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A Victory for the Voters

Early on Wednesday morning Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May congratulated President Elect Donald Trump. She, more than any other western leader, knows what it means when the people speak. Like Mr Trump, she has been a beneficiary of the same expression of the voters’ will, if less directly.

Mr Trump’s victory will come as no surprise to those who followed the interviews with US voters throughout the months of the campaign. For many people the system of government, their government, bore little relation to what they, ordinary Americans expected. They want effective government; they want effective stewardship of the world’s leading economy, and they want their representatives, their rulers, to reflect the values on which they and their forbears built their lives and their and the country’s hopes.

For many Americans these values have, over decades, been driven out by the entrenched ideology of the left as it swept through the officialdoms of western capitals. That ideology has combined a ruthless managerialism based on a mania for regulation, with an attack on democracy’s freedoms and its fruits.

The first has blighted enterprise and penalised people’s productive powers through heavy taxes and even heavier regulation. They and their businesses have been rendered too expensive to compete with the new challengers in the global market, strangling a system that encouraged success, opened the opportunity to excel and rewarded those who do best. The second, has led to the ruthless imposition through the state of a thought system at odds with the views and opinions of many ordinary people, whose opinions are no longer tolerated. One need only consider the witch-hunts in university campuses against freedom of expression, to see how rotten things have become.

For many people, Mr Trump represents a welcome change. John Baron, one of Britain’s independently minded and distinguished MPs, points to the new direction in foreign and defence policy in his Politeia blog, which will strike a special chord on Armistice Day.

Others, both in the US and this country, will breathe a sign of relief at the return to grown up foreign policy. More may look to the flagship areas for change on which Donald Trump focussed throughout: the economy which should be built on enterprise not regulation; the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure; a different direction – one unhampered by ideology- for education, and healthcare reform. But for many people, many in the US and some in Britain, Mr Trump’s election will be seen as the fruit of those hard fought democratic freedoms – a victory for voters against the hijacking of a country, its institutions and its values, by those who misuse power.

Dr Sheila Lawlor

Dr Sheila Lawlor is Politeia’s Founder and Director of Research. Her background is as an academic historian of 20th century British political history, having started her working life as research fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and Churchill College, Cambridge. Her academic publications include Churchill and the Politics of War 1940-41 and for Politeia she has written on social, economic and constitutional policy.

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