectors winning by elections to give the party its first House of Commons seats.

This led Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron, to recklessly promise a referendum in his party’s 2015 general election manifesto.

When held in 2016 that appalling campaign, without any kind of independent oversight, produced the result we continue to live with. Cameron could have reneged, he could have even delayed, and the result would have been so different.

Peak UKIP had already been reached. The party has had four different leaders since the nefarious Nigel Farage stood down in 2016. Its 24 MEPs have been reduced to 7.

Three new political parties have been established in its wake, including the it does what it says on the tin ‘Brexit’ party set up by Farage. One of its former MEPs now claims to represent the re-incarnated Social Democratic party.

Logic doesn’t come into it. While these are the historical facts of how Brexit thinking came into being, and has since steeply declined, they are far from the only factors as to why Brexit exists.

Liberal hubris has also been instrumental. Progress can never progress if too many get left behind. It’s clear with the advent of both Trump and Brexit many have been discarded by what was before.

Brexit isn’t inevitable but it is becoming increasingly unlikely it can be reversed. Maybe the UK needs to live through the inherent contradictions of Brexit before sense and logic returns. We shouldn’t be paying for their mistakes though.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. He is running in the local elections in Cork in May  for the Greren Party.  His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: Getty

46 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Both Imposters The Same

  1. f_lawless

    that’s a really low blow at Julian Assange – to reduce the invaluable service he’s done to expose corruption at the heart of the US political system down to some sort of grudge-bearing escapade. The man has had his back up against the wall for over six years now, trapped by the British; Western establishment baying for his blood; options for him fast running out – and you’re criticising him because he hasn’t been impartial enough?

    1. Hansel

      Assange allowed his organisation to be heavily used and abused by the Russians. The book “The Red Web” is enlightening in this regard. Written by some Russian journalists, it shows how Wikileaks were only too willing to help certain very undesirable characters.
      Snowden also got into bed with the devil, in that regard.

      I would have previously had thought of both as being “the good guys” but after reading that book, I’d say their motivations were unfortunately not always totally pure.

      1. f_lawless

        Could you define “used and abused”? From my understanding Wikileaks has an impeccable track record of only releasing authentic material in all the years its been around. Or can you point out otherwise? It’s been years since the DNC leak and the US authorities have failed to provide any real proof that the servers were hacked. In fact the FBI never even used their authority to forensically examine the servers themselves. Funny that.

        For those ready and willing to dismiss the invaluable service provided by Wikileaks to US public (by releasing details of systemic corruption within their political system) in favour of “Russian meddling” narratives, I would say perhaps you should consider that you’ve been propagandised. ;)

        1. Hansel

          Some people on Wikileaks payroll are in some cases the people on Putin’s payroll.
          You can read about some of it on the Wikileaks wikipedia page, tbh

          High-up employees of Wikileaks prevent anything that harms the Russian Government from leaking and they active collude with fancy bear, cozy bear and other even more powerful teams within the FSB.

          Either the French, German, UK, US and other intelligence agencies and Russian internet freedom activists are ALL simultaneously wrong and the FSB and Wikipedia just happen to align on a massive amount of topics, or perhaps they have a point.

          1. bisted

            …wow…you seem to know your stuff Hansel…remind us again…who was it tapped Frau Merkel’s phone?

          2. Hansel

            Bisted, I can’t seem to reply to you directly, but I’d suspect it was probably the CIA/NSA/another horrendously nefarious US “security” agency.

            Is your point that “other countries are bad too”, that “US security agencies use dirty underhand tactics” or that “the US agencies would stoop at little to get their way”? I’d agree with all of that.

            But I also believe that Assange and wikileaks have uncomfortable links to Russian state security companies. Those two aren’t mutually exclusive at all.

    2. Starina

      Assange worked with the Trump campaign to get him elected, he can go up himself. Check out Xeni Jardin’s writings about him.

      1. bisted

        …don’t know if he assisted the Trump camp but Assange had every reason to be fearful of crooked Hillary being elected…didn’t she want to see him ‘taken out’ by drone…

          1. Starina

            Yeah I did, after she beat Bernie. You expect me to waste my vote on Jill Stein, or write in Bernie’s name? I don’t want him to run again, and I don’t want Hilary to run again, either; they’re both tainted.

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            Nah he’s quaking in his boots due to lack of vitamin D from all those years being a shut in.

    3. Termagant

      “Julian Assange, who showed himself no different than many in politics, in putting into practice the maxim that Knowledge is Power, to be used against those you dislike most.”

      Julian did what he has always done, what he’s known for doing – releasing information. That all of a sudden he’s releasing information harmful to someone on your side doesn’t mean he’s abruptly apropos of nothing developed an allegiance to your enemies.

