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  • Editorial: The impasses of populism

    The UK today is experiencing absolute irrationality. The country that established parliamentary democracy was subjugated over recent years to populists and demagogues.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gestures during a news conference at Downing Street in London, Britain November 15, 2018. Matt Dunham/Pool via Reuters

    Embracing populism, or even worse subjugation to opportunistic policies, as a rule leads to uncontrollable situations, and to political and economic impasses.

    Britain today is experiencing the results of the suicidal policy of its leadership, which is agonising without a compass after the catastrophic Brexit referendum.

    A country that was once the leader of the world and of Europe fell victim to demagogues such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. The result is that the country was divided, and the government and the political system cannot agree on the day after.

    Instead of dividing and destabilising Europe, as those who pushed Brexit believed, the UK itself fell into the trap. The rest of the EU member-states rallied together and created a harsh negotiating framework, which the government appears unable to pass in the House of Commons.

    The government of Theresa May is faltering. Ministers are resigning. Public opinion is unable to understand what life after Brexit will be like. It took an entire year to arrive at a draft agreement with the EU. That is now up in the air, due to the political crisis that broke out, jeopardising the ruling majority.

    The UK today is experiencing absolute irrationality. The country that established parliamentary democracy was subjugated over recent years to populists and demagogues. Consciously lying, they maintained that Brexit would result in an extra 350mn pounds a week in funding for the National Health System. They deceived and manipulated public opinion.

    The EU is obviously confronted with many difficult problems. It has once again been proven that resorting to national retrenchment does not produce solutions, but instead leads to worse situations than those which it aims to address.

    Today, Britain is paying dearly for efforts to purportedly restore past glories. Brexit will not solve the country’s problems, and managing it has stirred more impasses than it resolved.

    That confirms the fact that the answer to the problems of contemporary democracies is not the “direct democracy” of referendums. It requires the consistency and responsible action of political leaderships.

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