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Embracing The Appeal Of Fantasy?

Last summer, a political commentator stated that the Prime Minister’s “mission is to restore the nation’s faith in itself, to battle the ‘effete and desiccated and hopeless‘ defeatism” He added that “to many, the PM is a clown – the embodiment of the demise of public standards and the face of international populism, Post-Truth Politics.” He also said that “he is worse than a clown: a charlatan who lied his way to the top, who endangers Democracy and traffics in Racism, and who believes in nothing, but his own advancement. He has been accused of triggering a wave of populist anger that he then rode to Power, leaving the nation weakened and in very real danger of dissolution”. According to the commentator, the PM has restructured the National Economy and Electoral Map, in a manner that may be considered to be hardline.

The commentator went on to say that there was a clear appeal behind his argument to highlight the positive side of Patriotism. Surprisingly, the PM’s appeal has always been wrapped in emotion, and not straightforward. The PM has repeatedly said that people need to think of something bigger, but criticism of the erosion of their heritage and social connections is certainly not being encouraged.

The Prime Minister has been sharply criticised for his failure in tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, his countrymen kept patience, and forgave him, because he is not a politician in a literally sense. As expected, this has disappointed Oppositions. The commentator stressed that the fact that nothing could tarnish his image angered leaders in the Opposition. Every time there has been a controversy surrounding the PM, he has remained unperturbed. This attitude has helped his party win elections, as the PM has prevented the Oppositions to reach a simple and straightforward conclusion. The main problem of the Opposition parties is his popularity, and they can do nothing against this popularity.

To the PM, Politics (and also Life in a sense) is not about arguing over some information. Rather, his purpose is to present reliable statements to people, because human beings have a tendency to imagine. Hence, he is often ridiculed as a Pro-People Nationalist, which, apparently, is an unjust criticism, with no motive behind it, other than expressing anger. The commentator added: “I wanted to understand whether the PM was truly a populist, or just popular. His argument for patriotic optimism has obvious appeal, but I wondered whether it masked more cynical impulses. Was he working in the country’s interest, or his own?

Once, noted American writer Joan Didion (December 5, 1934 – December 23, 2021) used the term ‘Dreampolitik’. For example, she said that Bikers were often portrayed as Virtuous Rebels by showing movies on the Biker-Community to rural or urban youths, who were dissatisfied with the performance of the US Government. The PM is also encouraging people to nurture a meaningless dream, in the same way. “To the PM’s cry of faith that nothing can go wrong, critics say: No, a lot can go wrong – and very well might,” wrote the commentator. If his domestic economic projects fail, then the scenario shall lead to the Politics of Self-identity, born out of fear or hatred. Even one of his closest aides has expressed serious concern, saying that the Prime Minister does not think systematically about the national problems, but relies much on his firm beliefs.

Well, the above mentioned Prime Minister is not India’s Narendra Modi, but Boris Johnson of Britain. However, how similar these two are! Political Commentator Tom McTague expressed the view on PM Johnson in an article published in The Atlantic on June 7, 2021. One may wonder how two different persons have so much similarities. Of course, there are some differences between the two. Unlike Modi, Johnson is a product of Eton College and the University of Oxford. Modi’s well-maintained hair and serious attitude do not match with that of somewhat disorganised and humorous Johnson.

PM Modi with PM Johnson (R)

When compared, Modi is usually placed in the same league with Pro-people Authoritarians, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Mihály Orbán and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. These mass leaders have been successful in forming a coterie of their own even within the impenetrable fortress of Democracy, where, apart from Boris Johnson, former US President Donald Trump is also a member of this club. Eric Zemmour, even if he becomes the next President of France, may not join this club. However, there would always be a possibility.

Experts are of the opinion that the days of Neo-liberalism have come to an end, and the Era of Government interventions has begun. The Days of Immigration, too, are over; as the Politics of Hatred has started gaining ground, with politicians using Culture and Economy as their trump cards. It is because politically incorrect people are enjoying the Power.

The rise of Populism

In his article, McTague quoted PM Johnson’s Chief Foreign Policy Adviser John Bew as saying that the Zeitgeist is “the single most important factor in determining the trajectory of a nation’s politics”. It may be noted that Bew is a Professor of History and Foreign Policy at King’s College, London, and author of ‘Realpolitik: A History‘ (published on November 2, 2015). Joe Biden has already replaced Donald Trump as the US President. The time is also running out for PM Johnson to judge good and bad, right now. “And, the water in the tub may be running out on Mr Johnson,” insisted McTague.

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