The past decade has seen a rise in populism. Only in the past 2 years in the UK, UKIP nearly had 4 million votes in the 2015 elections (but due to FPTP held only one seat), we saw the rise and fall of Scottish Nationalism, the rise of the left of Labour and the death of the Third Way, and most recently, we witnessed Brexit.
These things may have come a surprise and quite a big change to what we’re used to, but why are we so surprised these changes have come about? History is repeating itself, if you can’t see it, I’ll explain:
Many of you dear readers must be aware of the famous Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the depression of the 1930s.
If you look at Europe, there were at the time many countries that had just been ravaged from War and were just picking themselves up – the crash wrecked the recovery.
Germany is the blatant example, as with the failure of neoliberalism and the normal capitalist system, on top of austerity and the national shame of having lost WW1 and them having been blamed for it, people eventually looked at alternatives, with saw both the rise of the Nationalist Socialist Party and the mostly forgotten Communist Party of Germany. We all know what happened next.
This for sure is an extreme example, as having suffered a great world war (although we’re still recovering from a very long Cold War, and might potentially be going through a Second Cold War with the rise of Putin’s Russia), we did suffer a great hit with the 2007 credit crunch and the subsequent 2008 crash, along with looming austerity – Populism has once again risen from the ashes. Away with the fascination of “centre-ground politics” from the likes of Blair and Cameron – the likes of Comrade Corbyn and Lord Rees-Mogg have taken the centre stage of British Politics.
It’s not just in Britain too, across the continent we have seen the rise of Populist Parties – the Czech Republic just elected a Billionaire Populist.