Both the UK and International media have droned on about the current string of ‘Populism ‘ first started with Brexit and then Trump. I believe this is utter tosh. Well at least the Brexit bit.
The rationale of Trump’s success, as seemingly bonkers as it is, was probably underwritten by Populism. But aligning it with Brexit misses the point, if not a whole load of points.
Let’s be clear how Populism is defined . And it is a clear definition.
the principles and doctrines of any political party asserting that it represents the rank and file of the people.
This is the simplest and most common definition used by a number of dictionaries and reference sources. Ironically, it first came to light in 19 century in the States, with the Peoples Party of the USA
Well that sorts Trump out but for the most part has little to do with Brexit.
I need to declare my position, albeit I have previously posted my opinions some time ago. I voted to remain and I still believe in the EU, despite it being corrupt, undemocratic, and unaccountable, which maybe says a lot more about me! However, we have a democratic vote , which I accept and should get on with making the best of it,
The UK has been wobbly and unconvinced about the whole ‘European thing ‘ since the day we joined. It is not even marmite ( for the hordes of international readers ‘ love it or hate it ‘). Even the most ardent remainers have had many doubts and questions, concluding with ‘there is no better alternative ‘ or something similar.
Leave , or Brexiteers, had and have many motives, ranging from immigration, sovereignty, distrust of the EU, fed up with some of its, sometimes odd, regulations ,financial inadequacy and complete lack of clarity. Within these motivations there is, of course, a feeling of disassociation from our own politicians. However, this was not the driving factor illustrated by recent ‘by elections’ where the supposed ‘populist ‘ party fared badly and is in complete disarray. If Brexit heralded a populist revival they would be wallowing in success and they are not. The overriding reason for the referendum result was that the British public wanted to leave the EU.
I would hazard a guess that currently many mainstream European politicians are lumping the Brexit vote in with Trump and perhaps Beppo Grillo in Italy , to try and demean the UK decision as somewhat naive and oddball. If the EU politicians continue to ignore that many EU citizens disagree with many of its processes , but have never been given the opportunity to express themselves then they will only encourage the growth of truly ‘populist ‘ organisations . Then the problem arises with the Populist vacuum being invariably filled by groups who have other spurious agendas which are masked under Populism and you end up with more Trumps.
There appears to be an intentional confusion created with Populism and Nationalism . 10 years ago Le Front National in France and The Party of Freedom in the Netherlands were never described as Populist. They were classified as extreme right wing nationalists. The word Populism has helped masked their,perhaps, more extreme intentions. Pure Populism can be clothed in political clothing from either end of the scale from extreme left to extreme right and anything in between.
That all said , with an ex chancellor of the exchequer having 3 jobs plus that of an MP , with an annual income exceeding that of most people’s life time earnings, and an opposition leader who has no idea why his party’s support is plummeting, the political disconnect in the U.K. will grow. In which case there is an increasing likelihood of a real Populist reaction.
So I suppose that blows my theory out of the water. Well, not really as it has nothing to do with Brexit.