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Trump, Putin and Johnson, populism and Covid - 19

(28 Posts)
Dinahmo Fri 12-Jun-20 18:57:10

There have been several articles in the paper and on the tv news about how those countries with right wing, populist heads of state have the worst results in the current crisis. Such as the three named above.

I've just read an interesting article in the Guardian with Fiona Hill who is an expert on Russia. The lady is English from a mining family in Bishop Auckland and she describes her life there and hr reasons for moving to America. She also describes working for Trump as an adviser.

I thought that a few of you might be interested in her perspective on the current situation and some of you may have read it already. Anyway, here's a link

varian Tue 16-Jun-20 12:31:22

Fiona Hill states that Russia has undermined democracy in US.

This radio 4 programme discusses the abject failure of populist leaders in dealing with the pandemic

Fennel Tue 16-Jun-20 16:31:57

What an interesting person! I wonder where she got all this experience and especially knowledge of Russian politis.
I'm not surprised she has this standpoint - I worked in that part of Co. Durham in the late 50s, early 60s. Everything was going downhill.
I can't comment on the 'populism' aspect - don't really know what it means.

MaizieD Tue 16-Jun-20 20:13:41

There was a long article about her in the Guardian recently, Fennel

Elegran Tue 16-Jun-20 21:16:30

Fenel My impression of what defines a "populist" leader is that they work very hard at being popular - not at having good judgment, or at doing a lot of research into situations and finding the best policies, or even at being a good leader, but at being the most popular choice of "the people".

Rather like those teenagers whose ambition is "to be famous", but if asked, "famous for what?" they have no answer.

Dinahmo Tue 16-Jun-20 21:21:35

Fennel Briefly populism is the juxtaposition of the "people" against the "elite". This was apparent during the run up to the referendum and during the period afterwards, until the election of Johnson. The experts, who would be considered to be part of the elite were derided by both right wing politicians and the masses. Things have changed because of covid and now I think that the majority of the population wpild like the government to take more notice of the experts.

varian Wed 17-Jun-20 11:46:03

A significant feature of populism is the way it is led by hugely priviliged millionaires and billionaires who are never themselves seen as part of the elite.

These people have their own right wing authoritarian agenda but somehow manage to pull the wool over the eyes of those they exploit.

Fennel Wed 17-Jun-20 12:20:15

I understand now - so Ronald Reagan could be called a populist. proably more of them in America than anywhere.
Could we have David Beckham as PM? grin.
Though seriously, I think Idris Elba would make a good PM .
Or currently, Marcus Rashford. All more 'in touch' with the people than the current lot who just don't seem to care.
I see Fiona Hill studied Russian and History for some years.

Nortsat Wed 17-Jun-20 12:32:02

Dinah I agree, very interesting article. I would have liked more.

I completely agree that leaders who are fit to lead, don’t need [to stoop to] populism to get themselves elected.

I would have been very interested in further parallels between industrial decline in the USA, UK and Russia and the resultant drift to populism.

Davidhs Wed 17-Jun-20 16:00:04

They are all “nationalists” that appeal to patriotism and putting the interests of the home country first, against the terrible foreigners.

Nationalism attracts votes from across the political spectrum, long term Putin is the master, Trump and Johnson are juniors but it works every time.

MaizieD Wed 17-Jun-20 19:22:34

Shouldn't that read 'Putin is the master of Trump and Johnson', David?

Davidhs Wed 17-Jun-20 19:46:06

“ Shouldn't that read 'Putin is the master of Trump and Johnson', David?”

LOL, more likely they realized how successful Putin had been and Cummins decided to copy him.

varian Fri 19-Jun-20 11:13:09

Facebook says it has removed adverts for US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign that featured a symbol used in Nazi Germany.

MaizieD Fri 19-Jun-20 11:30:44

more likely they realized how successful Putin had been and Cummins decided to copy him.

I'd disagree, David. There's too much 'Russian connection' with both Trump and Johnson. To bring it close to home, Cummings spent three years in Russia, nobody seems to know what he was up to there, apart from failing to run an airline.

