One of the things that struck me particularly about last night’s Newsnight Special, was the extent to which Democrats remained in a state of denial not only about the election of Donald Trump but also about the reasons why he won. There was a palpable sense in which they simply could not believe that their neo-liberal experiment had been rejected by a substantial proportion of the population; a remaining belief that they were the ‘establishment’ and that they had a God-given right to rule and that the people had been duped by a demagogue with promises that he would be unable to carry out. It was the same with Brexit where few were prepared to saw the ‘Leave’ would win, something many ‘Leavers’ also thought. The polls in both Britain and the USA got it badly wrong and political elites across Europe—with national elections in 2017—are looking with increased scepticism at polls that suggest they will win and the populist resurgence will fail. The issues which the political establishment have failed to address are broadly the same across the western world—the benefits of global economic prosperity have not be spread across society with those that have gaining more and those without losing further; the impact of uncontrolled immigration; a burgeoning sense that government is unresponsive, unaccountable (yes we have elections but the result is simply more of the same) and corrupt; and, the overarching sense that the democratic experiment is under threat from globalism and global institutions whose power is increasingly pervasive and linked to national institutions and elites.
|Old and New or Old and Old?|