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Polish lessons

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21.10.2019

By Gwynne Dyer

There is a tension at the heart of populist political parties that may ultimately lead most of them to electoral defeat. They depend heavily on the votes of the old, the poor and the poorly educated ― "I love the poorly educated," as Donald Trump once put it ― but they are also right-wing parties that do not like what they call "socialism." (Other people call it the welfare state.)

So while they fight the "culture war" against liberal values and bang the nationalist drum (which is popular with these key voting groups), they usually shun the kinds of government programs that would actually raise the incomes of their key voters. It doesn't sit well with the ideologies of the people who lead these parties, who are neither poor nor poorly educated.

A case in point is Britain's governing Conservative Party, which has made the journey from traditional conservative values to rabid nationalism and populism over the past decade. But at the same time it has pursued "universal credit," a punitive reform of the country's generous welfare programs that has left most of its working-class voters worse off and forced some to turn to food banks.

The Conservatives have been getting away with it, in the short term, because Brexit is an all-consuming emotional issue in which the same old, poor and poorly educated part of........

© The Korea Times