14 November 2018: Tim Bale on Conventional Politics, Populism, and Brexit

When and where?

Playing with fire can get you burnt: conventional politics, populism—and Brexit

We are used by now to mainstream politicians resorting to populism as a response to the threats to their hegemony posed by their more extreme rivals. Yet it’s all too easy to forget that, on many occasions, they were talking in such terms long before those rivals had begun to make waves. Rather than focusing, then, on how populism is supposedly polluting more conventional politics, it is worth exploring whether and how the latter has helped, and continues to help, enable the former. But if it has, and if it continues to do so, does that mean that mainstream politicians could, if they controlled themselves once again, put a stop to populism or at least limit the damage that it is supposedly wreaking on representative democracy. Can the cat, once let out of the bag, really be bundled back inside, the genie be forced back into the bottle? And what does Brexit tell us about all this?

About the speaker

Tim Bale is Professor of Politics at the School of Politics and International Relations of the Queen Mary University of London.

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