The difference between “popular” and “populism”

Lots of gnashy Brexiters react furiously to being described as “populist”. They reject the implicit insult.

Instead, they spin “populism” as a salt-of-the-earth approach which merely refers to political activities or ideas that claim to promote the interests and opinions of ordinary people.

Similarly, feminism spins itself as being merely about equality. 

In reality, much feminism is animated by an animus against men.

Unfortunately, that self-serving definition of populism is self-pitying pish.

Worthy ideas (such as charity, or the NHS) can be popular. But “populist” refers to the kind of popularity which is obtained through deception and cynical over-simplification.

In reality, “populism” refers to simplistic, slogan-based “solutions” to complex issues (such as “get Brexit done” (without even defining how lol), or “take back control“, or “too many foreigners“), and usually proffered cynically, in the knowledge that the “solution” won’t work in reality (Brexit has of course failed on every count) – but it will build up enough of a head of emotional steam (in a socially fractured internet age) to create short-term political changes.

Britain’s Nigel Farage is a master at this side-line expert schtick – full of simple, megaphone solutions, but without the guts to take part in real politics himself.  Shouting beery slogans from the side-lines is as good as it gets for this 7-times political loser.  We saw what happened when short-lived British PM Truss attempted a populist solution – chaos, and the world’s fastest u-turn lol.

My sincerest wish is that Farage’s new “party” – “Reform” – win a thumping majority and actually get into power, instead of wanking endlessly on the sidelines.  It’d be the most fun spectator sport ever, watching choleric armchair theorists trying to govern on the basis of emotion.  You’d have the IMF in inside a decade, after the destruction of the monarchy and the mass disorder and food riots. 

And how ironic is this – Farage’s Reform party is not even a party in the truest sense, but a registered company with centralised control. It had been a Farage vehicle, but is now led by Richard Tice, a property investor turned political agitator.

That is, the man who advocated that Britain should “take back control” has set up an unaccountable apparatus ran primarily by a small cabal.

Smells like the 1930s folks. 

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