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What happened to the political centre ground?

Why are so many democracies turning away from the politics of consensus and compromise?

In recent years the formula for winning elections has moved away from reaching out to all voters and charting a middle ground. Instead, politicians are promoting wedge issues and activating voters along issues of identity and against the status quo. The polarising nature of this variety of politics was on view this week in the aftermath of the tragic mass shooting in Texas. It was also seen in India, where the Hindu nationalist BJP government rammed through a dramatic policy change on Kashmir without consulting its people, who are mostly Muslims. Similar trends are occurring in Turkey, Philippines and Brazil, where strongman politics has reduced the space needed for healthy dialogue and diminished the rights of minority constituencies. So, when did the politics of compromise fall out of fashion and why? What has been the role of technology in turbo-charging the adversarial tone? And what will it take for the politics of the middle ground to make a comeback? Julian Worricker and a panel of guests discuss whether current trends are part of a historical cycle or the new normal.

Available now

53 minutes

Last on

Sat 10 Aug 2019 03:06GMT


Margaret MacMillan - Professor of History at the University of Toronto

Peter Pomerantsev - Writer and broadcaster 

Mukulika Banerjee - Director, South Asia Centre at the London School of Economics  

Suzanne Evans - Former Deputy Chairperson, UKIP, the party that campaigned for Brexit


A computer graphic of two men shaking hands by f8 Imaging/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


  • Fri 9 Aug 2019 08:06GMT
  • Fri 9 Aug 2019 23:06GMT
  • Sat 10 Aug 2019 02:06GMT
  • Sat 10 Aug 2019 03:06GMT

The Real Story Podcast

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