After watching the Channel Four series Years and Years and then observing the British General Election I was confused.
Was Years and Years a drama or a documentary?
Was this one of those unique moments Trumpian moments when art imitates life?
Or is everything just fucked and fucked up?
Who could have thought that a politician with a record of lies, deceit, and general clowning around could be chosen so vehemently by the people? Progressives like me, safe in our privilege, tweet our dismay, moaning about Murdoch, the media, Zuckerberg, Facebook, and the working class.
When art starts to imitate life, you need to question the narrative. Progressive vs Conservative doesn’t cut it anymore when the economy is stagnant, wages are stagnant, and the society in a state of bewilderment at the pace of change. A progressive narrative involving radical change makes sense to the latte drinkers and champagne socialists, but to the worker worried about their job, their mortgage, their future in a world driven by renewables and artificial intelligence, and woke discourse it is fucking terrifying.
Trump, Johnston, Morrison, Bolsonaro speak directly to these fears with a comforting discourse of protection, protectionism, and policing. Classic propaganda.
They do this by satirising the progressive woke latte drinkers proclaiming their pronouns in their Twitter bios by offering the dream of consistency, attention, and the space to be an asshole.
In a society where the liberal democracy is under threat, traditional narratives no longer apply. Workers in traditional industries despise the progressive politics that threatens to change their lives. Progressives offer a world of transformation – a green new deal, health care, education, cycle lanes. This is all solid stuff but to a 48-year-old coal miner worried about his family, his retirement, how he will pay the energy bills just hears a threat. The conservatives say, don’t worry, everything is gonna be fine. In fact, it will be better than fine, it will be great!
If the progressive narrative is not resonating, progressives like me are responsible. We let it happen and continue to let it happen.