Of discontents and malcontents


Discontent is the first necessity of progress – Thomas A Edison.

The negativity that surrounds “Washington” and a the feeling that politicians have let America diminish , spawns Trump and the ambiguos promises we had in his inauguration speech.

Trump is taking over an America that by any measures  is great again.


It would be easy to display a series of charts to show that America has been getting great again over the eight years of Obama’s tenure of the presidency. It is hard to rebuild and easy to tear down.

On almost every policy initiative announced by the Trump administration (and set out elegantly in this article) https://www.ft.com/world/us/politics the destruction of the Obama construct will result in life getting harder not easier for his core voters.

But Trump is a businessman who knows from his own dealings, that executives can get away with anything – so long as they have control of governance.

On trade agreements, foreign policy, military expenditure, healthcare, gun-control, tax, mortage insurance and energy, the short-term impact of the Trump reforms will raise the spirits of those who see controls as shackles. But the long-term impact of a protectionist, low-welfare, high-carbon United States will not be an America this great again, but an America divided between its booming cities and its discontended rural and manufacturing bases. The return to a healthare free for all , will hurt the poorest hardest. It will not be great to be sick and not afford the treatment to recover.

In response to yesterday’s blog, Dave – a regular – posted a contract between Trump and the American People which has Trump’s signature on it and space for the signature of the individual citizen who endorses it.contract2

It’s pretty cool to sign a contract with the President of the United States (downloaded from donaldjtrump.com/contract) . But the contract’s a fake. Just as Trump the businessman is the fake protector of worker’s rights.

Fake compared to what?

It has become trendy to put Brexit and Trump in the same box. It is not that simple. While there is discontent in Britain about our position within the EU, we are not malcontents.

My problem with Trump’s plan and behaviour is not mirrored by my admiration of May’s plan and behaviour. The way we are changing our relationship with Europe is not with a sledgehammer but with courtesy.

The reason I am focussing on behaviour and language is because these are the aspects of a leader that define the sincerity of the enterprise. Compare the swagger of Trump’s contract with the simple promises made by May when she returned to Downing Street and you will see a difference.

There is a difference between discontent and malcontent, the former yearns for change and for a better world, the latter is permanently seeking the destruction of whatever political order cramps his or her style.

There is no doubt that the Referendum Vote showed that we were discontented. It is not however resulting in a million women taking to the streets to protest about how change is to be implemented.

There is clear evidence with Trump’s election that not only has Trump not got popular support but that America is split between those who want gradual reform and those who will sign the Trump Contract.

The reason that I seek touchstones in this, is that I want to be clear in my own mind, in what I say on this blog and in my behaviours at work and at play, of my position. I think it is beholding on anyone, whether they are from the elite or not, to do the same. I don’t regard myself as elite or expert, I see myself as someone who is looking at society and commenting where I can on what I see (see numerous blogs on Piers Plowman).

Maybe some people will use my position as a touchstone for thiers, Dave clearly won’t – or may help define his position as being different from mine – that does not make us enemies!


I will shortly be going to church (Wesley’s chapel), and – for the first time in my life- I am looking forward to doing so. I follow Lesley Griffiths – not on social media – but for his deeply held convictions which I see as grounded in his faith as a Christian. I generally follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as laid out in the new testament and I can say the creed without too much cavillling.

If this makes me part of a herd, then I must accept that could be a criticism, though I would say it could be a strength, if the herd is moving in the right direction.

Griffiths is a discontent of the first order, he rails against injustice and he stands up to it – he stands side by side John Lewis in condemning the behaviour, language and policies that have emerged in the United States with Donald Trump.

He is not a malcontent, if you go to the Wesley Chapel or listen to him on the radio, you will know that!

I can be discontent but I cannot be a malcontent. As Dave rightly points out, most of my blogs arise from discontent! But I am not implacably opposed to the institutions of pensions, nor those of the State. I can see a lot of good in Jeremy Corbyn (search Corbyn on this blog to see). I can see a lot of good in Theresa May.

I am historically a Liberal , pro membership of EU and keen on social justice. I accept that what I wanted from the EU has not been delivered – eg general harmony in this country, I am a democrat and will accept the referendum.

A discontent not a malcontent!

Trump triumphed (against the odds) and even if he has not got a popular mandate, he won by the rules. I do not question his right to implement what he said on the stump. But I cling closely to my right to shout loudly that his policies are wrong , his behaviour is wrong and his language is wrong.

And that does not mean I feel the same way about those who are taking us out of Europe. I am a discontent – I am not a malcontent!



About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Of discontents and malcontents

  1. Gerry Flynn says:

    “I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”, So you think that this type of comment from Mrs May to the EU is being courteous, to my mind it’s more like a spoilt child throwing a tantrum because they can’t get their own way. Trump is exactly the same.

  2. Phil Castle says:

    I pretty much agree with you Henry (except the religious bit). I live by Judeao Christian ideals (which if you have read the Quoran as I have are pretty similar) rather than believing in a god or religously going to church.
    Trump is devisive and is a serious risk to world peace and will damage America, but he was legitamelty elected as were German Chancellors in the 1930s.

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