Is Western social democracy still workable as a concept? And what has it done for relationships between the political classes and the societies they claim to represent? This is what we should now be asking as the world unlocks.
The 2008 banking crisis led citizens in Western democratic countries to massively lose faith in their political systems and their political leaders – especially those for whom the system was clearly not working.
In the UK, they were named ‘the left behind’ in an effort to explain Brexit. And then the election of Donald Trump in the US put the focus onto the rust belt communities, meaning – for the first time in a long while – there were discussions in the USA about class inequality.
In mainland Europe, we saw the massive and underreported gilets jaunes movement in France, where millions of working class people protested in the streets in high-vis jackets for a year. They were rightly concerned that their voices were not being heard by Emmanuelle Macron’s somewhat elite style of leadership.
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