Following this years UK EU referendum and US Presidential election results, politicians and main stream media news outlets continue to point to various alleged reasons to explain an outcome that they did not foresee.
Reasons that continue to fall short of explaining how and why such an outcome occurred, but peddled none the less in a bid to direct attention away from the real underlying issues and causes that have led public sentiment to where it is today. The real underlying issues that are a direct indictment of the choices and decisions made by the political and financial establishments over many years.
Rather than main stream media news outlets, political and financial establishments acknowledging the direct fall out of the many monetary, domestic and foreign policy failings that we clearly see today, it is a certain demographic, Wikileaks, an FBI intervention or of course Russia that is the cause.
Fake news, Russian propaganda, hacked voting machines, uneducated, bigoted and racist individuals are all banded around freely as ‘the reason(s)’ for an outcome that was not expected by arrogant and detached media, political and financial establishments embarrassed by their disconnect laid bare for the world to see.
Calculations, algorithms, computer modeling and polls all failed in providing an accurate outcome because the information used to produce such predictions was inaccurate and misleading. News stories and assumptions were aired to the masses on 24 hour news cycles in a bid to convince the public who or what they should vote for with more stories and assumptions built on the back of these flawed assumptions.
With so much emphasis and onus on their desired outcome, political, financial and media establishment belief was built on these flawed assumptions, convincing each other day after day that their desired outcome was assured. This was reflected clearly in reports, interviews and events daily, weekly and monthly leading up to voting day.
Little coverage or thought however was given to the largest sections of society, the working, lower middle and middle classes. These are the demographics most affected by the fall out and ramifications of monetary, domestic and foreign policy failures presided over by the political and financial establishments.
Social pressures have continued to build over many years while trust and belief in political and financial institutions have ebbed away. One only needs to look at what the current widely held issues and concerns of the public are to understand the causes and sources of them. Issues and concerns such as an increased risk of terrorist attacks, on-going refugee and migrant crisis, continued stagnation of income, an ever-increasing wealth divide, lack of investment in infrastructure and housing and ever-increasing living costs to name but a few.
An increased risk and an ongoing crisis
An increased risk of terrorist attacks and an ongoing refugee and migrant crisis is directly connected to the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, the failed post intervention in Libya and the continued proxy support of armed opposition groups in Syria. All have led to the continued destabilization and chaos we see today through catastrophic choices, decisions and an inadequate understanding of the societal structures that the political and financial establishments sought to change and reform.
This inadequate understanding would in turn fundamentally compromise the planning required for post intervention and occupation phases leading to a chaotic deterioration in security and stability. Vacuums would be created and filled by individuals and groups that would take advantage of the chaos and further their aims, in turn only increasing the deterioration.
Many migrants and refugees that have and continue to seek safety in Europe originate from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and parts of Africa. Many of whom have been directly affected by the chaos of the middle east and its fall out from Western interventions, occupations and proxy support that the political establishment have overwhelmingly voted for and financial institutions have taken advantage of. One major fall out has been the increase, spread and exacerbation of fundamentalist Islamic ideology beyond the middle east in Africa, Asia and the West.
Increased pressures and an increasing wealth divide
A continued stagnation of earnings at best and an ever-increasing wealth divide are directly connected to monetary decisions made in the early 2000’s including the increased deregulation of financial institutions. Ever more power was handed over by the political establishment to financial institutions who in turn sought to fully capitalise on this increased power, driven by greed, that would ultimately lead to the largest recession since the great depression of the 1920’s-30’s according to many analysts.
The recession would destroy many industries, both service providers and manufacturers which in turn would lead to the loss of millions of jobs and a job market that would shrink rapidly. Consequently this would have catastrophic ramifications to the working, lower middle and middle classes, ruining lives and ending social mobility for tens of millions of people.
Eight years later and little has improved yet the wealth divide has increased exponentially between the minority at the top of society and the majority in the middle and lower end of society. Those situated at the top of society have gained from the recession, able to take advantage of falling prices in land, real estate and business thereby further increasing assets and consolidating their financial security.
