I DON’T know about you, but I’ve been filled with despair these past few weeks. It’s been horrifying to watch the hard-won victories of the past hundred years be swept aside by the whims of politicians without a democratic mandate, without a conscience, without a plan.

I’ve been angry too, and scared, and confused. But mostly I just want to crawl under the duvet and hide. Wake me up when the revolution comes.

But that’s exactly what they want, to grind us down until we’re too tired. It’s siege warfare. And it’s not going to work.

Their strategy is divide and rule, and we will not be divided. We may not agree on everything, or wave the same colour of flags, but we can agree that hate-mongers are a common enemy. And ultimately, all our struggles are connected.

That’s why we are standing up for our Muslim neighbours and friends. We are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

But right now, we are facing a threat to human rights, to democracy, to the stability of life on our planet. That threat comes not just from Donald Trump – he didn’t rise to power from nowhere. He is the logical next step in a world where our governments are controlled more and more by the interests of big business and the super-rich.

As Naomi Klein wrote recently, America’s super-rich have got tired trying to influence legislation – so they’ve gone straight to taking over the government. That might sound extreme, but a look at the past 10 days shows the systematic removal of anyone who doesn’t support Trump, at the highest levels of government. From the state department to the joint chiefs of staff, which advise the military, a coup is taking place before our eyes.

And what is the UK Government doing about it? Theresa May seems to be Trump’s biggest fan. There is a fascist in the White House and the UK Prime Minister is kissing his tiny hand.

So let’s talk about the UK. It’s a bit more subtle here, but not by much. EU citizens and other "foreigners" are being scapegoated. Hate crimes are up. Public services are slashed, but there’s plenty of money for useless nuclear weapons – which we need America’s approval to even use.

Austerity is being forced on to ordinary people the length and breadth of the UK, while corporations and elites hoard their money and call it growth. Privatisation hands public services to corporations, tax loopholes invite the shirking of responsibility by the rich.

These issues are all connected – but we don’t have to accept the reshaping of the world in the interests of big business. People are waking up to their own power. If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that people are desperate for change. And if it’s Farage and Trump promising change, that’s where they’ll go.

So what do we do? We can all do something. You can get involved with groups like the Anti-Fascist Alliance or RIC. You can speak to people in your neighbourhoods and your workplaces. You may find that other people feel the same way you do – and if they don’t, if you encounter racism or hatred, you can let them know that their views are not acceptable. Maybe you won’t change their minds but you can stop them from spouting their ideas in public.

Things are changing incredibly fast. Now is not the time to be quiet. The elites are counting on us to crumble into despair. Let’s irritate the hell out of them by standing up, speaking out, and not going away.

It’s going to get harder before it gets easier, but the most important resource we’ve got is each other. We will disagree on some things. But remember that we agree on the fundamentally important things, and we can argue about the rest later. For now, we’ve got fascists to fight.
Myshele Haywood


Before we condemn Trump, let's give him a chance

I WAS sorry to see The National hunting with the hounds, that is, going for the kill with President Trump (The National, January 30 and 31). Surely your journalists must have learnt from what happened during the Yes campaign: that when the whole pack of the press is in full cry in one direction, the truth is usually slipping away in another.

It is worse than hypocritical for the British press to point the finger at America for stemming the flow of immigrants for 120 days. For hundreds of years, the US has welcomed thousands of refugees and immigrants from all over the world every single year – many of them escaping persecution, starvation and troubles of every kind, and a good percentage of them have been Scots. By contrast, the British response to the present refugee crisis has been niggardly in the extreme.

Come on. Give the man a chance. Trump said he would do this for 120 days and he has done it, presumably to sort the immigration system. He has chosen a wise and knowledgeable vice-president in Pence, he has put a general, well respected by both parties, in charge of foreign affairs. He has sent an excellent and feisty woman to represent the US at the United Nations. He has withdrawn American funding from self-appointed abortion providers to third-world countries and stopped providing taxpayers’ money to Planned Parenthood.

Last year, Planned Parenthood was responsible for the deaths of eight million unborn babies in the US. Future generations, if there are any, will look back in shame at the abortion industry, just as we now look back in shame at the slave trade.

Meanwhile, the press, who like to be king-makers and king-wreckers, are howling because they backed the wrong king. “I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury, says cunning old fury” is their attitude. The politics of a liberal left have taken the place of religion. As for shouting that Trump should not come here on an arranged state visit, that is just infantile.

The press hated Trump because he was not afraid of them. Perhaps the tectonic plate of politics is shifting.
Lesley J Findlay
Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire

I AGREE with Rosie Lucca (Letters, The National, February 1) about the dearth of widespread “western” protests against Islamist atrocities. There is nothing like the furore we have seen against Trump.

There are lamentations and candle lighting when atrocities take place in Europe, but little attempt to bring together what is going on globally in terms of the Islamist terror. The problem is the piecemeal reporting by the media of Boko Haram, Daesh, the Taliban, etc. This means we don’t understand the enormity of the global movement to impose a primitive theocracy worldwide.

We are not provided with the terrible truths about Islamist atrocities against apostate Muslims (those who focus on the early, pacifist sayings of the Prophet are not considered to be real Muslims by Islamists), Christians and Jews in the Middle East.

We rely upon social media to provide footage of “young children being beheaded by Daesh in order to terrorise parents” – any reader wishing to check the validity of this only has to type the words within the inverted commas into YouTube. Social media provides evidence that when Boko Haram abducts females of “enemies” and uses them as sex slaves, they claim to be implementing instructions by Muhammad and reference the Quran. Mainstream media seems to have an Emperor’s New Clothes approach to avoiding discussion about this. Instead, after every atrocity, politicians rush to tell us that Islam is a religion of peace.

Perhaps before we jump to defend any belief system (supernaturally based or secular) or inhibit robust debate due to "political correctness", we should assess it against a standard of 21st-century progressive values. I would welcome outlawing any organisation which denied equality of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, and disability. Tolerance would only be applied to belief systems which respected these equalities. This would also torpedo Catholicism which vetoes women as priests and denies them the right to contraception even within marriage.

It does seem odd that whereas we are unequivocal about abhorring a repugnant belief system such as Nazism, we are timid about applying the same standards to religions where aspects of their policies are equally repugnant.
Jacqui Hall