Was politics always this nasty? It certainly feels like the extremes are growing more extreme, and the centre is crumbling. Everybody seems to be suggesting simple solutions to complex issues, voices are growing louder and shriller, and compromise has become a dirty word. How can we stop the rise of extremist politics? Is it possible to return to a less fractious, divisive, and aggressive form of politics?

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Ed, who argues that the best way to prevent the rise of extremist politicians is by debating their ideas and discrediting them publicly. He says: “Put these people in an open debate and you will soon see that their ideas are nothing more than propaganda. Allow them to claim they are being victimised and suppressed and their support will grow.” Is he right?

To get a response, we took Ed’s comment to British MEP Magid Magid, a former Lord Mayor of Sheffield, one of Friends of Europe’s European Young Leaders, and current Member of the European Parliament for the Green Party. What would he say?

One of our earlier debates looked at whether extremism is caused by inequality. Some of our readers, in that debate, suggested that the best way to tackle extremism would be to tackle the root causes of extremism, which means addressing social and economic inequality.

However, we also had a comment from Maria, arguing that extremism is less about inequality and more about the perception of inequality. Is she right?

To get a response, we put Maria’s comment to Dr Chris Allen, Associate Professor in Hate Studies at the University of Leicester. What would he say?

I think that’s a really, really interesting question. There is a link between inequality and extremism, but it does come down to perception as well. The role of perception is very interesting; I think there is a perception, for example, that the number of migrants coming to countries is much higher than it is, or that certain minority groups may be – to use speech marks – ‘taking over’ when the reality is very different, and I think that this is one of the things to consider when we look at the kind of things that we understand as being drivers or catalysts for extremism. We certainly need to understand what is the perception and what is the reality.

I think that sometimes what we are seeing is that the reality is there’s a lack of a prosperous future, there’s a lack of quality jobs, there’s a lack of opportunities to get into the housing market, as we’ve seen in the UK, for example. And what actually happens with that is that you have these extremist groups, who say “Well look, this all because of X minority group”, or “This is caused by those groups coming into this country”.

Or, alternatively, you have extremists among minority groups saying “See, you will never belong in this society or country, the people and governments here do not like you”. So, you see this kind of dichotomous relationship beginning to emerge, wherein extremism feeds extremism. And, of course, this is about perceptions, but it’s also about real forces behind those perceptions, rather than just being perceptions in themselves. Inequality feeds this, but it really is perception as opposed to reality which is the catalyst and the problem.

What’s the best way to stop extremist politics? Is the best way to simply debate and discredit their ideas publicly? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Politics: (c) BigStock – Belish; Portrait Credits: Allen (c) University of Leicester



22 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    catherine benning

    What’s the best way to stop extremist politics?

    Stop extremists from being selected for positions of representatives of people who are looking for answers to their genuine present needs. Take on board the crazed side liners with an agenda not based on their genuine inner objectives. Like this woman, who is playing a game of lets pretend.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1181083/Labour-Party-news-Dawn-Butler-slavery-reparations-Brexit-row-Jeremy-Corbyn

    You would think, for her continents peoples benefit today, having herself been helped into a position of British politics by all those around her, even without her having a genuine ability for such a job, she would be fighting tooth and nail to stop modern day slavery in her country of origin right now. I wonder why she is not doing that? What could be her motive?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Butler

    And the prevalence is astonishing.

    https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/regional-analysis/africa/

    Why is she not concentrating on how it came about and where and by whom? How it continues unspoken? What and whom should be paying the people who suffer from this uncivilised extortion right now? Or, must todays tax payer starve at food banks for yesterdays dead men? Why not concentrate on Aid delivered to various African leaders who take the money and buy private jets for their own hangers rather than feed the people it was sent to help. There would be a very good start. Or, is she intent on reverse extortion and stop nothing of yesterdays misery, whilst she grins from ear to ear. .

  2. avatar
    Donalda

    Easy: put the people first – which is currently not the case.
    Hello ?? It aint rocket science FFS.

  3. avatar
    Liveven

    If we keep fascist religions out, no fascist leader would come forward!

  4. avatar
    Des

    Since WWII countries have been ruled by extremist political agenda, to reach their goals, a poisoning economy, that ruined the health of forestry and wildlife waterways polluted due to reffinaries build on locations where waterways ran along, spilled the waste into the waterways, deforestation was the 2nd occupation in Europe, coal mining just as well, once these were reached on a high level of poisoning the land and the waterways, then they started to care for a while, until the €got out, then it all got south again, where do we stand now.

  5. avatar
    Jurgen

    We have a big corrupt left now.

  6. avatar
    Des

    The only good government, is a government with compassion to it’s people and not the government who is out for money of it’s people

  7. avatar
    Vassiliki

    Education and ethical politicians. And good luck with that!

  8. avatar
    Adelso

    Gauche et droit radical, aussi fundamentalisme religiouse, son problemes contre la humanite

  9. avatar
    Luis

    Good politicians in the first place maybe idk

  10. avatar
    Vanloy

    extteme politics come as a reaction! Selfreflection xill tell that the ruling and pushing ideology doesn’t fit the human profile and goes to far out of the natural or and creates an inbalance of our society!!

  11. avatar
    Kenneth

    You asked the right question to the wrong person those green ecofascists are the extremists

  12. avatar
    Wim

    Kick the marxists out of politics. Those extremists are destroying everything.

  13. avatar
    Nick

    Closing borders and stop the left-wing pampering.

  14. avatar
    Karaiman

    Normal…Petite Fils de Soldats Almande….

  15. avatar
    Giovani

    our leaders have become so goddamn correct that finally every touch with the ongoing reality is lost ( szergejy iganiov )

  16. avatar
    Luca

    Not by putting nazis at the same level of antifascist, that’s for sure.

  17. avatar
    Jean

    KEEPING MUSLIMS OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY.

  18. avatar
    Martin

    Stop trying to silence them. It didn’t work for the Nazis and it won’t work now.

  19. avatar
    Elie

    Stop call all conservatives extremists so the number goes down lool

  20. avatar
    ssd

    I though EU and democracy mean freedom of expression ?? or not…by liberal logic everyone is extremist who is not with them

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