Author Archives: Andrew Toye

I am a member of East Devon Liberal Democrats and attend federal conferences. I was a district councillor from 2003-2007 and Exmouth Town councillor 1999-2007.

Christmas Competition: Taking On the Demagogues

We seem to be in an age of populists – from Brexiteers in the UK to authoritarian voices in parts of Europe and beyond, to Donald Trump in the US. Wherever there is a problem, there’s someone to blame, and it’s usually minority groups and the vulnerable – those with the quietest voices – that get blamed.

This development has potentially dangerous consequences – populist leaders fomenting an atmosphere of distrust, resentment, and hatred. At home politicians and newspapers see “traitors”, “saboteurs”, “enemies of the people” and little green men hiding under the bed. We all know where this can lead. “Ordinary”, “hard-working” people whom populists claim to represent only get to have their say once – then the barriers go up, dissent is silenced or drowned out by all-dominant official media (or government-friendly oligarchs buying media space); human rights disregarded and power abused and corrupted. Liberals, people of a broadly liberal outlook, are getting thoroughly sick of all this mean-spirited grumpiness and nastiness. Their stomach-churning rhetoric serves to remind us why we are liberals.

We cannot necessarily blame “technology” or “social media” for this malaise – populist demagoguery has driveled out of traditional outlets such as the Sun, the Mail, the Express and Fox News for decades.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSean Hagan 21st Jan - 8:43pm
    @Andrew Houseley - you make an interesting observation about the challenge posed by decentralisation to “mercantile buccaneering capitalism”. Perhaps this helps to explain the obvious...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 21st Jan - 8:10pm
    David Raw, I seem to recall the Liberal Party under Jeremy Thorpe did rather well in the February 1974 General election, drawing quite a bit...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 21st Jan - 7:45pm
    @ JoeB, It isn't explained. It's just more assertion. A point that strikes me is that may be that 80% is produced in the private...
  • User AvatarMartin 21st Jan - 7:33pm
    David Raw: Isn't it predictive fingers rather than predictive text? - At least you picked it up. I had the same, sinking heart reaction when...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jan - 7:20pm
    The last time there was a February election was, I think, in 1974. As now, the Heath Government was in a pickle and ran on...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 21st Jan - 6:56pm
    There is no way that we can control the debate in a General Election, it would be the usual confused mess & we & Brexit...