Nice opener from Janan Ganesh in tomorrow’s FT, “The UK Independence party does not represent the start of a revolt but the culmination of it.”
It’s an intriguing piece which calls to attention, amongst other things the retraction of the political class into “self-loathing” and fear of its own shadow:
The measure of a politician’s worth is how much he is like “us” and not like “them”. Mr Farage’s real achievement is not electoral – his party has no MPs and runs no councils – but cultural. He has spooked the mainstream into emulating the values and priorities of its own tormentors.
As a ploy to neutralise Mr Farage, this self-abasement gets nowhere because it concedes his basic point – that Britain is run by a conspiracy of malign people – and radiates the most lethal weakness in politics: inauthenticity.
Rather he concludes that the mainstream needs to get its head around the long term changes that have put air under populist wings, and…
…instead of smearing themselves with tar and feathers, mainstream politicians should remind populists that they do the hard work of politics: representing constituents, reconciling competing claims and taking an interest in dry corners of legislation that affect people’s lives. Most politics is necessary drudgery.
Seen from this angle, the “elite” are the people who get their hands dirty. And populists who damn the whole spectacle from cosy sidelines are the truly decadent ones. [emphasis added]