You say “Populism”: I say “Democracy”


You won’t find AfD marching down here

Recently we received an invitation from something calling itself “The European Liberal Forum” to a round-table sandwich lunch event to launch the Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable Study, entitled “The Unstoppable Far Right?  Populism and the Aftermath of the European Elections”.

We suspected that this was a veiled reference to UKIP – and we were right!  Deputy Whip Ray Finch, along with Margot Parker’s new assistant Erna, had the neat idea of getting a posse of UKIP folk, members and staffers, to listen in (and help eat the sandwiches).

We were all very eager, of course, to chip in, and it was first challenging, then boring, to try to keep quiet in the face of so much nonsense (and for me, to keep the troops on the leash and to prevent any premature skirmishing).

But at the end of the first (rather long) presentation, I broke the advice which I had previously given to colleagues, and out-shouted the chairman to make a point.  I demanded the “Right to Reply”, as UKIP had been criticised by name, and I brooked no opposition.  Fortunately I have a loud voice, which always helps in politics.

The speaker had insisted that UKIP, and AfD in Germany and NF in France, were all ‘far-right populists”.  Now I can see their point (perhaps) with NF, but AfD?  A group of serious-minded German jurists and academics?  You won’t see these guys in jackboots or black-shirts, or marching down Unter-den-Linden singing the Horst Wessel Song.

The truth was that they didn’t really know what they meant by “populist”.  A Green think-tanker let the cat out of the bag when she pointed to the etymology and admitted that “democracy” and “populism” meant almost exactly the same.  Wild applause from the UKIP posse.

But the speaker gave the game away be saying “We observe that populist parties are always euro-sceptic”.  What he meant was, “We choose to use the word ‘populist’ to describe euro-sceptics, because we think it’s a pejorative and negative term.  And we’re entitled to use pejorative language about euro-sceptics, because all sensible and decent people know perfectly well that they’re a dangerous, damaging and dishonest bunch”.

They are simply not prepared to contemplate that genuine, honest people might believe that the European Union is damaging our prosperity and undermining democracy.  Yet it is, and more and more people recognise the fact.

The speaker announced the major conclusion of their research: that insurgent euro-sceptic parties do better when mainstream media present the established parties as more pro-EU, and vice versa.  As they said in Fawlty Towers. “Specialist subject: the bleedin’ obvious”!  Europhiles faced a Catch22: If the mainstream parties go positive on the EU, sceptic parties will prosper.  But if not, and mainstream parties get more sceptic, that also damages the EU cause.

But he had a plan: get the media to explain to the people that membership of the EU is not about Europe’s interests, but about their own national interest.  In my response I not only pointed out that UKIP was not far-right, nor to the right of the Tory Party (as had been implied).  But I concluded that his strategy would fail in the UK, for the simple reason that no one would believe it.

That’s the Brussels bubble for you.   Totally out of sight of reality and real people.

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10 Responses to You say “Populism”: I say “Democracy”

  1. Anne says:

    Your article (re Democracy) reminds me that anyone born here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, it is as if they had already sworn their Allegiance to the British Crown, for from that very moment, it is indeed as if they had sworn allegiance to the wearer of that Crown for, from that moment they have indeed the protection of the Crown. Other, also swear again if they take up certain duties, Magistrates, etc.
    When a person giving evidence swears an Oath to tell the truth, the breaking of that Oath is considered to be so serious that there are criminal consequences if he or she lies, for perjury is committed.
    The opening words of the Treaty of Rome 25th March 1957 are, “Determined to lay the foundation of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” Very few people seemed to realise that those words may have meant Political Integration. The then British Foreign Minister Jack Straw stated of the European Constitutional Treaty “It is not a constitution for a federal state” . Yet in 1998 the German Foreign Minister said, “Creating a single European state bound by one European Constitution is the decisive Task of our time”. Before I write any more, I repeat from an article written ages ago now, yet it still stands true today. “ We cannot hack away at the foundations, and then be surprised some day when our House falls down”. Remember we were told about “pooling” our Sovereignty?
    Members who object to swearing the oath are permitted to make a solemn affirmation under the terms of the Oaths Act 1978: I… do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.
    One of the most important parts of that whole procedure as MP’s step forward in the House of Commons to place their hand on the Bible and swear the Oath, that Oath ends with the words , “ACCORDING TO LAW”. This is the Executive ECHOING the Queen’s own Coronation Oath. There are TWO OATHS operative here, to protect the nation and the people. The Queen’s Oath, and the Oath of her Executive to her. They are interlocking oaths to respect the RULE OF LAW at all times.
    There is a lot more to this, but I see three major Political Parties that have lost their way and forgotten what my Generation fought a World War for, for they are PAYING foreigners to Govern, and ignoring their very own Common Law Constitution that so many, many brave people gave THEIR lives for.

