19 May

Let’s hear it for the populists!

It looks as if the character of our Brexit is going to be softer than a soft-boiled egg. It was always going to be so – not just because of the strenuous efforts of Remainers in all parts from the House of Lords, the left wing press and even including the Church of England, but because Theresa May has repeatedly declared herself to be a Remainer. There was never a chance that she would deliver what the people clearly wished for – and voted for in the Referendum. I have said so before, but I make no apology for repeating myself for the issue is by far the most momentous political decision made by the British people in a century. So I said it before and I’ll say it again, as I did in this blog last year: “May will wreck Brexit.”  And now she has done.Jacob Rees-Mogg’s terminology is exactly right and we are going to have Brino, Brexit-in-name-only

The word – well, at least the polite word – most commonly used by the Remoniac establishment for Brexiteers is “populist.” And suddenly I discover there are populists everywhere.

This morning The Independent reports: “Two  populist, Eurosceptic parties have reached an agreement to form a government in Italy, the Eurozone’s third largest economy, setting up the single currency bloc for a possible new crisis. March’s national elections in Italy delivered a hung parliament, but also left the virulently anti-immigrant Lega Nord and the radical anti-establishment Five Star Movement as the two parties with the most seats. After a week of intense wrangling, the leaders of the two parties – which have sharply divergent outlooks in a host of areas – announced on Friday that they had agreed upon a common programme.”

Great! – who said there’s never any good news!

Certainly The Independent doesn’t like it. Look at some of the other words the newspaper uses alongside “populist”: “virulent” and “anti-establishment” for example.

(You’d never get a reference in The Independent – or any of her sister red sheets – describing a “virulently pro-immigration” party)

Suddenly the word “populist” is, so to speak, popping up all over the place. In Hungary, Mr Orban’s sensible, patriotism is dismissed as “populist” – and that’s when Orban is not being excoriated as as  a “fascist” or damned as a “Nazi”

Elsewhere there is the “populist” Geert Wilders, founder of the Dutch Party for Freedom which has long warned of the threat posed to The Netherlands in particular and Europe generally by massive Muslim immigration.

And in Britain UKIP and unreconstructed Tories of the old school – but are there any left? – are always dismissed as “populist.”

So I pondered long: what and who is a “populist”?

There’s a simple and straightforward answer: a populist is someone who is very popular – but who is thoroughly disapproved of by the left wing papers and the BBC