Seb Dance says don’t trust politicians and the media – and Nigel Farage agrees
There are so many things about President Trump to be concerned about. His illiberalism. His attitude to free speech – he’s against it. His cruel and arbitrary ban on people visiting the US from seven counties. But dismissing his supporters, people who want freer lives, more money, better job security, jobs, opportunity and recognition as thick, ‘low-information’ fascists is not in the least bit helpful.
This disdain for the concerns of 62 million voters who backed Tump over Hillary Clinton – the patrician who wanted a “barrier” between the US and Mexico, who called vast numbers of voters ‘deplorables”, untermensch to be despised by the knowing and – irony of ironies – who know fascism when they see it, and has caused so much suffering in majority-Muslim counties – is contagious. And what goes for Trump’s supporters goes too for the majority who embraced democracy and voted in favour of Brexit. Writing in the Guardian, Labour MEP Seb Dance has much to say.
Earlier this week, while UKip MEP Nigel Farage was addressing the European Union chamber, Dance held up a sign. It featured an arrow aimed at Farage and the message ‘He’s lying to you’. Phew! Good job that Seb Dance was there to tell us thickos what was untrue.
On his website, Sebastian says why he did it:
“Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.
“Nigel Farage is regularly treated to free coverage by virtue of being leader of the EFDD [UKIP’s European Parliamentary group] and UKIP often use these clips in isolation on social media. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”
The New Statesman calls Dance ‘the best MEP ever’.
The FT says:
The motive was a smart piece of sabotage, aimed at making it more difficult for UKIP’s former leader to go viral.
And so to Dance, who tells Guardian readers:
On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. On 8 November 2016 Donald Trump won the US general election. Both events were seismic, in and of themselves, but it has been the reaction to them that is the most extraordinary part of the story so far.
No, not people in the streets shouting down debate with cries of ‘Hitler’ and fascists, nor MPs decrying democracy.
From having been the rebel outsider positions in their respective countries, both have now risen to a new kind of status that leads online Twitter eggs gleefully to announce the end of liberal democracy and welcome the impending arrival of a new world order.
Democracy won. Both results were established in a free and legal vote. I’m no Trump supporters, and was delighted when Farage failed to win a seat at the last General Election, but the millions who voted for Trump and Brexit are not all twitter eggs. The voters are not passive no-marks. They mobilised for change.
Dance then tells readers:
There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.
MEPs are not an organisation. They are representatives. Dance’s note positions him as the politician who knows politicians cannot be trusted. A placard held up for the cameras apes the protestors who want to make their voices heard but have no arena save for the street in which to do so. Dance is elected to speak on their behalf. He is not passive. He is active. He’s not one of ‘us’, He’s one of ‘them’. Disparaging politicians and their motives puts him squarely in the same camp as Trump and Farage. Both say politicians and the media cannot be trusted.