‘Barbarians at the gates’: populist and extremist parties trigger an ‘avalanche of angst’ among political elites

Many may well decide to vote for local and European candidates from small parties next week but – if elected – will they also be corrupted?

Forewarned is forearmed: in the Financial Times, American-based economics leader writer Martin Sandbu presents Norway’s tips for taming the ‘barbarians at the gates of Brussels’. barbarians at the gates

He reassures political elites, “More power for the fringes could be the best way to domesticate them”.

The example of Norway is cited; its ‘populist rightwing party in government – Norway’s Progress party, is said to have completed a 40-year journey from pariah to coalition participant.

This ‘mellowing’, Sandbu believes, is the result of a decades-long process driven by political logic that could well be replicated elsewhere:

  • mainstream parties surreptitiously occupied some of Progress’ policy turf;
  • the most outspoken of Progress’s politicians were not given cabinet posts;
  • demoralisation: the finance ministry’s civil service whispering that Progress are “dead scared of making fools out of themselves”.

He believes that other small parties can be tamed in this way – if the establishment is willing to let them.

Sandbu ends: “. . . power corrupts because politicians sacrifice their principles for the sake of influence and position”

He applauds that sacrifice if their principles are – in his view – ‘ignoble’.


Posted on May 16, 2014, in Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Government, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Vested interests and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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