Populist Conservatism…

The Economist is beginning to get the measure of today’s Conservative government.

Actually all of the (linked) article is worth reading because it demonstrates how the right wing think tanks are intertwined and influential in the current UK government, but these paragraphs are particularly notable:

If Mr Johnson’s classical education did not teach him the danger of playing with populist fire, the events of January 6th in Washington should have. America’s democracy and society may have sustained long-term damage. The Republican Party certainly has. If the Tories want to avoid similar peril to the nation and the party, they need to change the way they behave, and not just by pretending they never met Mr Trump.

I don’t hold out much hope for their conclusion:

The Tories need to engage in this debate and to develop some real policies to solve the real problems on which populism feeds. Mr Johnson has rightly identified “levelling up”—boosting prosperity outside London and the south-east of England—as an important focus for his government, but has neglected to explain how this end might be achieved. Instead of devoting his considerable talents to divisive rhetoric, he should focus on boring, serious stuff that makes Britain better.

While QAnon and the Russia conspiracy are certainly not yet dead – the US could go after the Trumpists with full force. If so this, it seems to me, is likely to turn up some awkward questions on Brexit.

So the Brexit narrative may well be about to get difficult…


  1. Paul Wright -

    Whilst there is some grim satisfaction to watch the populist brexit fall apart, there is still no chance of an alternative to populist narrative in the UK. The Economist is way out of line with the Mail, Telegraph, Express, Times, Sun and indeed the compliant BBC. The Blue rinse in my leafy suburban street is as right wing as ever, as xenophobic as ever!! Dream on Economist.
    Should there be a snap election as Polly Toynbee conjectures then Boris Johnson would be undoubtedly be re elected. Meanwhile Anilese Dodds signals that Starmer’s Labour Party will be staunchly neo liberal in the Mandelson/Blair tradition in perpetuity, bye bye MMT.
    The economist may think that Trump will be impeached, but that is not certain, and if he is, there will be a long, long legal battle. It is quite possible that he could stand for re election in 2024. Perhaps what the Economist overlooks is that Johnson does not need for his foot soldiers to physically breach parliament, he has only invoke a Henry VIII act or to prorougue parliament again. Simples!
    Brexit will almost certainly get worse and worse as will the handling of Covid, but this will not be evident to the MSM reading public, nor will it change the gung-ho sentiments of Tory England. One Nation Tory – what’s that!
    The question is; how now do Progressives conjure up a force for change in a deeply, deeply conservative environment with a quasi fascist media.
    Answers Please to Peter May – Progressive Pulse.
    Thanks for the blog Peter.


    1. Peter May -

      Thanks and I fear I have to agree with your less than rosy picture…

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