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Five steps forward. Ten steps back.

Alex talks about Brexit, Trump and political engagement

Written by Alex McFarlane and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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As progress goes in a diplomatic world, 2016 may not have been the standout year one would hope for. The euphoric sounds at President Obama’s inauguration seem a mere distant memory, to be replaced with ominous thoughts of walls, Brexit and U.S citizens being detained and interrogated at airports. How has this happened in such a short space of time? How did the common man become so dissociated from government that they felt the only choice was the turn to proposals and candidates they didn't fully understand? History has shown that in times of disillusion with establishment and social and economic crisis, there tends to be a greater swing to the right rather than the left, so where do we go from here?

Fast forward eighteen months from June 23rd 2016 and Mrs. Mays aspirations for Brexit have progressed minimally. The majority of media outlets provide that while the Tory government attempts to secure easy trade without the 'hassle' of free movement of people, the EU understandably will not compromise its integrity by negotiating a favourable deal for the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister, having eventually settled on a financial settlement with the EU, now faces further problems over the questions of EU nationals currently living in the UK, not to mention the question of the Irish/Northern Irish border. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has vocally opposed the American President’s visit to London, has said that he has now 'got the message', having cancelled his state visit. Although there can be no doubt of a working relationship between America and Great Britain, it will be interesting to see where the Prime Minister goes from here. 

In regard to President Trump, the first two weeks of his presidency alone were turbulent, to say the least. Donald Trump has signed multiple executive orders, declared that his tweets will be as fruitful and frequent as ever, reignited his fracas with the 'dishonest media', fired the acting Attorney General and created the phenomenon of alternative facts. Since then, sixteen more have been fired or left their jobs, having been able to take no more. 

Stories from his early days in office of green card holders being questioned about their views on Trump and their social media accounts analysed for their political views contain a disturbing air of 20th century fascism. While the President's administration insists this is necessary to 'make America safe again', the U.S citizens refused entry into their home, which include Olympic champion Mo Farah, would beg to differ. With the horrific problem of ISIS, I do believe there is merit in vetting people from certain areas attempting to gain entry into the country, however implementing a complete ban on people from specific countries cannot ever be the answer. This combined with the executive order to build the wall, shows that Trump, in all fairness, is following through on his campaign promises, though they may not be the kind of promises designed to bring us forward in a progressive world. However this does not really come as a huge shock, as this is the man who cannot take criticism, labels news networks who praise him as proper, while networks that question him he labels as fake news, and seeks to intimidate adversaries in 140 characters or less. In response to the right wingers, who dismiss these points as silly notions from the liberal snowflakes, the biggest snowflake of all is on your side, and he is sitting in the oval office.

What has led to us into this extreme reality? Years of stagnation and limited growth has left the average citizen feeling somewhat out of touch with their respective governments, with reports of British people voting for Brexit simply because they felt frustrated by the establishment and wanted the government to listen to them by making a statement, not that they actually approved of Brexit itself. In addition, the modern day tendency of the overwhelming flow of political correctness has perhaps had an adverse effect in that people do not believe they can say anything anymore and that their freedom of speech has been totally undermined. Say one thing for President Trump, he certainly offers an alternative to that.

Going forward from this point, we can only rally together to ensure those who wield the highest power are held accountable. The U.S media must not shrink in the nonsensical defence of 'fake news' and truly hold the president responsible. That aside, I'm afraid we just have to try and ride the storm.

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Published February 5th, 2018
Last updated February 12th, 2018
Tags politics donald trump brexit voting
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