Populism: what it means, what it does

Populism: what it means, what it does



really briefly when people talk about populism when you read about populist politics in the media what what those commentators what those journalists are really talking about if you're reading a British or an American paper is they're talking about brexit they're talking about Faraj they're talking about Donald Trump okay so if you want like a really quick take home what is populism all right populism is basically the politics of brexit the politics of Faraj politics of Donald Trump that's that's what populism is it's not necessarily the things the policies that they support but it's the kind of tone with which they speak and the way they view the world that's what that's really at its core what populism is you know I think there you know there are few key events then that we can that we can point to that we can characterize as as this new wave of populism I've mentioned two of them already brexit and the campaign around that the election of Trump but also the kind of very near election of marine lepen of the French National Front party who is is a populist very much in the same vein as Faraj and Trump who Neel became the president of France but very very narrowly didn't so it's these it's these events as well that have have led to the media saying there is this new there is this new kind of wave of populist politics all right so so really what I'm going to try and do in this talk is is explaining three three key things the first thing is roughly what populism is like what is it that makes a populist politician different from some other kind of politician what is it that makes populist political movements populist how do we distinguish populist political movements from other political movements okay so that's the first thing the second thing is to talk a bit about what it is that populist do when they're in power so when populist get elected how is the way that they govern different to the way that other kinds of politicians govern and that seems to be why I think that's a kind of key distinction that we can make between populist and non populist is there different approaches to governance when they are in power okay but the so the third thing that we're going to do as well is look at what populism isn't and the reason that we're going to do that is because I think most people's idea of what populism is comes from comes from reading the media comes from reading the papers it comes from sort of forming an idea of what populism is based on seeing journalists and commentators and news reporters saying so-and-so as a populist and then sort of constructing in your own mind a bit of a kind of outline of what populism is based on the various things of that those commentators have said and in my view the things that the the kind of the British and American commentator and commentators and opinion writers have said about populism are by and large not really correct or sometimes they have elements of truth to them but they come nowhere near being a sore full definition of what populism really is so this versus first slide is is is a collection of things that the journalists and commentators usually say about populist politicians the case I'm gonna make is that is that each of these things is not is not really correct like these things are not really what populism is so the first thing that people say about populist or the first first thing that media commentators often say about populist is that they support policies that are at the extreme end of the political left or the extreme ends of the political right basically that they are extremists of some some sort or another now if we look at Trump and we look at Faraj that's certainly true but it's also true that you get people who are widely regarded as populist across the rest of the world who are not in these kind of extreme political camps you do get much more moderate populist okay so as a definition of what populism is this doesn't quite this doesn't quite do it for us the second thing is that it's a bit debatable about what really counts as the center ground or what counts as the extreme left or the extreme right that depends very much on the context it depends on the country that this particular part is operating in so for example you know if we take someone like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn you know they are widely regarded or widely spoken about as being populist switch I actually think they're not but we'll come to that later but no they're widely kind of branded as populist being like left-wing populist but actually the policies that they support are kind of not uncommon in you know and in practice in a lot of Scandinavian countries for example so the idea that there is a clearly definable political center grounds is is not really turnable so therefore the idea that populist s– occupy only space is outside this center ground just it just isn't working as a definition of populism right and so sort of remove from your mind the idea that populist there are always political extremists just not true all right the second thing that is often said about populist is that they appeal to people who feel angry or quote left behind or abandoned by the political establishment or people who in some way you know have not benefited economically or socially from globalization people for whom economic growth in their country has not really turned into kind of individual personal wealth right and this is really an attempt to try and define populism by who votes for populist s– so it's a way of trying to define a populist politician by saying well you're a populist if a certain demographic of people vote for you you're a populist if these quote left behind people in society finds you appealing and then vote for you now it's certainly true that lots of people who might fit that category do vote for populist s' but it's also true that huge numbers of people who very much don't fit that category also vote for populist s' so if you look at the brexit vote you look at the the you kept vote you look at the vote for Donald Trump like yes it's true that people who you could regard as being you know in this category of people who you know who haven't enjoyed the benefits of economic growth who have been left behind in some sense vote for populist but like lots of you know lots of wealthy people lots of middle-class people like lots of what populace would you know even themselves regard as the establishment vote for populist s' so although it you know although it might be true that some of