Brexit. The Tip of The Populist Iceberg?
For some people in Britain, before 23 June 2016, populist politicians like Nigel Farage were nothing but comets crossing the political orbit every century or so, and whose actual influence on politics would always be deemed both insignificant and inconsequential. That was before the EU referendum took place.
Farage was no comet. The Brexit vote was no accident. A combination of unfortunate factors and events eventually led to the 23 June vote that resulted in the Brexit win. Everyone now accepts, for instance, that the senior campaigners in favour of the Remain vote, during the British EU referendum campaign, were perceived by the public as the “Project Fear” team (representing the establishment, the elites, the economic notability and their so-called experts) and their fearful language somehow discredited them, whilst the Leave vote campaigners used a largely populist rhetoric, claiming that THEY were speaking up for ordinary working people and THEY were defending them against the fat-cats. 52% of the British voters believed them.
Could Brexit and its accurately predicted catastrophic outcome (dropping currency, global market losses, loss of economic confidence and threats of job and investment losses) be the final drop that will change the way people vote for the decades to come in Europe, and to some extent maybe, all over the world? Or could it actually broaden the populists’ message of widespread insecurity, mass immigration and economic crisis, and make it even stronger than ever before, thanks to the likes of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, the Machiavels and Mephistopheleses of the twenty-first century?
Was Brexit only the tip of the populist iceberg? Are there any other underlying reasons why the populist vote is trending across Europe and in America, whilst Latin America is going the opposite direction and turning its back to populism? More generally, what makes people vote for populist politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Nigel Farage or Donald Trump? What makes them serious contenders compared to other mainstream politicians?
For the last few decades or so, in many countries across the globe, people have been tempted by the populist vote with promises of more democracy, less corruption, more transparency, more reforms, fewer elites, fewer experts and more power to the people (“Take back control” was the motto of the Leave campaigners during the British EU Referendum campaign, whilst “Make America great again” was Trump’s motto). But how has it actually materialised, so far?
We will here publish an exclusive series of articles reporting on the way populism has been spreading so far in Europe in recent years, and try to find the facts that may illustrate whether the populist trend is still spreading or finally coming to a slowdown, even a halt.
The articles will constitute the basis for the first volume in the series of 4 books on populism in politics: "The Tip of The Populist Iceberg?". The first volume, "Populism in Europe", was released on 19 November 2016 and is available in print, eBook and audiobook on Amazon worldwide.
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ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON BYLINE.COM
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