Our democracy is under more pressure than ever – from social and economic polarisation, climate change, ageing, new technology and globalisation. As it creaks and groans, it opens up the space for political responses that at best demand a simpler democracy.
Populism, of the left or the right, at its heart evokes a people, an enemy and a person who represents the interests of the former over the latter. Whether it’s so-called benefit scroungers or tax dodgers there is a symmetry in a politics where there is someone easy to blame and someone big to follow.
In this year’s Clement Attlee Memorial Lecture delivered at University College, Oxford, Lisa Nandy, the MP for Wigan, sets out a thoughtful and deep analysis of why populism is on the rise and what we should do about it. Our democracy is in peril – and some of the complex reasons why we are where we are and what we do about it are contained here.