Nigel Farage and ‘The Rise of Populism’

A mood of populism is rising across the globe. One man, Nigel Farage is leading the groundswell.

Some Americans are not familiar with his work, but many have at least heard of the term “Brexit” from a news source. This term is used to describe how citizens across the Atlantic in Great Britain are fighting for independence, or an exit, from the European Union (EU).

Those who seek a Brexit want to live in a country as sovereign people who can make their own rules and regulations. Many of the current laws made in Brussels are very restrictive, and actually hurt the Great Britain businesses, especially small businesses. Since the European Union is also accountable for 28 other countries, there is a significant lack of representation and accountability to any individual country to operate exclusively in its best interest.

Currently, unelected officials of the European Commission construct regulations for the EU member countries. The citizens of Great Britain have no method of recourse; because the members of the EU Commission are unelected bureaucrats, they can never be voted out of office.

The average EU bureaucrat’s salary is nearly $25,000 per month with generous benefits such as housing and entertainment allowances. The Telegraph reported that approximately 10,000 (one in five) of these bureaucrats make more than the Prime Minister of England.

Although a million more people voted to leave the European Union rather than stay, a large swath of citizens wants to remain in the EU. The question is why? The remainers argue that as a single economic and political market, the EU makes traveling between countries easier, regulations make consumer products safer, and cultural diversity is preserved. They also argue that the EU is a stronger, supranational powerhouse against countries like Russia and China.

There is another major reason that remainers seek staying in the EU — they are fearful. They have been continuously told by the political class that financial havoc will occur if Great Britain leaves: the pound will plummet, planes will stop flying, and food will rot. Critics of this perspective state that this is alarmist behavior and basic fear-mongering.

Some citizens are also fearful that they will not be able to get their needed medicines and have started stockpiling their supply. However, according to Britain’s own Department for Health and Social Care, they sent out notifications that medicines should not be stockpiled, for the supply into the country “would not be interrupted.”

The shift against the power structure occurred on June 23, 2016. Globally people celebrated when the populous of Great Britain voted for the Brexit referendum and won. Around the world, citizens felt that perhaps in their own countries, they too could fight the bureaucratic elite running their nations. Brexit not only empowered the people of Great Britain but also inspired populist movements in France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, the United States, and others.

Naturally, the official Brexit process would take time, so the official date was set for March 29, 2019. When the date arrived, however, nothing happened. Democracy had been thwarted. The people of England were betrayed. Now, Nigel Farage is back to the rescue (to the chagrin of his critics) and launched a new political party: The Brexit Party. The main objective of the party is to win its country’s independence from the European Union.

Farage says he spent most of his life fighting for the people of Great Britain and will continue to do so.

Farage will give his speech, “The Rise of Populism,” at 7 p.m. today at the amphitheater on the Lock Haven University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Kimberly Johnson is a sociologist living in the Lock Haven area.

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