    • Philip Rock says:

      Excellent and informative, this is what in my ignorance I have stood by in principle since I voted against the Common Market in 1975 when I sensed the danger – sensed that to vote YES would be to gamble and mess around with our very nation.
      Little did I know at that time (indeed it was purportedly Edward Heath’s nasty traitorous secret, sealed in 1970) that the whole “common Market” charade was already aimed at and motivated by an obsession with a “European Union”, which was itself a profound betrayal of, as you so rightly point out and reiterate my own deep and strong sentiments, everyone who gave their lives in WW2 in the cause of freedom and their nation.
      Now I have recently been informed that the EU is against the UK using tactics of subversion exactly as the Soviet Union used against the west during the Cold War, and I have not the slightest doubt that the European Liberation Forum exist as a direct result of criminals (misuse of our taxes and public funds, and disregard of the English law of Britain) in the European Union waging a ‘cold war’ against the UK, and very likely also other Eurosceptic groups within Fortress EU.
      I cannot express the depth of my feelings (hatred?) against people like Tony Blair, David Cameron, Edward Heath et al who, through ignorance and disrespect betray my, our, country.
      When I became a voter on 1970 (what a year that was) I had not the slightest inclination to think that my vote should be any other than an attempt to protect and nurture my country. In this way, I felt, I was also voting for the interests of all my fellow countrymen. To have voted in this way and yet to have been in the presence of what I can only describe as despicable people such as the aforementioned, and many more besides, who were working from within my own country to subvert, corrupt, and destroy same makes me feel physically sick.
      So my feelings towards the present day people who make up the likes of the so called European Liberation Forum (title of which embodies the usual contradictions and misrepresentations) are as my feelings are towards liars and criminals. Bit strong, maybe, but consider the long term outcome of their actions. In Hitler’s (almost) most powerful ‘Fortress Europe’ some of the worst crimes in history were enacted. Ultimately an all powerful EU would be capable of exactly the same magnitude of crimes again, and I have not the slightest doubt about what that would lead to.
      So, again, thank you for your valuable information, and my thank you to Roger for sharing this meeting with us.
      I would like, with your permission, in due course to post your comment on my web site, and I would be most grateful if you would, perhaps through Roger’s blog, indicate your wishes?

    • borderside says:

      Well said , Anne . We have had two world wars to keep Britain AND Europe free . We did not do this to be ruled by a Germanic / Franco alliance . Our politicians are nothing more than rubber stampers for the European ideal . We should release ourselves from the corrupt EU club and make our own way in the world as we always have .
      The great politician Winston Churchill said he was all for a United States of Europe but NOT to include Britain .

      Jim Hutchinson .

  2. ian wragg says:

    Off Topic but yesterday in the local Ashfield paper we have Gloria De Piero’s response to the Scots referendum cut and pasted from the EU guide book. The answer is for England to be split into 9 administrative regions. Well fancy that. She has a majority of about 25o I think she will be back reading the news this time next year. UKIP are doing well in Ashfield and the Labour/Limp Dumbs are helping enormously.

    • vera says:

      Wonderful news! Let’s be rid of this vacuous woman.

    • Anne says:

      The first thing Mr Cameron did when he became PRIME MINISTER of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was to divide ENGLAND into nine EU Regions. Scotland as far as WE are concerned is a Nation and Country in its own right within the United Kingdom. However, as far as the EU is concerned it is a Region of the EU as is Wales and Northern Ireland.

      Proof? Recorded in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd May 2001, when members from the European Union’s Committee of the Regions attended that Parliament, Mr Dammeyer when he had been speaking to the Scottish Parliament about devolution, that as far as the Scottish people are concerned, Scotland is a “Country”, the Scottish people are “nation”, but Mr Dammeyer explained that from the European point of view Scotland is like a Region of the European Union. The point was made that the Welsh people are also a nation, and Wales is a “Country”, but again, as far as the European Union is concerned Wales is a Region of the European Union. etc England is a Country, and nation but as we all know the EU wanted it carved up into REGIONS-the very first thing Mr Cameron did when he came into power.

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Alarmingly Anjem Choudary was arrested this am. Must be good for a bung? And the other monkey in Jordan gets off the hook completely.

    What I saw in Strasbourg last week (Parliament Ch) was enough. There are some serious weirdos in there and that don’t include those who need the odd nap/eyes rest. Unfortunately the weirdos are in the ascendancy.

    I sometimes get the feeling I should have sworn allegiance to the Deputy Queen…Philip.

    Salmond…..Sir Alex. Wait for it.

  4. Flyinthesky says:

    The key issue here and it is an evolved, near pan global, perception of what democracy actually is.
    The populist position on an issue that the government agrees with is cited as democracy in action, conversely if the government doesn’t agree with it it’s decried as mob rule. To clear up this misperception, even mob rule, providing it is expressed by the majority, is still democracy.
    We have even tried to circumnavigate this reality by calling it “representative democracy” The problem arises, with the travesty of this definition, is it is by no means representative, well it is I suppose, the thing is it’s representative of is government wishes ably aided and abetted by corporate intent.
    I am still of the mind of if we had actual democracy most of the problems we now face wouldn’t have arisen.
    The confusion we have with politics and politicians is in an actual democracy it isn’t what they think it’s what we think.
    In a democracy a politician would make a case, then they would present it and, further, ask the electorate their opinion on it. I am heartily sick of you’re having this governance.

    • Me_Again says:

      The missing piece is the reason for the ‘demos’ in democracy. The demos was only possible if they had ‘an informed’ population doing the voting.

      Nowadays there are so many factors mitigating against the possibility of an informed population that it is nigh impossible to achieve. It will be obvious why.

  5. Me_Again says:

    Nice to see you today at last Roger. Excellent post.
    Delusional I think fits the bill but what do you do when the lunatics control the asylum?

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