Maybe it is the impact of the pandemic, maybe it is to do with politics, social mores, expectations and shifting values - or maybe it's just to do with a way of life that is under stress from a number of different directions.
The likelihood is that it is to do with all of these - and a few more - that are positioning the Western way of life into some jeopardy. There was some sense of superiority in the European West when Trump became President of the US four years ago, about the number of 'rednecks' and generally poorly informed citizens in the States who must have decided to vote for him - quite a few as it turned out. We never really looked at ourselves, we just tried to suppress the urge to laugh and feelings of '..only in America'. Unfortunately not. Had we had a good look at ourselves - as well as the US - we might have seen the signs of a corrosion of standards, of behaviours and that bizarre rivalry that has grown up between so-called celebrities and respected commentators on politics, social affairs and economics (BB would detach the BBC from this last group description). At face value, the Botox augmented pseudo-celebrity class seem to be winning. What is truly mortifying to a chap of BB's generation is that the desire for the population to nurture this sort of trivial and valueless presence in and around all our lives is gaining ground; it additionally gains ground in its fawning desire to reintroduce political correctness or woke'ism in some sort of egregious display of their social awareness, their modernity and re-assessed thoughts. Break down and erase the old and on with the new, liberal and hugely disagreeable trend for 'taking the knee' - and not just about BLM issues.
The counter effect to this is, of course, the rise of new fascist and right wing nationalism, of terrorism in all its forms and an ambiguous response by governments of every hue across the collective West - always trying to find the middle ground between the liberal left and the less liberal right - votes rely on pandering to both camps simultaneously, do they not ? And whilst religion remains - as ever- one of the pillars and justifications of conflict around the world, its presence on the ground among the populations of the West is diminishing to a point of almost disappearing; such is the abrogation of responsibility by the majority of church leaders who vacantly stare around with prophetic thoughts but very little action. We are fast reaching the point of true faith being replaced by tinsel town demi-gods of very questionable value and agenda's that - even taking a mild view - are dodgy beyond belief.
Politically, we see Western Europe in some crisis. Notable leaders are edging towards the stage-doors, looking for a way out of the myriad complexities of balancing the societies they govern. Many of these notables will leave behind a very poor substitute in their stead as they pander to that heady mix of woke-appreciation and vested interest. We need only look at recent Western judgements and commentary on affairs in Saudi, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Yemen, China and Russia to see that our collective governance is so afraid of upsetting somebody. Yet again, votes rely on this squidgy commitment to any proper values.
So, it was not just a Trump phenomena when a horde of isolationist red-necks came out and put him in the White House. But it was that same horde, in their ignorant and trigger-happy way, that caused him to leave it in the messiest and most vulgar fashion. All the ingredients are in the melting pot for it to happen elsewhere in the Western Sphere - look around, and really tell yourself that you are not looking at a decay of values, behaviour and standards at every level of society that are burning underfoot. And there are not many guesses needed to see who might be stoking the fires.