Ko populizem omrači um celi naciji in ta hoče še več

To, kar se je včeraj zgodilo v Veliki Britaniji (ko je Boris Johnson iz praktično izenačenega položaja z laburisti še pred dobrim mesecem dni pripeljal konzervativce do velike absolutno večinske zmage na volitvah), ni zgodovinsko nič novega. Takšna sprememba volilnega sentimenta v tako kratkem času  se je zgodila že velikokrat skozi zgodovino. Zanjo je tipično, da se zgodi v populistični maniri. Ko je nacija razklana zaradi drugih razlogov, kot je socialno nezadovoljstvo po veliki krizi, in ko (se zdi, da) politična elita neodločno išče rešitve, se javni sentiment nenadoma obrne v korist tistega, ki najglasneje kaže krivce in ponuja najbolj enostavne rešitve. Ki so lahko povsem nepomembne in napačne glede na vzrok in obseg samega problema (pogrom nad Židi, zaustavitev pritoka migrantov, ali izhod iz EU itd. kot odgovor na povečano brezposelnost, vladno varčevanje in socialno mizerijo po krizi).

V času negotovosti javnost išče mesijo, odrešitelja. Negotovega povprečnega volilca ne zanima, ali je ta mesija pravi ali lažen, zanima ga le konec negotovosti. Boris Johnson (BoJo) ima težave z dejstvi, koherentnostjo in konsistentnostjo, toda ponuja enostavne rešitve. Tako kot je Hitler, Thatcherjeva, Orban ali Janša.

Z Johnsonom na oblasti je za Britanijo konec negotovosti glede Brexita. Ker se mlahavi Jeremy Corbyn ni znal 100% opredeliti za obstanek v EU, so se volilci odločili za Johnsona, ki je bil 150% opredeljen za izhod iz EU. Samo, da je konec negotovosti. Za Johnsonovo veliko zmago je tako najmanj polovično zaslužna mlahavost Corbyna. The Economist je lepo povzel posledice:

Under Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, Labour has suffered its worst result since 1935. The vote marks a profound realignment in British politics. For the first time since the referendum of 2016, it is clear that Britain will leave the European Union. The party of the rich has buried Labour under the votes of working-class northerners and Midlanders. And, after a decade of weak or non-existent majorities, Britain has a prime minister with immense personal authority and a free rein in Parliament.

Vendar, če kdo misli, da bo Johnsonova kariera na oblasti kratkega veka, se moti. Johnson je bil nekoč zelo priljubljen župan Londona. Ima tisti sprevržen občutek za politiko, kot ga ima denimo tudi ljubljanski župan, ko vsi vedo, da bodo drago plačali njegove projekte in povezane netransparentnosti in mahinacije, pa vendar mu vedno znova dajo mandat, da s tem nadaljuje. Ker ne želijo negotovosti, ker želijo videti, da se nekaj dogaja, da se dela. In Johnson jim je to obljubil, napovedal je veliko povečanje javnih izdatkov. Za račun in velikega mačka nekoč v prihodnosti volilcem zdaj pač ni mar. Kot je pred meseci napovedal Yascha Mounk v The Atlantic, lahko Johnson z modro igro populističnega appeala ostane na oblasti tudi desetletje in inspirira posnemovalce v tujini.

Prava nevarnost Johnsona je, ne da bo na stežaj odprl vrata izhoda iz EU in da mu bo razpadlo Združeno kraljestvo, pač pa predvsem, da bo pokazal potencialnim posnemovalcem, kako enostavno se to da narediti, če le “dovolj moško” igraš z evrokracijo v Bruslju. Johnosonova zmaga nikakor ni nedolžna zadeva za Evropo. Salviniji so že v nizkem štartu…

Once Brexit ceases to be the all-consuming topic of British politics, Johnson is likely to take the same approach to different policy areas: In tone, he will remain a strident populist. In substance, he is likely to pursue comparatively moderate policies.

A few key decisions he has made already point in that direction. After years of restrained government spending, he has substantially increased investment in a broad range of areas, from policing to education. And though he has at times used derogatory language about minority communities, he is taking steps to welcome more high-skilled immigrants to Britain: Reversing a rule set by his predecessor, for example, he is granting two-year work visas to students who complete an undergraduate degree in the country.

In a fragmented political system—and at a time when the Labour Party is headed by the most unpopular opposition leader in living memory—this recipe may just give Johnson a dominating position for the next decade. His populist style is allowing him to squeeze out the Brexit Party, consolidating support for himself on the right of British politics; his comparatively moderate policies, as well as his history as a popular mayor in highly diverse London, ensure that he does not inspire the same fear and mistrust among ethnic or religious minorities as far-right populists such as Trump often do.

Johnson may just be able to retain the support of the populist right while making real inroads with the country’s diverse middle class. If he plays his cards right, he will dominate British politics for much longer than pundits expect—and inspire imitators well beyond the shores of Brexit Britain.

Vir: Yascha Mounk, The Atlantic

 

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