those people vote for populist that doesn't we can't make that into a definition of populism right it's not like it's not watertight enough just to say well you know any any politician who enjoys the support of these Left Behind populations is a populist okay doesn't work all right the the next thing that you you hear a lot in the media about populist is that they they occupy this kind of post ruse kind of area of politics right the idea that they have a relationship to facts or relationship to evidence and the truth which is somehow like completely unmoored from reality right they have a particular disdain for evidence or particular disdain for the facts and I think you know if we look at a lot of the populace that are familiar to us that is that is certainly true Michael Gove was classic you know this con the people of this country have had enough of experts or you know Donald Trump's press secretary saying that she was in you know in possession of alternative facts right so so there is clearly something going on there like with their relationship to facts and the truth where they do have a particular disdain for it but I don't think that we can really make that the definition of a populist because in order to say that we are now in some kind of post truce fact free political era we would have to be able to say that at some point in the past there was this era of truthful politics right that we that we've left okay and I'm just not convinced that we can look back over the previous few decades and say the 2000s were great like the year with truthful politics you know just isn't true you know pretty much any any decade in politics you can you can pull out something that was like you know kind of massive lie basically so so I just don't think it's true that we've entered a new fundamentally different political era because certain populist seem to have this particular disdain for facts right I think that's always been the case politicians I mean it's like a total cliche isn't it like politicians have always lied politicians have always had a bit of a strange relationship with the truth and the populist that we're seeing coming to the fore now just they're just not really any different in that sense all right so that although that's true of them it is not the definition of a populist okay so this is the final thing that the media kind of comment area say about populist sand this this I think actually is an important part of the definition of a populist but the case I'm going to make is that although this is and is part of the definition of a populist it is not all over the definition of a populist okay so what they say is that populist politicians challenge what they see to be as corrupt elites they challenge what they see to be as a political elite or political establishment or a group of people who they regard as being entrenched in power and who have gained power in their view without merit and a group of people who are clinging on to power again without merit but also who are a kind of closed network a kind of friendship group a group of people with kind of shared backgrounds and shared interests who have maneuvered themselves into into a position of power and that populist SAR are people who kind of challenge that that elite challenge that establishment so the case I'm making is that that that is that is true right to be you know if you if you're not doing that you're not a populist basically unless you know unless you've got an idea of a corrupt elite that you are challenging you are you are not really a populist politician but the first point is that that is not all there is to populism okay and the second point is that it is not only populist politicians that do this right because pretty much anyone who's standing for election has got to say oh well you know those guys who are in charge at the moment they should they really shouldn't be there and you should vote for me instead okay so this is this is like the first point of what makes a populist but it's not all of what makes a populist and so let's let's carry on this this I feel is basically like what what populism is Right populism rests on distinguishing the people from a corrupt elite so it's not enough just to say there is this corrupt establishment running things you've got to you've got to distinguish that that corrupt elite from what you as a populist regard as quote the people and it's this definition of the people and how populist go about marking out who the people really are like the populist have different ideas of who counts as the real people or the true people and this is this is really kind of the crux of what populism is it's it's a it's a kind of political ideology that carves out an idea of the true people the real people the deserving people and sets them up against the corrupt elite so what what I'm going to do in the rest of the rest of this talk is basically expand on how populist s– construct those those two groups of people how they construct their their elite that they're challenging and how they present to the world their idea of who the real people are and that's you know really why I'm saying makes a populist and that's what makes populist it's different from other politicians other politicians tend not to see the world quite in this way what I'm going to show you now is just a few examples of populist criticizing elites so you can kind of get get the hang of get the hang of this you know with some quotes right so here's Faraj and here's the quote remember anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up to the establishment you know so this is just classic populist stuff right he's saying there's an establishment that needs to be stood up to and it's the people who need to stand up to that establishment here's this is beppe grillo he's the leader of Italy's five-star movement which is a kind of populist political party and so movement here's his quote well it's happening today in Italy has never happened before in the history of modern democracies a democratic revolution which uproots the powers which overturns the pyramids right so this is this is like it really gives you an insight into what he thinks Italian establishment politics is you know he sees it as like this movable object like a pyramid and it sees his own political party his own political movement as being the group that is going to take this like immovable establishment and an overturn it here's Hugo Chavez and we must confront the privileged elite who have destroyed a large part of the world alright so this I think partly makes my case that you know populist