Populism is bad, mmkaaay?
“I think it’s important to remember populism can be a very positive, can be – I mean, Gandhi was a kind of populist. If populism is about challenging a complacent elite, challenging an established order, speaking for people who are not spoken for, populism is a really really important antidote for complacency in politics” – Nick Clegg
The only way that one can hold this seemingly benign attitude toward populism while deploring Brexit and the vote to leave the European Union is either to misunderstand the true nature and purpose of the EU, or to be engaging in deliberate deception.
Nick Clegg is not an uneducated man. With his career, he knows better than most precisely what the EU is, how it operates and where it is heading. He knows that the European Union is more than the “friendship ‘n co-operation”, humble free trade club portrayed by deceitful Remainers during the referendum campaign. In other words, the ignorance excuse is not available to Nick Clegg.
That leaves only the conclusion that Nick Clegg is a liar. A very affable and eloquent liar, certainly, but a liar all the same, and a particularly dangerous one for his gifts.
Nick Clegg would seriously have us believe that the European Union has nothing to do with a “complacent elite”, an “established order” or “complacency in politics”, and that therefore Britain voting to liberate ourselves from the EU is therefore the “bad kind” of populism as opposed to the virtuous kind, which he happily supports. How anybody could sit and listen to him advance this view without either laughing or heckling is completely beyond me.
What nonsense; Nick Clegg has no time for populism of any kind, because it inevitably threatens the rule and routines of the elite in which he is so personally ensconced. Besides the archetypal High Tory, it is hard to imagine a senior British politician with less affinity for anyone who supports any populism movement. At his core, Nick Clegg believes that politics is something to be done to the people by enlightened, “liberal” elites like himself, not something for the masses to influence, with their base prejudices and uncomfortable opinions.
We know this because immediately prior to praising populism, Nick Clegg also said this:
“Populism is redolent with kind of uncontrollable rages and angers and passions, whereas liberalism – at least the liberalism I believe in – is about reason, rationality and evidence, and so on and so forth.”
No. The “liberalism” that Nick Clegg believes in consists of insulating oneself inside an hermetically sealed, epistemically closed information loop, listening only to those “experts” or paying heed to those “facts” which are conveniently in line with one’s own globalist, anti-nation state worldview to the complete exclusion of all other parameters, angles and viewpoints, before applying “reason” to that desperately narrow window on reality and pronouncing verdicts which always comfort and never challenge the metropolitan Regressive Left mindset.
Nick Clegg is perfectly entitled to hold and profess those seethingly anti-democratic, elitist positions. But he should not be allowed to get away with calling himself a liberal while he does so.
Watch this fascinating Intelligence Squared debate/discussion between the excellent social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and the sneering, unrepentantly euro-elitist Nick Clegg, on the subject of populism.
Bottom Image: Chatham House / Wikimedia Commons
Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.
Follow Semi-Partisan Politics on Twitter, Facebook and Medium.
The “walking billboard of lies & advertising” that is called Nick Clegg.
The fact is Clegg is marketing to people who are emotionally are terrified of angry/hateful people “RISING” into power and the endless World At War on infinite loop that that visage entails in their mind’s eye.
Clegg opens with trying to control the narrative (ME wars, Migration, Banking Crisis, and Club Med). As for populism: http://redcliffsofdawlish.blogspot.co.uk/ something the politicians exacerbate by their own hand.
“Patriotism is racist” – One day you’ll have to do national voluntary service before you gain the rights of a full citizen, then this little epitaph on the nation will contrast very sharply.
Something given for free is something people feel compelled not to value en masse.
What a fucking asshole is Clegg, rewriting history. A true fucking asshole in disguise. Pardon my French. Please mod as you see fit, Sam.
Just as a qualifier, is there any greater classic example of a populist icon than the untouchable NHS?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good point! I struggle to think of a close rival…
Incidentally, have you read Kristian Niemietz’s “Universal Healthcare Without The NHS”? I’m chewing through it now, fascinating stuff, especially the alternate history at the beginning.