If the events of the past 2 years haven’t made it clear to you yet, the ideology of right-wing politics has increased massively all over the world. But how did it come to this?
Well, in the U.K, perhaps we can trace it back to June 23rd of 2016: the Brexit vote. In a referendum which millions of participants and spectators expected to be very one-sided, the vote came out as an almost 50/50 split between the ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’. The likes of Nigel Farage and his ‘United Kingdom Independence Party’ were victorious, though the methodology and messaging of their campaign might be described as less than honest.
Shortly after this, David Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister, leaving the Conservative party in a pickle. They now needed to unite a massively divided country and come up with a plan for leaving the E.U. But they didn’t even have a leader to guide them. Hell, Brexit was such a divisive issue that families were torn apart on the subject. Thinking about this now reminds me of how Queen Elizabeth the 1st had to unite a Protestant and Catholic country: though she succeeded, the feeling isn’t so positive for our now not-so-United Kingdom.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States of America was in a heated election race, with Hillary Clinton having been elected leader of the Democratic party on July 28th 2016 – the 1st female presidential nominee in a major party in the U.S. This race to the Whitehouse was one of blood, guts and glory for the eventual winner as worldwide media outlets influencing both candidates’ voting demographic as they attempted to deliver for their parties. Many parts of the U.S. predicted Hillary Clinton would win – as did I. At 2:45am on November 9th, 2016, Donald Trump emerged as the winner of the election and therefore the President elect of the United States of America. A wave of incredulity and horror rocked the globe, nobody expected a brash, offensive and emotionally impulsive right wing businessman to lead the most powerful country in the world.
Both events led up to what I like to call The Triggering. It was as if all the events that took place during this time became normalised in the ‘Right-wing’ style of thinking. People who had possibly had these thoughts for years and had never spoken up about them now felt it was okay to let their voices be heard. Racism, Islamophobia and above all fear of what is seemed as ‘other’ has taken over.
Hate and suspicion fuels hate and suspicion:
We seem to be stuck in a vicious cycle of hatred and suspicion born of a ‘fear of the unknown’ and fuelled by uneducated assumptions both sides are making of each other. It’s a cycle that cannot stop until both sides reach out, stop judging and try to focus on what they have in common. We need schools to be pushing this, particularly in areas where different groups are isolated and where there is a complete lack of diversity. And the government should so something about the spread of misinformation and sensationalist, one sided views in the gutter press, on both sides of the divide.
Souleiman Gaspard, 14 years old.