With Dr Saan Ecker, Burrinjuck Greens
An interesting article by ABC journalist Stan Grant, published this week, considers the possibility that the world might just be waking up to the downfalls of following populist far right politicians such as Trump in the US and Hanson in Australia.
A populist politician can be defined as a politician who claims to speak for the ordinary people and talks about their opponents as elite and sets to mobilise the ordinary people against those that are seen as a danger.
In the case of the two politicians mentioned above, that appears to include setting the ‘ordinary people’ against some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
Grant notes that populists politicians are stronger now than at any time since the end of WWII.
Difficult economic times, fear of terrorism and the influx of refugees from war-torn regions can feed anxiety and fear and create a fertile ground for populists.
As such, populist parties have won up to 10 per cent of the vote in 16 countries during European elections over the past five years.
In the recent WA election, predictions that the Hanson party might get 15 per cent of the vote were not realised, with voters giving them less than five per cent.
It’s quite likely that voters were offended by the alignment between the Liberals and the Hanson party, and this also helped the downfall of the coalition in WA.
In Holland’s election during the same week, the populist anti-muslim candidate also fell well short of predictions.
Is the world waking up to the emptiness and dangers of the promises that these kinds of politicians are making? Hatred is not much of a policy.
However, voters who are disconnected from what they see as an elite government which doesn’t listen to them feel that they are being herd by these politicians who claim to represent them.
There is work to do to ensure that mainstream and left politicians are listening and representing adequately.
Wake up, Australia, let’s see these politicians for what they are, learn from them and move on.