It’s certainly been a good few years for rubbing your eyes, shaking your head, looking at whatever you were drinking, and then pouring it down the drain.
Because you’d have to be drinking some sort of unspecified purple liquid to think that England & Wales voting to leave the EU was anything but the triumph of what most media and political folk inaccurately label populism, and that the UK is “one of few states in Europe without support for a “populist” party.”
And to be fair, Mr Nelson isn’t alone in trying to distance the EU referendum result from the far-right tide:
Why Brexit Is Best for Britain: The Left-Wing Case
Although Lexiteers have little patience for the national nihilism of “Davos Man,” the globalist elite, we are no xenophobes. We voted Leave because we believe it is essential to preserve the two things we value most: a democratic political system and a social-democratic society. We fear that the European Union’s authoritarian project of neoliberal integration is a breeding ground for the far right. By sealing off so much policy, including the imposition of long-term austerity measures and mass immigration, from the democratic process, the union has broken the contract between mainstream national politicians and their voters. This has opened the door to right-wing populists who claim to represent “the people,” already angry at austerity, against the immigrant.
– Alan Johnson, 28th March 2017
Brexit is a reaction to the rise of left-wing populism
Far from being a right-wing populist conspiracy, Brexit is a repudiation to an ever-encroaching left-wing populist orthodoxy.
Lord Adonis and Tony Blair are now a double-act, taking turns in successive weeks to support each other in barmy Brexit-bashing. Adonis and Blair are portraying Brexit as a populist, right-wing conspiracy of recent years, but they are diverting attention from the populist, left-wing conspiracy of their years in government. In fact, “populism” means anti-elitism; thus, it is naturally more left-wing than right-wing, if it is partisan at all. Consistently, Blair has always offered a left-wing populism in opposition to an imagined right-wing “establishment.”
– Bruce Newsome, 17th January 2018
Jeremy Hunt: Don’t confuse Brexit with right-wing populism
The UK foreign secretary said a no deal scenario would be ‘a tragedy for Europe.’
The U.K.’s vote to quit the European Union should not be associated with populist insurgencies elsewhere on the Continent, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told French public radio Tuesday. “The real mistake is to confuse Brexit with right-wing populism,” he said in a morning interview on France Inter, partially in French and partially translated from English. “I don’t think it’s a secret that, for years, we have not been very happy with the legal structures of the European Union, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t European, don’t share European values,” he added. The British foreign minister also stressed to listeners in French the importance of negotiating exit terms before the U.K.’s scheduled departure in March 2019. “A no-deal Brexit will be a tragedy for Europe,” he said.
– 31st July 2018
You could infer that there’s a meme going around certain UK Government party circles deliberately dissociating leaving the EU and “other” right-wing “populism,” despite the astounding revelations regarding certain Facebook ads which seem to indicate otherwise. Which will no doubt be news to most of the Leave campaigns heroes, be they the perpetually unelected figurehead who spoke at an AFD rally, or indeed all those far-right “populist” movements which hailed and rejoiced upon hearing the news. It’s almost as if they’re desperately pretending that what they call extremism is the new normal in UK political discourse.
But perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps Mr Nelson and all the other “I don’t actually want the UK to leave the EU, but we must abide by a gerrymandered, exclusionary referendum that it transpires was also massively compromised by illegal means” crowd are right: the best way to crush “populism” is to do exactly what the “populists” want.
Well done, UK. You sure stopped those “populists” in their tracks.