sand not necessarily always on the right and you know what you've got there is like kind of example of it's almost like environmental populism right he's saying he's saying that there's a corrupt elite and what that corrupt elite is done is is destroying the environment all right so there's a few populist s– criticizing the different people that they regard as the elite alright so the next thing that is really key to populism is the populist idea of who counts as two people so popular populist are forever talking about who the people are it's often quite subtle but almost everything they say like any populist speech that you like that you read or you know see them speaking to the media you see them speaking on TV there is always something in their speech that is telling you or telling the audience who they think counts as the people and the key thing with most populist is who counts as the people is never all of the people right that's like kind of populism 101 right if you're gonna if you're going to be a populist you need to carve out a group of people within your culture in this population who you regard as the true people or the real people or the deserving people or however it is you want to frame it but in some way a group of people who are different and distinct and deserving versus a group of people who who are who are not right so here's his his some populist marking out their group of the real people right so this is Faraj talking about brexit he says of it a victory for real people all right now like I I don't think this is like a kind of flippin thing or a slip of the tongue like what he's saying there is that if you agree with him if you voted for brexit then you are part of the real people right if you don't agree with him then you are in some way not not really part of the real people right you're something else there's the real people who voted for brexit and then there's everybody else and they are in some way not real or like not quite deserving or not quite people or I mean it's difficult to know exactly what he thinks of this other group who didn't who didn't vote for brexit but one way or another the real people of the people who agree with him right so his Trump mhm the only important thing is the unification of the people because the other people don't mean anything all right now I know like I know it's easy I know it's kind of easy to love because it's like such a trumpet way of saying something and it's such a clumsy sentence but what he means there right when he talks about the unification of the people he doesn't mean all American people right way means is that the the import way saying is the important thing is the unification of the people who are kind of who support him anyway right the unification of all the people who kind of basically already agree with Donald Trump and them coming together as a group that's that's what that's what he's saying and he's saying that's what's important and the other people the other people who don't want to unify around Donald Trump all around the Tea Party more broadly all the other people who don't want to unify around around his political ideas right they don't mean anything right it's not that he's saying they're idiots or they're you know they're undeserving or the you know some insult it's just like it's just that they they they don't figure right they're not they're not worth thinking about they they just don't mean anything and this this I think is the core of of what makes populist spa purists like non populist politicians will usually acknowledge that people that disagree with them are nonetheless still kind of at least deserving of the vote or you know or like they're they're they're they're a part of society they're a real part of society they're real human beings they're people they have opinions like their citizenship is legitimate they are part of the populace right whereas there's populace like Trump and Faraj are really trying to mark out like trying to demarcate a group of people who are the real deserving people in a group of people who just don't matter or aren't even in aren't even real in some sense okay and this is a really interesting one from Finland okay so in Finland the populist I mean this is such a like Faraj kind of ripoff isn't it right I don't know who I don't know who's copying who anyway in Finland the the the main populist political party used to be called the true Finn's all right when it was founded it was called the true things so you can see what they're doing there right they're saying that some people in Finland are the true Finn's right people like that you know they're quite a racist Nationalist Party so in their in their view the true things are kind of white Finnish people basically white Finnish people who agree with their nationalist politics they would be the true Finn's right and everyone else is is what like not a truth in an untruth in like somehow in their view not not really Finnish like not really a citizen not really part of a Finnish society like that's what they're getting at by calling their party the truth ins but then a few years ago they changed their name simply to the Finns so in a way what they're saying there is we don't even need to say that are in group are the true Finn's right you're a Finn because we say you're a Finn because you fit our kind of ethnic nationalistic view of what a finished person is or you're just you know or you're just not really part of Finnish society but this is this the you know the kind of absolute like archetypal populist construction of who counts as the people right you've got the people that you you like that you want that you think are deserving and legitimate and then there's there's other people who just don't really figure don't matter they're not really things or they're not really true things or they're not real people so what we can do now is go through a few examples of populist political movements and political parties and just look at how they have constructed their true people and and their elites right so here's the first one the Tea Party Tea Party I mean sure you probably know it's not a political party it's kind of like a political movement or a political faction of the Republican Party in the United States but their their their view of the people is that they're basically working in middle-class people but importantly they tap into this this idea which has quite a long history in the United States of producer ISM which is that that real people or kind of real jobs are jobs in in producing and manufacturing and in farming right and