Chris Bickerton: Welcome to the Technopopulist future

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The pandemic has thrown traditional ideas about politics upside down. In a sense, it has been the ultimate triumph of the technocrats, with phrases like “following the science” and “trusting the experts” becoming commonplace; but notions like shutting national borders and moving governments onto a 'war footing' are more typically associated with the populist Right — it was Donald Trump who first shut the US borders, Modi in India implemented a swingeing lockdown early, and Boris Johnson's government is, at least in theory, a populist one.

Chris Bickerton, reader in Modern European Politics at Queen's College Cambridge and sometime star of the Talking Politics podcast, has a book out which sees a pattern in this fusion of technocracy and populism: it's called technopopulism. In this fascinating discussion tells Freddie Sayers all about it.


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