The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

It has been cold out on the bike this last week or so, but it will get easier as we move deeper into winter, for there is no bad weather only the wrong clothing.

Monday being my allotted time in the laundry, I also get a chance to catch up on my writing, that is, if I ignore all the mess around me, I also get the chance to do a bit of shopping, so to Aldi we will go. This is more or less my routine these days, with dreams of spring and long cycling trips across Europe, once more, beginning to be moving further and further into the future with coronavirus still on the up. By the time I do go, the heading will read, “An Octogenarian on a Bicycle”.

I continue to studying ‘Trump and the Puritans’ I find it fascinating and how the political system in America, although played out differently runs parallel to that at Westminster.

America is a secular society with no official national church, yet the Evangelical Right has developed as a significant force within the Republican Party, more so since the 1970. People like Jerry Falwell told conservative evangelical Christians to get more involved in politics. He also co-founded the Moral Majority movement in 1979. The election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980, along with a large number of republicans to Congress, was, at the time, credited partially to the influence of this organisation.

Jerry Falwell and the evangelical religious right opposes homosexuality, and it was Falwell that started that AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals, it is Gods punishment on a society that tolerates homosexuals. He wanted Christian involvement in US politics and his website stated that his goal was to defend traditional family values and battle the liberals who opposed those godly principles. Following on from the 9/11 terrorist attack, Falwell even linked that attack to abortion stating:

The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked – he suggested that God was mad at their behaviour, he went on to attack feminists, and gays, and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle – all of them who have tried to secularise America – I point the finger in their face and say: You helped this happen.

Roberts and Whittock suggested at this being like a taproot all the way back down the ages to the ‘Mayflower’, they called it America’s cultural DNA.

Who was the champion of all of these groups in the run-up to 2016 presidential election against Trump? Yes, none other than Hillary Clinton, she made a rod for her own back, she thought she was the champion of popular opinion, Women’s rights, the Gay Moment, abortion, she was wrong, she hit the wall of the Evangelical Right, that stopped her in her tracks. Trump, on the other hand, he knew on which side his bread was buttered, he did the dance and received the backing of the Evangelical Right.

Joanna Lumley was on the Parkinson’s Show.

He said, “You did not go to acting school, so how did you get a start into television?”

Her answer, “Lied through my teeth, Darling”.

Just seemed seemed appropriate to the conversation about Trump, the only difference, she was a better actor.

Now you can dismiss this as just the rantings of an out of touch lunatic, but when Falwell speaks he speaks with the mega-church in Lynchburg, Virginia, with over 20,000 members, behind him. Has a foothold in Congress and the ear of world leaders, for it is alleged that following the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear plant (Operation Babylon, in June 1981) the first telephone call that the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, made to the USA in order to explain the reasons for this action, was not to the president (Ronald Reagan) but Jerry Falwell, then you have to take him seriously.

These people are the power behind the throne. Many may remember at that time that Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister, here in the UK, and her back to ‘Family Values’ speeches. Similar rhetoric was echoed by David Cameron when in power. And from Donald Trump – the golden age can be rediscovered -’Make America Great Again’. Today, Boris Johnston, and his Second British Empire, presumably ‘Making Britain Great Again’. They are all marching in close unison to the beat of an old drum.

Trump in the run-up to him winning the White House, told his listeners that, he would pull the troops from Afghanistan, and the Middle East, do deals with Russia and China, Build a Wall (to stop those pesky immigrants coming into our country, stealing your jobs) and make America great again, just what a tired nation, who had seen their factories, jobs and living standards, (the American dream) disappear and desperately wanted change wanted to hear a return to better times. For them Trump may have been blemished goods, much like King Cyrus, Sixth-century King of Persia. Yet he was their unlikely saviours, for he had tapped into American cultural DNA.

Stewart’s take on this,

“Trump supporters are longing, not just for a president, but a king. For them, kings like Cyrus who don’t have to follow rules but ‘are themselves the law, are ideal leaders in paranoid times”.

In the UK, Boris told a tired and angry people, who was to blame for their rotten lives, the EU, and how they could “Take Back Control” stop those pesky immigrants invading, stealing their jobs ………… how similar it all sounds now.

That dream will never be fulfilled, so long as the system of government in the US remains the same, (ditto here too) no president of the US will ever be able to pull troops out of any foreign country, Congress will never allow it, too many Congressmen depend on the arms trade funding to keep them in power, (Here in the UK, there is a revolving door between Westminster and Arms Manufacturers). No president will ever be able to curb the sale of guns to the public and stop the slaughter on the streets of America, for the same reason, the gun lobby is too powerful, and on and on. In America, as it is here in the UK, lobby money keeps them in power and they will never bite the hand that feeds them.

When coronavirus finally made it to the UK, the government put the country into lockdown. Then as it started to hurt the pockets of the people that bankrolled the ones in government, the rhetoric changed, to get The UK back into work and children back into schools. This at a time when coronavirus was still on the rise. And there was you thinking you lived in a democracy, and that your duly elected members spoke out on your behalf, and how it was their job to look after your health, well-being and best interest. Dream on.

If you read the Declaration of Independence you will hear echoes of the Declaration of Arbroath,

‘Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing their Safety and Happiness’.

I see in my Scotland a new generation rising up, they have found a new drum to march in step with, and a beat that suits them better, each day that passes, the sound of that drum grows louder and will soon be heard across the world, invoking the words of the Declaration of Arbroath and of the Declaration of Independence. And the old drum will be heard no more.    

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