‘Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.’
So said Muhammad Ali. Last week the Tory Chancellor announced tax increases for the self-employed. Today the government did what some might have said was impossible. Make no mistake, this is not an honourable retreat. It is a defeat and shows that if they come under sustained pressure they have to give in or face the voters fury at the next election.
I haven’t posted midweek for a while but a friend asked me the other day to explain wtf is going on between the Dutch and Turkish governments. Note that I said the governments. Nick I will do my best but this is what I make of it.
Today the Dutch are voting in a general election. Did the Liberal Prime Minister deny entry into the country to a Turkish minister, even to the extent of refusing to allow the plane to land and then making sure they didn’t cross the border by land in order to persuade the Dutch that he is the man to lead the country?
All the spotlight on this election is on how Geert Wilders of the ‘Freedom (except for foreigners) Party will do. If he does well expect Nigel Farage to be on the first plane to Amsterdam to join the queue of arse lickers. Farage tries hard to keep his racism away from the public. Every victory for a racist elsewhere is going to make him less afraid to say what he really thinks.
Separate to what’s going on in the Netherlands there is also a referendum coming up in Turkey to give the President more power and the Prime Minister less.
The ruling party are not content with campaigning in Turkey itself.
They are not content with shutting down newspapers, installing them with ‘management’ boards which ensure nothing critical of their policies is published.
They are not content with shutting down television stations for the same purpose.
They are not content with locking up more reporters than any other country in the world.
They are not content with sacking 100,000 people from their jobs within a week of a failed coup attempt, saying they were in support of it.
They are not content with meddling in Syria, enabling non-Syrians to cross the border and form the Islamic state.
As well as this they want to send their ministers all over Europe to lecture the Turkish voters who live abroad on how to vote.
In case they are reading newspapers or watching television stations that are not praising them.
With such little opposition at home it enrages President Erdogan that he can’t have his own way outside of Turkey’s borders and he has taken to labelling the Dutch fascists. That’s right. The same people who suffered under Nazi occupation are themselves labelled Nazis. He has also called the Germans Nazis. Yes that’s right, the same country that has welcomed more refugees than any other country in the European Union and which would imprison you for advocating fascism, such is their effort to learn from their past.
This is a definition of fascism;
‘an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.’
How can such a party as the AKP (Justice and Development Party) be in office? For the same reasons that Trump is in office. For many years the socially conservative population of Turkey that didn’t embrace Ataturk’s reforms and the western direction of its politics were humiliated and looked down on. Even schoolgirls who wore a headscarf were forced to choose between an education and remaining true to their values. They are taking their revenge on the pro-Western elite and urban working and middle class. In Turkey it used to be true that generals jailed politicians. Now politicians are jailing generals.
I hope that helps Nick. It is not a full explanation but it will do for a start.