The Dangers of Political Extremism (2)


It is a difficult moment to be writing anything political. Especially about the UK. But I think it important to keep writing about the dangers of extremism.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there are political systems, which have been forged over hundreds of years. They are not perfect. But they work.

This morning in the UK, we see the consequences of extremism. It is a huge challenge not to respond in kind. And that challenge has never been greater, in both the UK and the US.

In both countries, in the past few years, we have seen the increasing political expression of those people who feel left behind.

Yesterday, I linked to an article which described, at length, and in terms with which I did not totally agree, what could happen if those of the US middle class who felt left behind, if their concerns were not addressed.

I do think that Trump will fail both the US middle class who voted for him, and those ordinary working Americans who voted for him, also.

My continuing worry is what happens if thinking politicians, activists and advocates do not provide an alternative to Trump, one which speaks to the worries of his more reasonable supporters, but in a manner which is healthy.

I do believe that the immediate politics of the left and right in the US do not address the concerns of those more reasonable people who voted for Trump. Who voted out of fear. Who felt left behind. Who had no answers themselves. Who fell for the man who addressed their fear by offering them something to blame and someone from whom they could take.

It is my fervent opinion that we do not find a positive way forward by simply ignoring their expressed concerns. We need to find a new approach, which offers populist solutions, but solutions which are inclusive, beneficial and positive.

The alternative is that we end up with a solution which is even more ugly than Trump. As described in a detailed article about US national socialism in today’s London Guardian.

Nick Cohen in the London Observer addresses the same problem in the UK. What do politicians of the left do when they are faced with British ‘left-behinds’? How do they respond to their demands of ‘fairness’ for them, over ‘equality’ for the disadvantaged and immigrants? How far can the left travel before it finds itself supporting policies that are no longer social democratic?

To be honest, Nick doesn’t offer any answers. And to be equally clear-headed, it is more than likely than many of those ‘left-behinds’ will find a temporary answer this coming Thursday in the UKIP version of the British Conservative Party. As their American counterparts did with Trump.

But, as with Trump, what happens if and when Theresa May fails, and/or the British Labour Party continues to present policies that the British ‘left-behinds’ feel do not address their fears? Is it time for an approach in the UK that mirrors my suggested Democratic Populism in the US?

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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