that's like quite an important idea in the Tea Party in their in their construction of the people it's working people who make stuff right there archetypal Tea Party citizen is a white Christian person working in manufacturing working in farming working to make something right and and everyone else is just you know broadly they would say not really not really part of the people okay they're their construction of the elite is is is actually a bit more complicated and quite strange in a lot of ways includes some totally expected things like obviously they regard Washington politicians as being part of a corrupt elite even though many of you know kind of the key people of the Tea Party are also Washington politicians right they have a particular disdain for university lecturers and professors and they see a kind of revolving door between Washington politics and universe city life and they see this as as how kind of as they see it Washington politics has ended up so liberal there's a particular disdain for banking and finance there's obviously a particular disdain for the Democrats but strangely into their into what they regard as the elite they have also put minorities right minority groups in America and you think like well that sounds like you know how on earth can you logically do that but they're I mean well I mean you can't but they're sort of conspiracy yesh thinking around it kind of goes like this and they say well you know the Washington politicians and the Democrats have lost you know have lost the heart or lost the soul or no longer appeal to these working and middle-class white Christian producers and that what they're doing is building up the minority vote in order to continue in power even though they're ignoring the interests of these you know real people so they have this kind of quite like quite like wide-ranging quite complicated view of who counts as the elite why this is one from history okay so you thought that the the Tea Party had a really narrow narrow view of who counts as the real people but this is the populist party they I mean they were never that they were never that successful but they existed in in the in the u.s. at the end of the 19th century in their rhetoric in the kind of the speeches that were recorded or written down of them you could you can see their construction of who counts as the people and it's like really really narrow right it's only farmers like they're the only kind of legitimate legitimate people but it's not tenant farmers it's only farmers who own their own land only farmers of European descent and also only Protestants right so they like what the point I'm trying to make with this is that is that populist scan can make this make this idea of the legitimate people or the true people as broad or as narrow as they want depending on what their political purposes are so the populist party you know found it useful to kind of to carve out this very very narrow landowning farmers kind of white land only Protestant farmers and set them up in opposition again for something that was actually much more narrows and modern populist smake out as their elite right they didn't really mind that much about the rest of the Washington establishment the rest of American politics really the people that they regarded as the corrupt elite were just Washington moneylenders people who they saw as having given unfavorable loans to the farmers and we're kind of there for part of their part of that kind of ongoing poverty quick summary the key thing about populist is their their idea of the elite and their idea of who counts as the people but one of the really key things that makes populist populist is how they see their relationship to this group that they regard as as the true people all right how they view themselves as for example you know a charismatic populist politician how they see themselves relating to this group that they think of as the people and the first thing about it is in general populous tend to think that that they alone represent the people right and this is something that you you don't really see in other politicians like other politicians regardless of how much you might you might dislike them right 10 not to believe that they are the one true voice of the people but politic but populist s– often really do genuinely believe that they are the only person who can actually represent the people right so here a few examples right here's Berlusconi Berlusconi like only I can turn this country around right and I think it's it's a little bit out of context but if you look at if you look at the rest of the speech that this comes from what he's really saying he's not saying like I'm uniquely competent like I'm such a great like politician or negotiator or a con or economist that I'm the only person who can who can turn this country around where he's getting at were you saying is like I'm really the only person who understands what real Italians won like no one else understands them like I do so therefore I'm really the only person who can who can run Italy for you that's what that's what he's getting at he's not talking about his competence as as elite as a leader he's talking about what he believes to be his unique relationship with with with what he regards as you know the real Italian citizens all right here's a couple from one of Hugo Chavez's election campaigns they're quite interesting I think translation of them the top piece of graffiti says Chavez is the people the lower poster says you are also shall Vance write but what he's getting at here is it you know he's saying like I'm I'm part of the people this this construction this idea of the people like I'm part of it but you as the people are also basically somehow part of Shaffers the idea the idea is to to almost kind of like buying the idea of Hugo Chavez and and the people together into one thing and then present that back to the people as in election slogans you know so of course you know like if if Chavez's the people and you are also somehow part of Hugo Chavez then like who else would you logically have running the country right like if you kind of if you follow that logic through you can kind of see that was what he's getting at is that he's because of this connection to the people that he believes he has he's uniquely able to represent to represent the people all right so that's like again that's typical popular stuff and I think that kind of thing is what marks out populist from other politicians you just don't really see other politicians kind of suggesting that they have this like incredible unique connection to