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Meanwhile In Britain….Authoritarian Populism?

October 8, 2016

With the crazy Republicans seemingly wishing to dominate the headlines in America–and doing a spectacular if also embarrassing job at it–some need to be reminded that the rest of the world needs to be watched too.

Such as in Britain where their conservative government took a sharply xenophobic turn this week. Prime minister Theresa May poured scorn on “citizens of the world,” while her home secretary, Amber Rudd, warned that companies might be forced to publish how many foreigners they employ, causing dismay both in Britain and outside it.  This will rightfully cause a storm of protest and outrage.

But just as notable as the Tories’ newfound and truly disturbing nativism is their newfound interventionism into the business of their nation.  May called for creating “a new centre ground in which government steps up,” possibly pressuring companies to not only employ fewer foreigners but also pay more taxes and treat both workers and customers better. It’s a near-reversal of the party’s pro-market shift under Margaret Thatcher.

This week in Britain the news was stunning to watch play out and the consequences in the days and weeks to come will be stronger in their reverberations than May could have ever thought.  The British public might not be so interested in this brand of authoritarian populism.

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