Apathy: the biggest threat to populism

When you’re the underdog, and when your views have been shunned by mainstream society for so long, that winning feeling is a mixture of euphoric delirium and disbelief.

We remember the sheer ecstasy on the morning of Friday 24th June 2016 as evidence of this fact. But looking back, it was actually no surprise the Leave vote triumphed because Brexiteers were far more motivated and passionate than their Remain counterparts. They were fighting what once seemed like an impossible dream – a desire pursued over 40 years – and we personally lost count of the number of people who said it was the first time they had voted or that they were wheeling their 97-year-old grandmother out for the occasion.

Brexit was the ultimate anti-globalist vote. The resulting political earthquake gave Americans the belief that the establishment could be toppled after two disastrous Democrat terms.

And, sure, across the continent populism is still rising. But there have been signs more recently that the liberal establishment is fighting back and we only have ourselves to blame. If we fail in our efforts to return the nation state and destroy the globalist elite, there will be one overriding factor: apathy. Apathy caused by a mixture of complacency and detachment through the way politics is now conducted.

Take the recent Dutch election as an example. Some argue that Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom were successful in gaining five new parliamentary seats to become the second largest party in the Netherlands. But the harsh reality is that having led in most opinion polls for two years and benefitting from a diplomatic crisis with Turkey just days before the election, he could and should have done so much better. It was a golden opportunity missed.

Why did he fall short? One clue is in the overall turnout figure of 81% – the highest in a general election since 1986. This, coupled with Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s stronger-than-predicted showing and the green party more than trebling their parliamentary seats, shows that liberals are staging something of a fightback. They have acknowledged the wave of anti-EU, anti-mass immigration sentiment and have regained their determination. It was no mistake, by the way, to see the mainstream media give Wilders so much publicity in the lead up to polling day. What that undoubtedly did was motivate as many liberals as possible to get out and vote. The silent majority, as is so often the case, let apathy rule.apathy-750x375

And for all of the accusations we can levy against the left, being apathetic towards politics is not one of them. Liberals, after all, are the first to shove their worldview down the throats of anybody vaguely willing to listen and are always happy to pound the pavements against some perceived injustice.

Far from suggesting we emulate our sworn enemies, the right does need to re-engage its people and get motivated about politics again. Prime Minister Theresa May will activate Article 50 next Wednesday and whilst it is clearly very pleasing to reach this point, this landmark should merely act as a catalyst for a redoubled effort to see the process through to its conclusion. If we don’t, Remainers, Europhiles and the mainstream media will manipulate public opinion and capitalise by scuppering the whole thing. We already know Gina Miller plans to take the Government back to court, Tony Blair is committing millions of pounds to his own campaign and George Osborne now controls the narrative at the London Evening Standard. Remember too that every EU member holds a veto power over whatever deal we negotiate with the EU – meaning, theoretically, that a country as small as Malta (400,000 population) could yet block a deal. Brexit is far from a foregone conclusion.

Dutch voters missed out on a big opportunity last week. It remains to be seen whether the French make the same mistake by rejecting Marine Le Pen. If we Brits let apathy rule, if we get complacent, if we think the job is done we will only have ourselves to blame when populism is stopped in its tracks and the inevitable happens. And let’s be honest, it has already taken far too long to make the first major political breakthrough. Our societies are changing beyond recognition and our culture and history slowly eroded. There’s no more time for missed opportunity so please regain that passion and fire in your belly ready for the political battle of your lives…

Shy Society.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain

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