Brendan O’Neill

Justin Trudeau wants the West to worship at his feet

Justin Trudeau wants the West to worship at his feet
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Justin Trudeau, the wokest world leader, has officially achieved rock-star status. This week he appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. His pale blue tie is slightly askew — cos he ain’t a stiff like the rest of them, okay? — and his smoky eyes are peering into the camera, but really into readers’ souls, and loins. The headline? ‘Why Can’t He Be Our President?’ Say it in the style of a 12-year-old girl wondering out loud why the boys’ hot PE teacher can’t also be her French tutor and you’ll have the measure of this cover, and of the whole infantile cult that is Trudeauphilia.

It’s hard to think of anything barmier in Western politics right now than the cult of personality swirling around the Canadian PM.  Liberals freaked out by Brexit and convinced Trump is a tangerine Hitler cling to Trudeau like Rose to that door at the end of Titanic. They obsessively share images of him, like medieval monks weeping over icons. Justin running. Justin greeting refugees. Justin dancing at Pride. The devotional images are always accompanied by breathless internet speak: ‘I can’t even’; ‘That time Justin Trudeau melted our hearts’; ‘Justin Trudeau Photobombing Prom Photos Is Everything’. It is everything. Literally everything. Trudeau grinning as he jogs past teens heading to Prom is everything in the world. We need nothing more. It’s all the sustenance we require.

Then there are his socks. Even North Korea’s enforced fawning over Kim doesn’t stretch to gabbing hysterically about the Supreme Leader’s footwear. Trudeau drove people wild by wearing NATO socks to a NATO meeting. Gay-flag socks to a Pride flag-raising event in Ottawa. ‘Eid Mubarak’ socks to Pride itself in Toronto. I can’t be the only person who would love to see him wear gay-pride socks to a Ramadan event. In Saudi Arabia, perhaps. That really would be everything. I can’t even. Well, he couldn’t even, that’s for sure. A writer for the New York Times hailed his ‘sock diplomacy’. I wish I was making this up. His socks always contain ‘a message of solidarity’, she said, and ‘rarely have a man’s ankles said so much.’ Times like this I wish I was illiterate.

That the Trudeauphiles are actually worshipping at his feet — ‘No world leader’s socks have ever been so beloved’, says the HuffPost — confirms the religious bent to this virtual malady. The media cannot get enough of St Justin. ‘Nineteen reasons why the world has fallen in love with Justin Trudeau’, says the Independent. No.9: he’s a great dancer. No.14: he takes off his shirt a lot. ‘We’ve elected a prime minister who not only cuddles pandas but is creating real political change’, said a Canadian writer for the Guardian. I love that. He doesn’t only cuddle pandas; he does politics too. But obviously it’s the panda-cuddling people love because we live in fantastically shallow times.

The Trudeauphiles never raise a peep about his policies. They don’t know what they are. They’re like those 17-year-old hip chicks who go about in Ramones t-shirts but couldn’t name a single Ramones song. That Trudeau does things they might normally tut-tut over — like okay the building of massive oil pipelines or sell armoured vehicles to the Saudis — doesn’t matter. He hugs pandas, people. He wears Islamo-socks. He takes his shirt off a lot. Isn’t that enough? He plays one role and one role only: he’s Not Trump. Just as tragic American liberals spent the 2000s watching The West Wing and pretending Jed Bartlett rather than George W Bush was the president, so Western liberals now gawp at Justin shaking his booty at Pride as a kind of virtual relief from Trump and Brexit and other things they hate (somewhat irrationally) but have no serious alternative to.

The irony here is that the people who gush over Trudeau are the same kind of people who think Trump voters are brain-dead deplorables who were hoodwinked by empty promises. The Trump phenomenon is the pinnacle of rationalism in comparison with the mass liberal falling at Trudeau’s feet. And now the gushing over Emmanuel Macron too, Macron being liberals’ latest pretty poster boy to help them forget that they’ve lost the argument. (The Economist showed Macron walking on water and called him ‘Europe’s Saviour’. Get an actual grip, guys.) Trump supporters and Brexiteers are at least willing to confront difficult political and global problems — too many liberals run away from such problems into the toned, tattooed arms of Justin Trudeau. Mmm, those arms.