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Dr Frank Luntz, whose political insights helped George W. Bush and David Cameron win power on either side of the Atlantic, delivered a stunning lecture where he said the twin evils of wokeism on the left and populism on the right are destroying democracy in the US. He likened wokeism to coranvirus infecting the country without a cure and Donald Trump’s populism was shredding the US.
Speaking at the Centre for Public Policy’s annual Sir Keith Joseph lecture Dr Luntz said: “You may not believe it, or see it, but your country is different[ than the US].
“It is better. It is civil.
“I’ve done focus groups here with Labour and Tory voters, and they disagree on so many things. But they’re polite. They listen. They respond. They still care for each other. Even the Liberal Democrats.”
In making the contrast, he told the audience that he was fed up of Boris Johnson being compared to Donald Trump.
“Boris has written more books than Trump has read,” he said.
But he warned that polling among young people in Britain underlined that wokism has already infected Britain.
“In our survey, the people telling us that Britain is institutionally racist and discriminatory were overwhelmingly the young. Among those aged 18-29, 57 percent felt that way – 20 points higher than any other age group.
“They are also, by far, the most likely age cohort to describe themselves as ‘woke.’ They see the world around them entirely differently and more darkly than their parents and grandparents – and that makes intergenerational cooperation very difficult.
“As if that wasn’t enough, here’s something truly troubling. Young white people in this country are more likely to feel Britain is systemically racist than the non-white community who are actually experiencing the racism – because that’s what they’re being taught and told.”
Frank Luntz has warned of the twin evils of wokism and populism
He warned: “The rise of wokeism is undermining the principles of economic freedom, opportunity, and meritocracy.”
Later he added: “At its core, woke is an ideology that classifies us into tribes and disrespects our individuality. It goes by different names: wokeism, political correctness, cancel culture – but the impact is the same.”
And he warned: “It’s here [in theUK], though, slowly and steadily metastasizing, just like it did in my country. It is like coronavirus, impacting different people in different ways, only there’s no known antidote.”
But he said that the response was not to enter the culture wars.
“The politicians on the Left or Right who seek to stoke the woke or exploit existing divisions for political gain are not serving the public good.”
And he warned that while the Conservatives can win using the culture war narrative they would be in danger of “losing the country.”
Luntz said he had underestimated Trump
He added: “I have seen this play out [with Trump]”.
And talked of his anger at the storming of the Capital building in Washington DC by Trump supporters on January 6 last year when he got near the melee.
“My heart was destroyed and I admit I lost my cool. It was a day that could not happen in American democracy. I underestimated Donald Trump. I swear I won’t do it again.”
Dr Luntz told the audience at the conservative Centre for Policy Studies’s (CPS) annual Sir Keith Joseph lecture that he had “rantically escaped” America because of its toxic political culture.
He said: “I came to the UK last year as an exile, because of how difficult life has become in the US. It was more of a frantic escape, really.
“Thanks to a relentless social media environment that taints every aspect of American life, you take your professional, and personal, life in your hands every time you comment honestly on anything political, cultural, or financial.”
In a hard hitting speech he urged politicians on both sides in the UK “not to take the easy route” of culture wars because
But he also warned that while six in 10 people in the UK and US are most concerned about the cost of living, politicians are not discussing the issues around it but the party which addresses it will win the next election.
Luntz said that Boris Johnson is not the UK version of Donald Trump
He also noted that voters in both the UK and US are alienated from their countries.
He said: “I did three nationwide surveys of 4,500 people, three national focus groups, and dozens of individual interviews with the country’s leading politicians, journalists, corporate and civic leaders left me with more questions than answers.”
He found that 28 percent said their country had failed while 22 percent said the same in the UK.
Just 42 percent of Americans and 34 percent of Britons said they felt theirs was an exceptional country.
Meanwhile, while two-thirds of Americans feel invested in their country, less than half do in the UK.
Just 31 percent of Americans feel their country is invested in them and their future. In the UK, it’s only 27 percent.
“The results made me shudder”, he added.
“These results have kept me awake at night, literally, for if left unchecked, the antipathy it suggests towards Britain’s political, cultural and financial leaders could intensify and turn into something uglier, angrier, and more destructive. It’s a short step from not trusting your politicians to not trusting each other.
“And as we’re seeing in America, once that trust is broken, it can be almost impossible to restore.”