The working, lower middle and middle classes however have suffered badly from the recession despite politicians and financial establishments desperate to forget it and move on. Home owners who managed to retain their property lost value, often finding themselves in negative equity while those who rented property saw rent prices increase year on year making it increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder given the large deposits now demanded by financial institutions post recession.
Job markets have begun to pick up though figures belay the reality of what this increase in jobs consist of. Self employment has increased dramatically over recent years due to a shortage of full-time jobs, not an explosion in entrepreneurial spirit. Zero hours contracts are now common place which provide little to no job security, often paying low wages and not compatible with a debt driven, consumer led credit reliant economy. Wages for those in full-time employment have overwhelmingly stagnated with average pay still below levels found in 2008 when the recession struck. With increased living costs factored in, large sections of the population are actually poorer than they were a decade ago.
A lack of investment in infrastructure and housing during the debt driven growth years of the 2000’s has fuelled social pressures and increased tensions relating to migration and social cohesion post recession. Populations have increased through domestic birth rates and consistent immigration year on year but investment has not shadowed this growth.
Post recession, a dramatic expansion in the property rental market has increased rental costs while housing stock available for purchase has shrunk. Banks require larger deposits to purchase property making it impossible for working, lower middle and middle class workers to attain the necessary level of deposits required given higher living costs, increased rental costs and stagnant wages.
As austerity politics has taken hold, cuts in government spending year on year has seen schools, hospitals, local services and infrastructure suffer from a lack of investment, adding yet further to pressures already experienced by the working, lower middle and middle class.
Such a large shift seen recently in public sentiment toward the political, financial and media establishments, found in many Western countries, is not a product of a few months of campaigning, last-minute interventions, Russian propaganda or fake news. It is a product of pressures and failures built up over many years, boiling over post recession and the continued fall out of failed foreign policy exploits.
The UK EU referendum result proves beyond any reasonable doubt that public dissatisfaction toward the political, financial and media establishments was already well established. Despite clear interventions by political leaders, technocrats, financial institutions both in the UK, EU and US, celebrities, main stream media news outlets and analysts in favour of a remain vote, the majority of the UK public rejected them.
The recent US election result also proves beyond any reasonable doubt that public dissatisfaction toward the political, financial and media establishments was already well established. Despite the clear favouritism shown by main stream media outlets, celebrities, politicians, technocrats and financial institutions toward the Hillary Clinton campaign, large sections of the population rejected them.
All were rejected because they are the detached, disconnected, political, financial, media establishments and elites of society that do not understand nor suffer from financial and social pressures that large sections of society have and continue to endure. Much of which derives from the direct fall out and ramifications of decisions and choices made by the very same political and financial elites of society.
President elect Trump and Brexit are the direct result of deteriorating public sentiment built up over many years, willfully ignored by politicians, main stream media outlets and financial institutions who ensured that any criticism directed toward the status quo was mocked and vilified. Both the Trump campaign and the ‘vote leave’ campaign capitalised on this deteriorated public sentiment toward the status quo, they didn’t create it.
Now the results are proving difficult to accept by establishment politicians and main stream media outlets, their ignorance has been exposed yet seek to undermine the outcome. In doing so they continue to create further division using polarizing narratives asserting that such results have been achieved with tens of millions of uneducated, racist, bigoted white male voters living in destitute former industrial areas and ‘rust belts’.
The reality is much broader than this narrow assertion, incorporating tens of millions of working, lower middle and middle class voters of all races, religions and sexes, from cities, towns and villages across the country. However, dangerous far left and right-wing politics is certainly taking hold, seeking to take advantage of the ever-increasing division and existing public sentiment toward establishment politicians and powerful financial institutions that have failed them.
That said, the real reasons that have led public opinion to this point should not be lost in the post referendum vote and election result melee, warped by those seeking to save face and deflect responsibility away from their many failings. Rather, they need to be acknowledged and accountability forthcoming, failure to do this will create further division and increased volatility.
Countries within the EU also share many of the same social and financial pressures, derived from the ramifications and fall out of similar monetary, domestic and foreign policy decisions made by similarly ignorant and detached political and financial establishment elites over many years.
Expect more rejection in forthcoming elections held next year.