the people populace tend to think that they know what the people want through instinct alone okay they don't really even need to ask the people what it is that they want they just know it and I know I know that to us that might sound completely ridiculous right the idea that you might just you know kind of be governing or that you might be somehow in charge or responsible for something and you might just be like what I'm just gonna like every decision that comes I'm just gonna go with my gut instinct right and not only will that be what I want but somehow it also be the best thing to do and will also be what everyone else wants but but populace I think really genuinely do believe that right here's a few here's a few examples of it and this is Viktor a brand he was he was the president of Hungary in the run-up to one of the Hungarian elections he bate he refused to take pie in any of the televised debates and he said you know I'm not doing it and and in in the statement they gave to the media about why he wasn't going to do these debates why he wasn't going to kind of go up and you know debate his his rivals this is what he said no policy specific debates are needed I'm sure you've seen what happens when a tree falls across a road and people gather around it here you have two kinds of people those who have many great ideas about how to remove the tree and share their wonderful theories and ideas with others and give them lots of advice others simply realize that the best thing to do is to start pulling the tree from the road we have to understand that for the rebuilding of our economy is not theories that are needed but 30 robust young lads who start working to implement what we all know needs to be done all right and I think like I know it's a bit I know it's a bit of a long quote but I think like that is in a way that is such sort of archetypal typical populist rhetoric you know that line what we all know needs to be done what he's saying there is like there's no discussion needed like there's no debate needed he's saying my ideas about how to reform Hungary's economy won't won't be improved by any kind of discussion or interaction with anyone else it's just like pulling a tree out of the road you've just got it you just you know you just just do it in in their kind of warped populist logic it sort of starts to make sense right if he really thinks that like him and the hunger and the you know the real Hungarian people are sort of one of the same right their political instincts of his political instincts what they want is what he wants then you know debate discussion is just a bit of a waste of time like if you already know if you know what to do because you just instinctively know what the people want then you know why take part in the debate why do why do anything other than just make the decision all right here's Gove all right so this is you know this is a really famous go of quote couple of weeks before before brexit and after being challenged on you know the fact that however many economists it was had produced this report that said brexit was going to kind of really damage the economy he said people in this country have had enough of experts now I'm not totally convinced that goes at his core is a populist but I think that during the referendum he was part of a populist movement right the campaign to leave the EU was you know kind of in many in many ways a populist campaign and he he became one of the figureheads of that campaign and to some extent he therefore adopted a lot of populist rhetoric even if it wasn't necessarily what he kind of truly believed in his heart nonetheless during during the brexit champagne Gover was using a lot of populist rhetoric and this this was a kind of real example of it but in the warped populist logic it kind of makes sense so for people like Gove leaving the EU was not was not a practical policy decision it was a moral decision right in his mind right there's a huge chunk of the population you know the real people as nigel fries called them who also support braixen and he not you know go probably felt like he understood their instincts and if he understood their moral instincts and they were also his why does it matter if a load of economists think that think that this is the wrong decision so that's why he's saying like this country's had enough of experts what he's getting at is like this is you know I know what the people want and the people are making what they think is a moral or ethical decision here it's not one experts expert views really matter in at all so so that's like that's why populist say things like that the often just seem completely absurd to everyone else and this is this is why this idea of populism occupying this post truth space in politics this is where the idea comes from like I said I don't think that they're you know they're particularly more you know full of untruth or full of lies than other politicians but because they feel that they have this instinctive view of what the people want they do feel that there is no need for opinion pause there's no need to ask people there's no need to consult people about what they want there's no need to gather evidence or ask experts because these are just moral decisions that you know do you know a right and you know that everyone else agrees with you so that's that's another kind of key like key facet of how popular see their relationship to the people the next thing is that populist tend to tend to think that all of the people have a homogenous view they tend to think that everyone has one clear opinion about what ought to be done and I think this is this is kind of different from a lot of other politicians who tend to see an amount of diverse like diversity within the population about what ought to happen they tend even if they they dislike a lot of what a lot of what the electorate think about what to happen they none they nonetheless at least accept that there is that diversity of opinion within the population populace on the other hand really imagine that the you know the people or the real people have this one clear homogeneous view alright so here's a few here's a few populist s– demonstrating that this is a reset era one he's the Prime Minister and was the president I can't quite remember he's been Prime Minister and president of Turkey hasn't he here's his quote my nation wants the death penalty that is the decision of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey all right so there are a few things going on here right firstly he's saying when when he says my nation wants a death penalty