(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Artillery Row

Who champions the little guy now that Trump is gone?

Sir Andrew Cook, chairman of leading British manufacturer William Cook Group, bemoans the fact that the parties of the left no longer stand up for the little guy

There was once a time when the political parties of the left were the natural protectors of the common man: the little guy, otherwise likely to be trampled on, broken and discarded by the brute forces of capitalism and its “Mr Gradgrind” perpetrators of Dickensian ruthlessness.

Socialist politics and the trade union movement allied themselves to counter these brute forces, and with much success. Minimum wages, health and safety laws and compensation for factory accidents were just some of the benefits this enlightenment brought, as were free education and health care, public sanitation and cheap housing. It worked: the balance of power this achieved between raw capitalism and working-class welfare created a generally dignified society, with a mostly rising standard of living and a safety net to protect the weak from oblivion. Political parties differed ideologically, but the gap was not vast, and a measure of common sense was identifiable in the political compromises which emerged as legislation.

All this has changed. The change began 10 years ago with the rapid development of digital communication systems, which led to that “must-have” accessory, the smartphone, the rise of social media, and the roaring growth of e-commerce. Then came Covid-19, to finish the job.

Consider the sharp contrast between the Gradgrinds of old, who sank or swam with their factories and depended on thousands of men to keep them solvent, and the tech giants of Silicon Valley, such as the odious Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

As ever, Wall Street prospers as Main Street collapses

These tech titans have in their possession a dangerous and terrible weapon: power without responsibility. Their wealth is beyond the dreams of Croesus. Sheltering behind the cloak of “freedom of internet speech”, they can pump out whatever misinformation they like to their millions of ignorant disciples. And they can muzzle any with whom they disagree. Espousing any trend which might increase their flock of blind followers, they genuflect to whatever woke nonsense is currently fashionable. And because the institutions of education have been infected and corrupted by this same nonsense, the young and enquiring mind which would once examine received information critically, exists no more.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 profiteers such as Jeff Bezos pay lip service to so-called climate change and its eco-warrior proponents while destroying vast swathes of forest to make the cardboard boxes for the goods which were once bought from real shops with the assistance of real people. As ever, Wall Street prospers as Main Street collapses.

The little guy – the factory and shop worker, the small business proprietor, the two-job family – looked on in dismay as the titans of tech joined with the Democratic Party to deprive them of their livelihoods. Was this not once the party of the honest working man? Why has President Biden stopped the Keystone pipeline that America needed and which employed thousands? Why has he stopped construction of the Mexican border wall, a sensible tool for immigration control which was much favoured by many Americans? Will he soon start cosying up to China, a fascist tyranny which cares nothing for human rights or American jobs?

In despair, the little guy looks at the departing figure of the one man who understood this and did something about it. Former President Trump, no socialist he, but he knew the interests of the little guy would be trampled and disregarded by his Democrat opponents. Trouble was, in the end there just weren’t enough little guys to keep him in power. Frightened by Covid-19 and shamefully exploited as a political weapon by the Biden team, they hesitated. Draconian lockdowns imposed at the insistence of that political quack Dr Anthony Fauci, cost them their jobs. What were they to do? Anecdotally aided by some electoral skulduggery, Biden, the leftist, scraped home and the little guy lost his champion.

Big tech and the world of woke booted Trump out, and with that, the little guy was on his own

Pity the little guy as he struggles to get his cheap Chinese-made gadget to work. The big boys have IT experts to sort out their computer glitches, but the little guy is on his own. Pity the little guy as he watches those shares he bought with his meagre savings, shorted by the wolves of Wall Street, as ravening, predatory and socially useless as their animal namesakes. And pity the little guy as his shop is looted by various low lifers, while the police, terrified to intervene lest they be branded “racist”, stand aside helplessly. Donald Trump may have been oafish and crass, but he was on the side of the little guy, and what happened? Big tech and the world of woke booted him out, and with that, the little guy was on his own.

Pity the little guy… and pity the United States of America: a nation of liberty and opportunity built by those same little guys which it has now abandoned.

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10

Critic magazine cover