Populism, that has seen an upsurge in the last decade, has the appearance of being democratic. However, it carries with it germs of authoritarianism which can go a long way to undermine democracy, particularly political opposition. This is a perspective adopted by a really interesting article in Democracy Digest with focus on recent developments around Brexit in Britain, notably, the populist conservative leader, Boris Johnson’s, parliamentary prorogation move.
According to the article,
Populists can come in all kinds of ideological flavors, notes Yascha Mounk. What they all have in common is an opposition to the pluralism that is inherent to any functioning representative democracy: By claiming that they, and they alone, stand for the people, populist leaders around the world delegitimize any institution that might provide a check on their power.
In that sense, British Premier Boris Johnson’s decision to “prorogue,” or temporarily suspend, parliament has lastingly defined his character, he writes for The Atlantic:
Britain’s political system remains too deeply entrenched to be destroyed by one man or even one political crisis. Despite his evident disdain for parliamentary democracy, Johnson is neither able nor willing to go as far as populists such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Venezuela’s Nicolas Máduro, who have jailed scores of their critics, and abolished free and fair elections. Johnson’s critics evidently remain free to denounce him in the press, and Parliament will be able to resume its job when it reconvenes in October.
Scott Lucas, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, said Johnson’s maneuver touched off the biggest crisis since the abdication of King Edward VIII to marry the divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson.
See full story here.