In this outstanding, long-form article, Cambridge professor, David Runciman explores how the education gap is tearing politics apart. He considers that in the year of Trump and Brexit, education has become the greatest divide of all – splitting voters into two increasingly hostile camps. But he warns that this is not a clash between the ignorant and the enlightened.
Let me give you a flavour with the following citation:
The EU referendum was seen by educated optimists – including some of the people around David Cameron – as just another way for democracy to let off steam: a means of giving vent to anger without letting it run out of control. That is what the optimists have been saying about Trump too. But the steam is still rising.
This is without doubt one of the best articles that I have read on the rise of populism.
Personally, as a lifelong cosmopolitan, having lived and worked in many countries, I empathize with Runciman’s argument. As a UK national, I proudly voted ‘Remain’. But candidly, I often feel that Brexit voters were on another planet.
The bottom line is that the UK, for example, is a parliamentary democracy where elected politicians are expected to be the experts and to act in the best interests of their voters. I worry that the rise of populism will appeal to both the far-left and far-right for whom the end justifies the means.