      1. Nigel

        Good luck with telling people whose enemies he helped that he’s not on the sides of their enemies. It’s not very persuasive.

        1. f_lawless

          I agree, such is the level of propaganda and tribal identity politics out there. It’s gotten to point now where any politician or political commentator who voices their doubts about establishment media narratives, is immediately smeared as a “Russian asset” and the majority seem to go along with it.

          1. Nigel

            He did his bit to help Trump win. How and why he decided to do that may one day be fully known, or maybe not. Meanwhile, anyone who wants Trump to lose would be an idiot to not expect more of the same.

          1. Nigel

            Telling people that the guy who went out of his way to help their enemy to win isn’t himself their enemy, and that they’re insane for judging him by his actions, is certainly preachy, but also more like gaslighting thank anything else.

          2. Termagant

            He didn’t go out of his way. He did nothing he didn’t usually do. Publishing sketchy documents leaked from sketchy people is his vocation, if you don’t like it tell Hillary not to be so sketchy.

          3. Nigel

            If he didn’t want to help Trump he shouldn’t have sketchily released the documents. If you don’t like him being regarded as a sketchy Trump helper, tell him to stop sketchily helping Trump.

          4. Termagant

            But releasing documents is what he DOES, Nigel. He releases the documents he finds. Releasing Hillary’s documents wasn’t deliberately helping Trump, it was just continuing to do what he does with some integrity. Having them and not releasing them would have been favouring Hillary.

          5. Nigel

            Nah, he doesn’t get to dodge responsibility for the consequences, not to mention treat the rest of us like idiots by denying the obvious calculation.

          6. Termagant

            Why doesn’t Hillary have to accept any responsibility for creating the sketchiness to begin with?

          7. Nigel

            Let each be responsible for their own sketchiness and their own actions and the consequences thereof. Besides, wasn’t that more the DNC’s supposed sketchiness rather than Clinton’s? Wikileaks aligned itself with Trump, and probably Putin. Any pretense at impartiality is laughable now.

          8. Termagant

            There’s no point in continuing in discourse with someone who tries to spin Hillary’s abuse of the DNC as anyone’s responsibility but her own, the conditioning is in full effect. Go back to your cave Nigel, we’re done for today.

          9. jusayinlike

            Bernie and all his followers disagree. That’s why people didn’t bother to come out and vote.

            Play the contrarion and ignore the fact that after being wiped out by a TV host buffon, democrats have never stopped to take a moment to reflect on the state of the party.

            The democrats are right wing.

      2. Hansel

        Don’t forget what information Wikileaks also refuses to publish, because of their strong morals.
        Mostly information that the Russians government agencies don’t want released though. Funny that, right?

        Information is power, and Assange’s organisation has it’s unpure motives, just like the rest of us.

        1. f_lawless

          Think of it this way – if you were in his current dire predicament, trapped in isolation by the British for more than 6 years, with the very real possibility you will soon be disappeared away and left rot in a US prison and be, one would imagine, physically tortured, would you be burning your bridges at this point in time with one of the few countries left where you might find secure asylum by releasing dirt might have? Making moral judgements about his lack of impartiality under these circumstances doesn’t hold much weight IMIO.

          1. Nigel

            This just makes it sound like he was willing to burn the rest of us to ingratiate himself with Putin, which is somewhat plausible, perhaps understandable from his point of view, but not a testament to his impartiality.

          2. f_lawless

            Nigel, the “right on” leftie unable to empathise with, and nothing but disdain for anyone outside his own chosen tribe!

          3. Hansel

            f_lawless, I don’t have any major bones to pick with Assange. I don’t consider myself “above” any decisions he made whatsoever. I simply don’t think Dan was WAY off the mark with the following:

            “The final push has been made possible by WikiLeaks, owned by the once liberally loved Julian Assange, who showed himself no different than many in politics, in putting into practice the maxim that Knowledge is Power, to be used against those you dislike most.”

            From your comment it sounds like you actually somewhat agree with this: Assange has used what leverage he has against his enemies and towards perceived allies.

            He’s trapped in that embassy on [relatively] spurious allegations and he’s doing what he can to gain his freedom. It’s totally understandable, to me. But at the same time Wikileaks didn’t begin life as a tool to keep Assange alive. And now here we are. Unfortunately for everyone.

  2. dan

    We too have had our turn at electing loonies to power, thankfully the Green Party didn’t last long.
    Long enough for their TDs to eat at the taxpayer funded trough, unfortunately.

  3. Another One

    “We shouldn’t be paying for their mistakes though”

    And yet we’re all paying for yours, Dan. For generations.

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