well he what he's really getting at is not that the majority of people want the death penalty what he's saying is that you know there's a homogeneous view in Turkey and everyone wants the death penalty but because he's a populist right and he's marking out who counts as the people or who counts as the real people he's saying well you know if you if you if you don't want the death penalty if you don't want the death penalty as a policy in Turkey then you know on some level you're not really you're not really part of the populace you're not really part of the legitimate people and that you know therefore then that's the decision of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey so he's saying like because because the people all have this opinion there's no there's no real need for any further consultation and therefore the National Assembly can just can just take this view because there's a there's a the people have a homogeneous will it's clear what they want because he regards himself as having this you know kind of connection to the people like his instincts are their instincts they all want the same thing it can just happen right so that's kind of a classic piece of populist policymaking all right this is the leader of the truth Finn's like this lot again whenever I hear the word parliamentarianism I reach for my gun all right now I know like like obviously is a really extreme opinion and what he's getting at there is is though that because because of how he sees himself because of how he sees his relationship to the people that the idea of parliamentary discussion of voting of debate is just you know is just a waste of time so like yes it's an authoritarian stance to take right but what's underneath that authoritarian ISM is not just a sense that like you know that he would be in power because he's brilliant or amazing or he you know he's kind of going to be an amazing ruler it's I I suspect so I think a sense that all of that voting and debating is just totally unnecessary right because from his perspective he just looks at the true things and he's like well I know what they want right I know their desires because my gut reaction is their gut reaction so parliamentary debate voting it's just a total waste of time in his view this is the final thing this isn't really a thing that populist politicians think or feel but it's the idea that populism is ideologically thin and what that means is that populism itself is not a fully fledged political ideology but what it's really getting at is the idea that populism is about imagining a corrupt elite and about imagining a group who are the real people and you can then add all kinds of other ideologies on to that you can be a populist socialist or a populist communist or a populist authoritarian your populist nationalist this way of looking at the world this way of looking at people this way of looking at leats can go or is compatible with lots of other ideological positions ok that's what that's what they that's what's meant when they say that populism is ideologically thin it's compatible it's an incomplete ideology by itself right and it's compatible with lots of other ideological positions this bit it's kind of like a bit of an exercise in using this analysis to look at some cases that get get discussed you know kind of like you could call them marginal cases like where there's a debate about whether someone's a populist or not right so most of the populist I've shown you so far are just like widely regarded by pretty much everyone is being populist like no one doubts the truth ends up this party but there are you know there were a lot there's been a lot of discussion about whether Jeremy Corbyn is a populist whether Bernie Sanders is a populist like the status of political movements like syriza and put demos in Spain and in Greece like whether they're whether they are populist movements or not and I think what we can do now is sort of use this analysis of what populism is to try and try and answer those questions right so look what we've got here is basically a sort of populist checklist right number one do they criticize the elites do they have this view of the P do they construct a view of the people or the true people do they believe they alone speak for those people do they think they know the popular will through instinct and do they think that the the the opinion of the people is somehow completely homogeneous so like let's have our first example all right this is Evo Morales he was the president of Bolivia that in in the academic literature there's a lot of debate about whether whether he's really a populist politician or not and I think you know I think he probably isn't that's my that's my view I don't think Evo Morales is a populist so he definitely is highly critical of elites you know the United States the IMF like people that he sees as kind of having having a negative impact on Bolivia but he doesn't really in in noting that I've read about him and really he never really carves out an idea of a true Bolivian or a real Bolivian or or a group of people in Bolivia who are somehow more deserving or like more real than than the rest of the population so his view of who counts as the real people if he has won is is it's completely pluralist right it's not exclusive in any way you know unlike those other populist he doesn't say well you know it's only people who agree with me or only people who were kind of you know of a certain ethnicity a certain political opinion or anything like that right so I think like that that put some you know possibly outside being a populist however he does have like these other other political traits and if you if you read a lot of the academic literature about him the the analysis seems to be but he does view himself as being able to uniquely speak for the Bolivian people in a way that he sort of regards other people as not able to and also seems in a way to believe that he knows he knows what to do what to think through through some kind of political instinct okay so I would say probably not a populist at the end of the day but nonetheless kind of has a number of populist traits and that's kinda the point here I think right that populism is probably something that in in an extent can be in degrees right you can be more or less of a populist rather than being you know rather than being like a kind of hard and fast dividing line okay Alexis tsipras leader of syriza prime minister of Greece again he fits this mold which i think is much more like the Latin American populace okay so obviously the whole you know almost like