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'Populist'

(56 Posts)
Labaik Mon 27-May-19 10:52:20

Can someone please explain to me why some parties are described as 'populist' because it seems to me that it only seems to be applied to rather right wing parties. Shouldn't the Greens and LibDems be described as 'populist' given that they are now gaining lots of votes and seem to be 'popular' at the moment. It surely makes a part seem rather 'jolly'. I know I shouldn't use the 'H' word but that's what I'm thinking so I'll have to but would Hitlers party, before WWI be described as populist? Can I please just have a sensible explanation as I genuinely want to know. Thank you.

TerriBull Mon 27-May-19 11:11:07

My understanding is that the word is used in a pejorative way to describe something that could be deemed "lowbrow", for example "The Sun" newspaper which I believe may have the highest circulation, although not absolutely sure if that is the case. Nevertheless it could be considered that it's not the most intelligent of publications in the stance it takes in that it has been known to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Mycatisahacker Mon 27-May-19 11:12:46

It’s a sneery patronising expression from the political elite to try and snub and silence people’s views.

It led us to this present Brexit mess.,

TerriBull Mon 27-May-19 11:18:25

.....and what My cat has just said.

Nonnie Mon 27-May-19 11:59:58

Why can't they simply say what they mean because I think many of us are unsure about it?

I had to look up 'gammon' too. Wondering why we have to change the use of words, phobic means irrational fear of so why is it used to mean something else? I am sad we have lost the word 'gay' as it had a lovely meaning and it wasn't necessary to take it over for something else. Perhaps I'm just getting old?

eazybee Mon 27-May-19 12:01:07

Populist: relating to or characteristic of a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.

So it is perfectly all right to apply this term to Brexit or UKIP, (please note term 'ordinary') but not to the Greens, because it is their self-appointed mission to tell everyone else what not to do.

Labaik Mon 27-May-19 12:13:52

So, isn't elite a slightly derogatory term? And how can the Brexit party have MEP's who live in France, a leader who lives a very rich lifestyle [funded we know not how] Rees Moggs sister who, I would imagine is pretty rich etc be regarded as 'populist' and not 'elitist'. So can someone explain to me what 'elitist' means?. [it's all beginning to resemble something out of Gullivers Travels].

yggdrasil Mon 27-May-19 13:27:57

'populist' all over Europe is a polite way of saying right-wing bordering on Fascist.

Mycatisahacker Mon 27-May-19 13:33:57

No that could apply to left wing populist too. Like momentum.

varian Mon 27-May-19 14:44:23

It seems to me that populist politicians exploit the legitimate grievances of ordinary people, particularly the disadvantaged, by pointing the finger of blame at "elites" or "immigrants" or "foriegners" or even sections of these disadvantaged themselves such as "benefit claimants".

The key to getting votes for populist parties is, firstly whipping up feelings of anger and resentment, secondly targetting those to be held responsible (whether they actually are or not) and, most importantly, offering very simple answers to very complicated questions - you vote for us, we'll get out of the EU/ deport all asylum seekers / slash foriegn aid / cut the benefits of scroungers/ build more prisons/ bring back hanging / cut taxes etc.

They will not usually offer up all these wonderful policies at once, as it could confuse the voters, so to keep it simple, start with just one thing, say leave the EU, then make it "no-deal - WTO terms" and only if that is successful might other policies come along later. The key to success for populism is KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Mycatisahacker Mon 27-May-19 14:44:56

I think these terms are used by everyone to suit their own agenda to be honest.

Blinko Mon 27-May-19 15:23:38

Mycat except that Momentum isn't particularly popular...

Mycatisahacker Mon 27-May-19 15:31:10

Well they are popular amongst labour voters.

Jabberwok Mon 27-May-19 16:08:41

Hitler didn't have a party before WW1!

Labaik Mon 27-May-19 16:38:49

It was obviously a typing error Jabberwock....happy for you to point out any other errors I make...xx

M0nica Mon 27-May-19 17:00:53

Populist means responding to the lowest common denominator of public opinion. the views of the baying mob,

Hence it being used mainly for rightwing parties that would ban immigration, bring back hanging and flogging and keep women in the home.

yggdrasil Mon 27-May-19 17:18:19

'momentum' is not 'populist' unless the labour party as a whole is. They have the same aims as the wider party, which covers a great deal of policies as per the Manifesto.
They are just the other end to the Blairites .

M0nica Mon 27-May-19 17:23:26

I wouldn't argue with that yggdrasil, but they have an awful lot of policies that are not in the manifesto and they will not countenance anybody in the party, especially MPs who do not do exactly what they demand.

Baggs Mon 27-May-19 17:36:12

Populism means what the people want. Quite often (always?) the elite, those with power, do not want the same as what the common people want so some of them are disparaging about it.

Democracy is all about populism.

lemongrove Mon 27-May-19 17:44:21

Momentum are ‘populist’ I suppose (with a lot of Labour members as opposed to voters giving them backing.)

Populist causes could be climate change, politics, or almost anything.

I think that rather than the baying mob as you say Monica I would say populist is imagining what the man on the Clapham Omnibus agrees with is the more apt.

lemongrove Mon 27-May-19 17:45:30

A very good description Baggs of populism.👏🏻

Jabberwok Mon 27-May-19 17:46:51

Not necessarily Labaik. You might well have thought that for all I knew!

janeainsworth Mon 27-May-19 18:45:23

Democracy is all about populism

Baggs I beg to differ.
A representative democracy means that our elected representatives are chosen to make decisions on our behalf.
The decisions they take should be in the best interests of society as a whole and are frequently at variance with what (some of) the population thinks it wants.
A government of integrity would be prepared to take unpopular decisions in the national interest.
Sadly, it’s quite a long time since we’ve had one of those. The era of sound bite politics has given people the idea that politics is a simple matter and ‘the will of the people’ is all that matters. Successive governments have bent to this idea and now we have the result.

It’s quite possible that if we were ruled by ‘the will of the people’ homosexuality would still be illegal and we would still have capital punishment.

varian Mon 27-May-19 19:01:42

I agree janeainsworth. The first duty of an MP is never to willfully inflict harm on his/her constituents, or the country. She/he is a representative, not a delegate obliged to vote and act as instructed by constituents, but to do what she/he judges to be in their best interests. I hope that our MPs do that and Revoke Article 50 rather than allow a disastrous no-deal brexit to happen.

Baggs Mon 27-May-19 19:30:53

I understand the argument about elected representatives but I find it sits uncomfortably with my own feeling that MPs are to represent the people's views. This does not necessarily mean they will need to make decisions that they believe are not in the interests of society as a whole. I see democracy as a constant discussion.

I don't think our current laws on such things as homosexuality or the death penalty were made by parliament deciding against views of the populus; I think such changes in the law as those have come about as a result of changes in attitudes in the population as a whole which, of course, does not mean everyone agrees.

I think parliament reflects society rather than society 'following' parliament. There will be examples that can be used to argue either way. Populism is not a simple thing, nor is it necessarily a negative thing. It's unfortunate that it's often portrayed as negative in the media. Some of it is, of course, but not all by a long shot.

This ten minute Point of View on R4 gives an interesting view of populism as a balancing influence.