Pay us, pass us, but do not quite forget, we are the people of England.

The Remainer Dinner Party. Look darling, there is a Leaver on the floor over there with a chicken leg

Many of us Salisbury Review readers interact daily with middle-class liberal-lefties, who abhor everything we stand for. Tell them that Boris is just what the country needs and they’ll pull a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle. Nobody with a sprinkling of grey matter would support such a boorish populist, so they think.  

But what on earth is this ‘populism’? For the patronising progressive class, it seems to mean anything that (a) they don’t like and (b) the plebs like very much. The masses are too thick to understand political and economic complexities, hence Brexit. But in a properly functioning democracy, surely what is popular is what counts? The current political crisis in the UK is not primarily constitutional, but a negation of franchise. A hundred years after universal suffrage, the British political establishment has decided to no longer trust the people.

Alongside other neoliberal media, the Financial Times is very concerned about the threats to globalisation from regressive tribalism. In the magazine last weekend, Simon Kuper gave six reasons why populists are winning: –

  1. Populism is majoritarian
  2. Populist topics such as immigration, Islamophobia  and anti-elitism dominate debate, and so seem urgently in need of intervention
  3. Right-wing populist messages are more popular than conservative messages
  4. In power, populists embolden the extreme right
  5. Taboos diminish as populist language is normalised
  6. Trump and Putin protect the far right worldwide

In the same glossy pages, Gillian Tett wondered whether populism has peaked. Fearing it has not, she referred to a recent Ipsos global survey showing that two-thirds of adults want ‘a strong leader to take their country back from the rich and powerful’, and almost as many ‘feel that experts don’t understand the lives of people like them’.  Half of the respondents agreed that ‘to fix the country we need a strong leader willing to break the rules’. These rules, we should understand, are not derived from natural justice or Judaeo-Christian mores, but those of a self-serving elite with a façade of liberal virtue.   

Our political and cultural superiors will never understand the concerns of the hoi polloi while they continue to label disagreeable opinion as ‘populist’. They are poor doctors, unable to assess, diagnose or cure society’s ills. Focusing on the symptoms rather than causes, they pathologise normal thoughts and behaviour. The appeal of Trump and Brexit is dismissed as an emotional flight from reason, allowing those with power and privilege to avoid any rational enquiry into electoral spasms.

Distaste for national identity and heritage is selective. Ironically, the cover feature in the same FT magazine was ‘Silencing of a culture’, on the fate of the Uyghur Muslim people at the brutal hands of the Chinese communist regime. This oppressed community deserves more attention, as I have raised elsewhere,  but for me there is no contradiction in supporting indigenous cultures on the other side of the world while also promoting the cultural rights at home. Progressive liberals, immersed in identity politics, lack such principle. They determine whether groups are deserving or not, leading to absurd notions such as Scottish nationalism good, British nationalism bad.

The Scottish National Party is not labelled as populist despite its dog-whistle deed to destroy the United Kingdom. English or British pride is banished, unfairly demonised as jingoistic and xenophobic. A Teessider is silenced, while a Taysider is not. I have heard middle-class students say that the English have no culture at all: only shame, mitigated by some good pop music.  

Isn’t populism a cry of cultural pain? Our political and cultural leaders would rather not hear.

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15 Comments on Pay us, pass us, but do not quite forget, we are the people of England.

  1. Good article, Niall. You have neatly skewered a core inconsistency in the liberal-leftie mindset: its selective bias.

    The well-to-do, thousand-yard-stare, humorless urban and globalist elite scribblers at the FT, along with The Economist’s, are among the chief enemies of the English, Americans, Australians and Japanese.

    E.g. the influential Martin Wolf wrote apoplectic rants about the ignorant xenophobes who carried the Brexit referendum. He’s a globalist elitist who believes in mass immigration and doing away with borders (as, in his view, they are outmoded artificial constructs supported only by bigoted “nativists”).

    But here’s the strange thing: he owes his very existence to the spirit of a unified nation under threat, and to strong borders, defended at great cost in blood, sweat and tears by your recent ancestors (e.g. the uncomplaining, knowing-they-were-doomed teenage crews of Bomber Command) and their brave allies (who also made huge sacrifices to defend the likes of him – the crews of the Mighty Eighth, and the GIs in the first wave at Omaha Beach suffered huge casualties) – his parents fled Nazi persecution of the Jews to settle in Wales.

