The clueless leaders who broke the societies and economies of the West are facing their comeuppance. This is an Age of Rage, and it is only beginning.
Boris Johnson, for starters, is a bust. The prime minister who made Brexit happen was knifed by his own Conservative Party. It’s a death by a thousand cuts, most of them self-inflicted.
The most popular prime minister since Margaret Thatcher was fired for turning a blind eye to boozy parties at 10 Downing Street when the rest of the country was under COVID lockdowns, and turning a blinder eye to the buttock-fondling activities of a rogue Conservative MP called, inevitably, Stephen Pincher.
The boozing and bottom-pinching is just local color from the land of Benny Hill. In the big picture, public rage — the force that brought down Boris Johnson — has also paralyzed the presidency of Emmanuel Macron of France, and given Joe Biden the worst popularity ratings since polling began. And the tidal wave of anger is still growing.
Johnson’s colleagues made a pre-emptive strike before Britain’s voters turned on the party as a whole. The French public had no choice but to return Macron to the presidency in April’s elections: He was the least-worst alternative to the ex-fascist Marine Le Pen and the neo-communist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. But in June’s parliamentary elections, the French voted for the fringe parties. Macron, a little man with Napoleonic plans, is now struggling to build a coalition.
The American public have another two years of Joe Biden’s masterful leadership to look forward to. But the voters will get the chance to register their disgust in the midterms. They are as sure to massacre the Dems in November as Joe Biden is to forget what he had for breakfast.
Leftists are pleased that the original bad boys of populism are out — first Donald Trump, then Benjamin Netanyahu, now Boris — but there is no normal to return to. The voters trusted their leaders when the COVID-19 epidemic broke out — and their leaders panicked. Elected politicians outsourced the biggest challenge since World War II to the control freaks at the CDC while leaving it to corporate chemists to actually come up with the vaccines. And the Biden administration still won’t tell us where it thinks COVID-19 came from.
Emmanuel Macron’s restrictions on movement would have brought a gleam to the eye of a Vichy colonel: Not since the days of Marshal Pétain had the French needed an official pass to go beyond the end of the street. At least Macron played the role of dictator with unerring conviction.
Boris Johnson imposed three merciless lockdowns, then broke his own COVID rules. Joe Biden ordered the cruel and pointless masking of children, then ambled about maskless in front of the cameras.
The leaders of the Western democracies proved they neither understood nor cared about the suffering of their peoples. Instead, they mandated government by and for the political class, its corporate patrons and its clients in the pajama class. They printed money faster than ever before, and they handicapped their economies by committing to irrational green energy policies.
The results? The post-COVID economy is a disaster. We have an unnecessary energy crisis, and the credibility of democracy itself is tumbling into an income gap that keeps getting wider. The trust between rulers and ruled has been broken.
The worst of it is, no one forced our leaders to opt for lockdowns, mask mandates, infant vaccinations, mad money printing and green boondoggles. This was the experts’ ill-informed idea of good government.
Johnson and Biden both turned left after winning office, imposing expensive and unworkable green energy policies, and raising taxes even as they promised to revive their economies. Biden, with his usual integrity, will blame Vladimir Putin or white supremacy when the Democrats lose both House and Senate in the midterms. But it was Biden who campaigned on a promise to kill the carbon-energy industry that, in a success supported by the G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, had turned the US from an energy exporter to an energy importer.
America is now back to importing oil. Biden, who promised to make the Saudis global pariahs for killing the Islamist journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is now begging the Saudis to turn on the spigots.
We are ruled by halfwits and hypocrites without conviction or competence. As we are reminded every time we stop at the pump, they are sending us the tab.
Dominic Green is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.