Johnson has connections with Russians who have been part of the Putin regime and there is the matter of large Russian donations to the tory party. It's pretty clear that many 'donations' to the tory party are, in fact, bribes which create obligations in the recipients, or 'rewards' for obediently carrying out the donor's wishes (look at the Jenrick affair).

It has been Putin's overt policy to destabilise the EU and the tory party, directed by Cummings, are busily implementing this policy (or trying to; I don't think that our leaving has quite the destabilising effect Putin was hoping for).

It's obvious that there is something in the Russian Report which Cummings/Johnson doesn't want us to know...

None of this says 'copying' to me. It says complicity...

Baggs Fri 19-Jun-20 11:43:00

Anyone who really believes in democracy — "the right and ability of the common people to play a major part in governing themselves" — must also, by that definition from Chambers Dictionary, think populism is a good thing.

Baggs Fri 19-Jun-20 11:43:53

The problems start, I suppose, when one thinks "the people" are a bunch of nincumpoops.

Elegran Fri 19-Jun-20 12:06:46

I think there are also problems when one considers the duplicity of leaders who claim to be governing by the !will of the people" while in reality are pursuing their own financial and personal power structure. If they enlist enough media moguls, lobbying experts and crowd psychology gurus then the mood of the people can be manipulated to suit any policies.

Historical world conquerors didn't claim to be carrying out the "will of the people". They just got stuck in to cutting down those whose will didn't chime with theirs. The results were not much different.

MaizieD Fri 19-Jun-20 12:33:12

I suspect that populists tend to use 'democracy' as a peg to gain power, but once in power follow their own agenda without regard to the the restraints of democracy.

Heavens, aren't we watching this happening in real time to the UK?

varian Fri 19-Jun-20 17:59:54

Have you noticed how Johnson, Trump and other populist politicians often say "what the people want is ..."?

The readers of the Daily Express and the Mail just lap this up.

Impartialandeducated Fri 19-Jun-20 23:15:23

Poor old Maizie D. Do you not realise that its not a matter of using democracy as a peg to gain power, whatever that means, rather the gaining of power is a result of the process of democracy. Sadly Guardian readers reserve the use of the word populism to negatively describe views that, while in line with what the majority want to see and indeed have voted for at the election booths, are at odds with the dogma of the left which the electorate rejected in huge numbers. I would suggest that the recent "taking the knee" in support of a career criminal, removing historical statues, calling for review of the use of certain anthems and whatever else is to follow in this hyperbolic episode of political correctness, is much more in keeping with the populism label. And Varian, perish the thought that we should ever consider what the people want.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 20-Jun-20 06:52:34

The issue with populism is that it is a divisive concept rather than inclusive, and is often “hidden” in other political rhetoric like, nationalism, or socialism or indeed the language of “othering“. A populist movement is usually led by someone who is seen as charismatic.

You are entirely incorrect impartial in you description and conclusion.

Galaxy Sat 20-Jun-20 07:21:15

However describing readers of the Express etc as stupid is one of the reasons Johnson is PM.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 20-Jun-20 07:43:27

galaxy the reason Johnson got in was because of the nationalistic concept of Brexit, and his ability to convince the red wall voters of the division of the elite and others. Johnson himself of course was not part of the elite. Which now of course seems ridiculous, but he ran a very convincing campaign aided by the media.

Galaxy Sat 20-Jun-20 07:53:55

That was part of it. However if you continually tell people they are stupid they will look elsewhere, loyalty only lasts for so long as the labour party learnt to its cost. Sorry but those questioning the intelligence of those who read the tabloids were part of it. Johnson convinced people he wasnt part of the elite, indeed, perhaps it would have been easier for the red wall voters to think the other parties were 'of the people's if they hadnt treated them with contempt. Also it's been a long hard lee

Galaxy Sat 20-Jun-20 07:55:13

Oops. It has also been a long hard lesson for me in the last couple of years that in many aspects the difference between the Mail for example and the guardian are wafer thin.