the the purpose of syriza as a political movement was was to create this will not create I mean it really was there but was to promote this idea of the troika you know like the the institutions that had that had screwed over the Greek economy there's kind of three financial institutions that that syriza really were saying were kind of responsible for the financial situation that Greece was in and and that was there that was their corrupt elite that was that was who they marked out as being being these establishment forces you know so this this this has started these established powers that were working against the interests of right cereza also and I'm not sure this is so true of tsipras himself but like if you look at a lot of you know kind of other peat like other leaders from from the movement there was a sense that the way they spoke they they really did project the idea that they were the only people who could stand stand up to the troika on behalf of the Greek people and that their way of dealing with the European Central Bank and the other European powers what like was the only way of doing it now in fairness to them like that might have been true right so in some senses I think what I'm getting at here is like there may be there may be there may be populist hsihu situation isn't a total fabrication right like I think it's probably the case that Teresa is a political movement really really was the only party that was actually going to stand up to the troika was like probably was the only group in Greece that was actually going to negotiate the way they did with those with those establishment powers so again I think you know has some of the hallmarks of populism but also has this totally pluralist idea of who who who is Greek who is a Greek citizen like they're in no sense really had like annex like exclusive demarcation or a group of people that they said weren't really Greek or weren't really citizens or weren't you know weren't really part of the people here we are Jeremy Corbyn I think in the UK media there was really a sort of narrative that had an exact mirror in the United States as well there went sort of like you know brexit is brexit and Faraj is right-wing populism and jeremy corbyn's Labour Party is left wing populism and they're sort of somehow two sides of the same coin or like mirror images or like whatever metaphor you want to pick but that there's somehow something like the same about them and the only thing that's different is is one is left-wing and one is right-wing and you have the same thing in the States you know like you know Trump was kind of right-wing nationalist populist and Bernie Sanders was a was a left-wing socialist populist and it that somehow the these two things were the same apart from their ideology now I don't I don't really buy that at all for the simple reason I think most of this applies to Bernie Sanders as well I just I just genuinely don't think that Jeremy Corbyn really bears any of the hallmarks of a populist like he's he's critical of elites like sure you know he's prepared to say things about banks he a no point really in anything he said does he try to does he try to mark out a group of people who were like true Brits or real Brits or like deserving you know more deserving Brits right like it's it's totally pluralist extends even to people who aren't British citizens to migrants and refugees his view of who is a human who is deserving who who counts is is so plural that I I don't think you can really regard him as a populist I also don't think that any of these things really apply I don't think he sees himself as like uniquely able to speak for everyone I think he probably accepts that there's quite a lot of diversity in what British people think about politics I don't think he he regards everyone is having like one sort of homogeneous opinion right so I think by by the definition of populism that I've tried to construct over this talk I don't think Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders a populist at all all right a little bit of background here populist game power almost always try to and somehow alter or take apart the democratic institutions of the state though they are governing populist almost always try to look at the state institutions the institutions of governance the Democratic checks and balances that most democracies have and basically try to mess with them okay now that actually is something that non populist try to do as well right in fact is something that like lots of elected people try to do they get into power and then they try to do things like you know change the Constitution or supposedly reform how some bit of the civil service works or make some sort of more permanent change to the democratic apparatus that you know kind of they're trying to like bake in their politics so that it becomes harder to alter the decisions that they make while they're in power right that's that's that's fairly common like lots of politicians try to do that what's different about populist is they do it really openly most non populist politicians if they if they want to do something like change the country's constitution right most non populist will say oh well it was written hundreds of years ago and you know it's in need of reform and it you know we need a constitution that reflects the modern times that we live in and that's why we're you know that's why we're changing it or if you know if it's some kind of part of the civil service that they feel is is kind of always gonna be working against them then they might say well you know this part of the civil services but if the government has become very bloated it's very inefficient so we're scrapping it we're replacing it with something else but it's always dressed up as something else it's always dressed up as efficiency or a forum or you know or some other kind of legitimate reason why you might do something like that populist on the other hand just they're just happy they're just happy to do that stuff just straight out in the open okay so here here we've got these are things that basically the Fidesz party in Hungary and the law and justice pis party in Poland but both did both populist who gained power both did all of these things in in their countries right so they altered the independence of their courts they both tore up the constitutions and we wrote them they both had like purges of the civil of bits of the civil service that they though they felt like we're getting in their way right now though those are not uncommon things you know bad things but not common things to happen in