Populism in the UK

It’s been said so many times that it’s beginning to sound like a cliche: the status quo and everything it represents is on a decline while populism in all its forms are on the rise. Manifesting in multiple parties, the populist movement continue to surge in parliaments around the world and it doesn’t seem like it is going to stop anytime soon. While it’s often easy to ridicule decisions or problems on the other side of the pond that seem alien to us, this isn’t exclusive to one nation - it’s a pressing issue around the world, but it’s become increasingly so in the last couple of years in Europe. The latest testimony to this is the election in Italy where the 5 Star Movement and the Northern League received more than half of votes.

Despite the fact that populism comes in different shapes and sizes, they all have common traits. What ties all the groups together is mainly the perception that governments have been reluctant to address problems close to the hearts of those that feel left behind. This perception stems from this group lacking behind and seeing the so-called elite reap all the benefits of the globalisation that they themselves advocate for, while disdaining working and lower-middle class’ views as “incorrect”. The power felt by the working and middle class is shrinking, all the while governments grow ever the more powerful. Regardless of how legitimate this perception may be, they do not take into consideration how viable these populist policies are or what their consequences could be.

With the rise of populism in Europe, the Libertarian Club - Libek (an organisation promoting individual liberty and economic freedom in Serbia and the Western Balkans) have released a publication bringing together 12 authors to analyze the rise of populism and what the appropriate response from the international freedom movement should be. Some of the authors include Anna Applebaum, Dr. Tom G. Palmer and our very own Director Dr. Eamonn Butler.

In Dr. Butler’s article he writes about the state of populism in the UK touching on Brexit and why the Brits rejected the the dire warnings sent out by the government, why the interests of Britain differ from those of the continent, why what we’ve seen in the UK is not as much populism as it is the public poking fun at their leaders, and why this might not be bad as we think after all.

You can find Dr. Butler’s article, "Populism in the UK", on page 55 of the publication alongside with a bunch of other great articles.