    How can he be so obtuse as to not feel gratitude for strong borders and national solidarity against an evil enemy, or see that a country without borders or a strong positive unifying spirit is condemned to invasion and perfidy?

    • Sheilagh –

      Asking these guys to feel gratitude to the sacrifice and work of others is like asking a medieval lord to feel gratittude to the work of his serfs. It’s his birthright to be superior and obeyed by the masses.

      Recently in the USA, Oberlin college was hit by a huge punitive judgment because they tried to drive a local shop out of business for “racism” (they caught a black student shoplifting). Oberlin offered a “compromise” to the store if it didn’t want to be drummed out of business: to not stop “first time shoplifters”. In other words, Oberlin students, being gentlemen – oh sorry, that’s sexist – have the “droit de student au courant”, the right of the first shoplifting from the peasants.

      They were shocked when the store refuse this “offer” and went to court, and even more shocked that they lost. Since when do the peasants have the right to sue their lords and earls?

    • When I was a student 60 plus years ago, FT journos were said to be largely Communist Party members, a consequence perhaps of the content of economics degrees at the time.

  2. When your side wins, it’s “democracy”. When the other side wins, it’s “populism”. Similarly, when your side wins, “the people” listened to a “born leader”; when the other side wins, the “mob” listened to a “demagogue”. Etc,.

  3. I live in north London. I ought to be a metropolitan progressive. However, 2 people I knew have been murdered over the years in separate Muslim terrorist attacks and last week I passed the corpse of a man shot a mile from my home.
    This year I have been accused of being racist because I was irritated about how long it was taking to assess a woman’s eyes. The problem was that after 40 years in Britain she was illiterate in English and Arabic, so could not read a test chart. This delayed several others. On top of that her son said the local DGH was not good enough for her. She must be treated at a university teaching hospital.
    We the people of England have spoken in 2016. We have been ignored. We will prove JFK’s aphorism about peaceful change being replaced by the inevitable violent revolution if this continues.

    • Apparently, according to the BBC,there is a wave of right wing terrorism about. They did not specify what the terrorism consisted of, but perhaps it is white youths running around with knives shouting “Jesus loves you!”. I am waiting to know.

      • >white youths running around with knives shouting “Jesus loves you!”
        They’ll probably be those well-known enemies of the New Order: “Easter worshipers”!

      • It started with the murder of Jo Cox, then Finsbury Park. It’s rife in the US and NZ apparently. If those attacks had been by Muslims you’d have been foaming at the mouth.

        • What surprises us in Asia is how few right-wing nutjob attacks there have been in your societies, given the extreme provocation over the years: some 3,500 on 9/11, tens of thousands of children gang-raped for years in towns around England, hundreds of young women sexually assaulted in German and Swedish town centers and swimming pools, journalists massacred in their offices, shoppers and tourists mown down by trucks, being branded as racist and being cautioned by the police for criticising a foreign religion…what is truly remarkable is how tolerant and moderate your societies are. The problem for you is that intolerance ALWAYS drives out tolerance. Without reciprocity, your societies are doomed.

        • Don’t be daft Crosseyed Mary – since 9/11 upwards of 35000 people have been murdered in Islamic terror attacks, many of them retaliation even from the fruitcake fringe in the anglosphere has been close to zero. Convincing proof that secular christianity is the greatest ethical system of all time.

          • CORRECTION. should say many of the 35000 have been brother muslims. Full stop, Retaliation … (pity can’t correct careless posts one here, silly me.)

        • But you must consider the “root causes” of right wing terrorism, just like you consider the “root causes” of Islamic terrorism. Remember: when you consider such root causes, anybody and everybody except the terrorists themselves are to blame.

          Surely Ms. Cox had it coming, just like America deserved the 9/11 attack, Israel the 2nd Intifada, or battered women their beating… Oh did I say that last one out loud? Well, they deserve their beating when they’re Muslim, at least, since pointing out wife-beating in the Muslim community is “Islamophobic”, you know.

  4. When a terrorist shouts “allahu akbar!” That is arabic for “my motives shall remain forever mysterious!”. The end result, of course, is that when the media reports merely an “attack” or an “extremist”, you know it’s muslims – when it’s anyone else, they name them.

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