Time to take away the plebs vote.

Next edition of Salisbury Review out September 7th

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, (Chinese Muslims)  but for me there is no contradiction in supporting indigenous cultures on the other side of the world while 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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6 Comments on Time to take away the plebs vote.

  1. when you vote their way, you’re a democrat. When you vote the other way, you’re a populist. You’d think these highly educated folks would know the two words mean the same, in Greek and English respectively.

  2. In 1945 the populists were Attlee’s socialists. Churchill warned the electorate that their populist form of socialism, as with any form of that creed, results in their eventual need for some sort of gestapo., then he graciously accepted defeat at the subsequent election.

    As he predicted, we are now almost at the time where socialist beliefs and acts have completely pervaded the establishment, and there is a new form of free market based populism, we have decided a long time after Churchill’s wise words, that he was indeed right, unlike his grandson.

    I think that there is a massive head of steam building up that is very angry at the various forms of socialism, from the Maybot soft socialism through to the Lucas watermelon version, and these people are right to fear a general election with the Brexit Party campaign already underway.

    Like you say, populism as practised by the great unwashed is a much fairer way of looking at what a nation wishes than a bunch of arrogant self entitled experts who are bent on securing their own sinecures more than anything else.

    • Rather than mere “arrogant self entitled experts” we have a clique of hardline Lefties determined to have yet another go at creating the true Marxist state (as Lefties are fond of telling us real socialism hasn’t been tried yet).

      The new gang of four, Jeremy Corbyn / John McDonnell / Len McCluskey / Seamus Milne have their own batch of useful idiots on the opposition benches. The Remainiac LibDems, the single-issue SNP, the pathetic Plaid Cymru and various dissident Conservatives would gladly rally behind them and make Corbyn a “caretaker Prime Minister” just to oust the hated Johnson government.

      I am not familiar enough with Parliamentary procedure to know if this is possible but would a caretaker Corbyn government be able to lower the voting age to 16 prior to a general election? Labour have been promising (sorry, pledging) an end to austerity with all sorts of hardline socialist policies that could easily appeal to the naive expectations of idealistic and entitled younger voters.

  3. 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?

  4. My English middle-class student nephew recently shrugged and said dismissively, ‘Who are the English?’
    I patiently explained that they’re a kinship group, like an extended family. An Englishman has a 99% of being descended from Edward III. All English people are, at the furthest remove, fifteenth cousins. Most of us are much more closely related. Trying to destroy a people’s ‘nationalist’ feeling is exactly like destroying a sense of family loyalty. And so on.
    He ran this information through his indoctrinated mind a moment, and then said, ‘That sounds, like, Nazi?’

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