Anarchy in the UK (and everywhere else)


This report from the UK think tank the Social Market Foundation sheds new light on the recent upsurge of populist movements shaking Western democracies, finding that populism is underpinned by a distrust in institutions.

Dr Mirko Draca, Director of the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), suggests the traditional “left-wing” and “right-wing” divide is insufficient to navigate the increasingly turbulent and polarised political landscape. Instead, Draca argues that the key dividing line between groups of voters should be understood as between “anarchists” and “centrists” tied to personal beliefs. Draca and his colleague Carlo Schwarz have analysed over two decades of survey results measuring the underlying values of voters across 17 countries in Europe and North America. Values surveys, looking at attitudes to issues including divorce, prostitution and tax evasion, as well as their view of institutions including parliaments, trade unions, big business and the Press, can be a better indication of political persuasion than responses on party political questions.

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