This election is proving much more than a battle about Brexit. It’s a fight for the survival of our NHS as the free public service we have all come to take for granted.
Several weeks ago, Jeremy Corbyn raised the alarm through a leaked document about a secret plan to sell the NHS in a toxic deal with Donald Trump. A move that would, no doubt, gradually obliterate our free national health service.
As we go to the polls on Thursday, we should carefully consider the country’s fate if we let our NHS fall into the hands of two men — the UK’s current Prime Minister who chooses to ignore a photo of a sick child forced to lie on a hospital floor due to a lack of beds, and Donald Trump.
The worst of Trump’s conduct was epitomised in October this year, through the President’s reaction to the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Gleefully addressing the world, Donald Trump ecstatically described how, during the US-led raid on Baghdadi’s hideout in Syria, the ISIS leader died ‘like a dog and coward’, ‘whimpering and crying and screaming’.
Those under Baghdadi’s command in the attack — which resulted in the fugitive detonating a suicide vest as the US forces closed in, killing himself and three of his children — were, according to Trump, ‘very frightened puppies’.
Watching the invasion from the Situation Room at the White House, was, Trump self-contentedly announced, ‘like watching a movie’.
Killing the ruthless ISIS chief is a triumph for the US president, a climatic moment that every leader would be proud of.
Though Trump’s sophomoric use of language, gloating over the humiliating and horrific details of Baghdadi’s death, was him at his most pugnacious, narcissistic and disturbing.
UK corporate media normalises Trump’s zoomorphic crowing of Baghdadi’s death
What is perhaps even more alarming than Trump’s crude response to the raid, which reduced the targets of the attack to childlike zoomorphism, is the corporate media’s reporting of the President’s announcement.
Trump’s statement about the US military operation, was naturally broadcast around the world. Once again, we were forced to endure a painful-to-watch broadcast of Trump boasting fearsome US military actions.
Disturbingly, in Britain much of the mainstream media broadcasts of Trump’s address failed to interrogate, question or even discuss the President’s shamefully vulgar and unsophisticated rhetoric as he described the outcome of the raid.
By essentially reporting the broadcast at face value and avoiding scrutiny of the President’s tasteless comments, is testament of how the corporate media is ‘normalising’ this behaviour, turning a blind eye and effectively admitting that it’s what we have come to expect from Trump.
For example, on reporting the story, the British television network ITV focused on the US conquest, describing the killing as an ‘important victory for the United States’, and how ‘Washington is right to call this a victory’.
In a similar vein, the BBC referred to Baghdadi’s death as ‘a major victory for Mr Trump’ who faces ‘heavy criticism for his decision to pull US troops out of Syria’.
The BBC report also focused on how, following the President’s address, the White House released photos of Trump watching the operation from the Situation Room, surrounded by the Vice President, Mike Pence, and top security officials.
Seemingly siding with Trump, the report goes on to state how the killing of the fugitive ISIS leader will:
‘help deflect from weeks of sharp bipartisan criticism following the President’s decision to remove US forces from northern Syria and tacitly permit a Turkish invasion to drive out US-allied Kurds’.
It could be argued that the mainstream media’s lack of scrutiny or criticism of Trump’s vivid and crude account of the raid, is standardising and even rationalising this type of behaviour, rhetoric and attitude.
The president’s vulgarly boastful response to the killing of the ISIS leader contrasts to Barack Obama’s reaction when his administration successfully killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
The context of the killings of the two ISIS leaders were similar. Both were hunted fugitives, and both took place during special US-led military operations. The delivery of the news, however, couldn’t have been more different. Unlike Trump, Obama didn’t dramatise the operation. There were no teasers like the current President’s tweet prior to the official announcement that ‘something very big has just happened!’
Unlike Trump’s sweeping, fiery comments about the operation, Obama’s announcement was short, calm and dispassionate; focusing on the reasons behind the operation rather than the details of the death.
Dissimilar to Trump who spoke in the first person during the announcement to whip up self-importance and praise, Obama used his speech to applaud America and directly address the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
The disparity between the two presidents’ handling of the successful military operations to hunt down and kill ISIS leaders is representative of the rapidly changing political landscape and how right-wing populist politics and the populist rhetoric and ideology it creates, has become the norm.
The rapid rise of right-wing populist politics has been linked to the increase in hate crimes on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, anti-Muslim groups and the scapegoating of immigrants and other religious minorities, has become a common feature since the EU Referendum in 2016. In the US, a wave of hate crime and racist-related incidents soared around the country in the days following the 2016 presidential election.
Rising transatlantic hate crime is set against a backdrop of escalating right-wing populist movements, both in the UK and the US. These in turn are spawned by the likes of Trump and Boris Johnson, whose crude, unsophisticated and grossly distasteful language of ‘dying like a dog’ and being ‘dead in a ditch’, is being unquestioned by the corporate media, and, consequently, is normalising and even championing the growing tide of the radical right.
Voters should be extremely wary of whom they will be leaving the fate of the NHS, and the country as a whole to, when they head to the polling stations on December 12.