democracies but but really when populist do them doing them sort of fits with their populist logic you know they think well these you know these institutions the high court judges this this bit of the civil service they're part of the corrupt elite right so why shouldn't we sack them like why shouldn't they be changed we don't need to do anything other than saying well you know these people are cronies they're part of they're part of this elite that we've always been saying we were going to get rid of you know when they get to power they say you voted for us because we because we hate the elites and the establishment this is what you voted for there's no need for them to dress up as reform within the populist logic the idea of removing democratic checks and balances you know kind of doing civil service purges of changing the Independence of the courts it it fits neatly within the populist logic so that they don't they don't have to pretend that it's anything else they're all getting in the way of the will of the people the populace knows the will of the people by instinct and can therefore see perhaps that the Constitutional Court doesn't reflect the will of the people they stood for election saying that they would you know be the people reflect the will of the people and get rid of the establishment so when they sack all the High Court judges there's no need to say anything other than their the corrupt elite and we're replacing them with our people who know the will of know know your will through instinct alone right so so so it's that you know it looks when they do it it looks just like like brazen corruption it looks like this kind of crazy arrogance that they can just storm in and and kind of sack people and you know kind of just ditch huge bits of the civil service and change the tenure of judges or do you know rip up the Constitution and write a new one to us it just looks like these absolute kind of braised and anti-democratic acts but in their populist logic all it all sort of makes perfect sense and it's perfectly justifiable and when they're challenged on it you know they're almost incredulous that that other people can't see the logic for they've done so the other thing that I think is kind of a hallmark of populist when they're in power is open clientelism right so you know what you know what clientelism is it's like you just you just give stuff to your political allies right like you just give that you you give your political allies money or you give them jobs or you give them special privileges you just you know you're like you find you find your in-group and you just you just give them stuff basically and if it's kind of the wide assisted citizenry that you're talking about then you know could be housing it could be that you know they get the kind of services built near them if it's kind of more of a political in crowd you know it's just typical kind of jobs for the boys stuff right now lots of politicians do that but for exactly the same reason populist feel that they can just do it totally openly okay so I'm gonna give give you a kind of contrasting example here like here's here's George Osborne I think not a populist I don't think the Cameron government was populist they basically needed to give a bribe to middle England during during their their their first term in government when they were in coalition and they came up with this thing the married couples tax allowance it was basically a way of saying you know if you're part of a conventional family if you're married if you're living together then like here's a tax break right it was a way of sort of speaking to two middle England to kind of bring people who might have been wavering conservatives back into the fold it was a way of saying we still think that the traditional family is important right they cost them like hundreds and hundreds of millions and obviously because like clearly not everyone who's married is a conservative involved giving giving that tax break basically to anyone who is married all right so there's a way of of bribing a certain like section of the electorate it was catastrophic ly inefficient right involved involved giving giving the bribe to lots of people who were never going to vote conservative anyway but because because they're not populist sand because they don't believe in like open corruption they had to find a way of giving this bribe that on the face of it didn't look totally corrupt looked looked like it looked like a kind of had the semblance of a policy even though its core it was just a way of giving cash to certain section of society alright so that's if you wanna if you if you want to bribe a bit of your electorate and you're not a populist that's that's how you have to do it right but here here's your kinda um neither of the Austrian Freedom Party he would hold rallies and he would just give out cash right he would he would call a rally of you know which would obviously only attract people who thought he was great and he would just hand out one hundred euro notes which when you think about it is like far more efficient than the married couples tax allowance if what you want to do is give a hundred euros to the people who you like and the people who like you far better to say you know if you like me come to the park at 4 p.m. and have you know listen to me speak and get 100 euros than to give you know like you know spend 600 million bribing a load of people who are going to never vote for you anyway right so but but you know it's like if you're a populist you can just do that because you can say well these are the real people and the true people the deserving people why shouldn't they have 100 euro know like what's you know in in the populist logic you can practice this totally open clientelism you can give these bribes very openly you can say well you know why shouldn't I give that job to someone whom who's part of our political movement they know the will of the people there you know they know it by instinct they're going to do a great job of course they should have that job of course they should run the police force of course there should be a judge and then to the wider electorate of course you know these are the deserving people of course they should have a hundred-year rose like you can do that stuff you can do that stuff without challenge and that those things that they're open kind of deep like destruction or open altering of state institutions and that open clientelism hallmarks of populace when they're in power and that is pretty much everything

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