The rise of populist and extremist political forces in the West and racist attacks can be countered by addressing the concerns of the people who feel they did not benefit from globalisation, former British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday.
Cameron acknowledged he had lost his job because of a “populist upsurge” in Britain, and said the struggle against racism and intolerance is “never entirely won” and has to be fought by every generation.
“I think the answer is you have to condemn the racism, the xenophobia, the discrimination, but you have to take away from the populists the mainstream issues that give them a proper platform,” he said at the second and final day of the 14th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Then, he said, “these people are left only with their unpleasant and discriminatory views”.
Cameron was responding to a question on how extreme rightwing views were entering the political mainstream across the world, accompanied by a spike in attacks on minorities such as Indians.
Forces such as the UKIP, Swedish Democrats, Holland’s Party for Freedom and France’s National Party can be checkmated by addressing the concerns of those “economically left behind”, along with concerns about “immigration and movement of people”, he said.
There was a spike in racist attacks and harassment of minorities after both the June 23 referendum that led to Britain’s exit from the European Union and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. Cameron quit after Britons voted to leave the EU.
Despite these incidents, Cameron held up Britain as a successful example of a multi-cultural society.
“You can see role models in every aspect of British life, from India or Pakistan or East or West Africa or the Caribbean. I think we have a real claim to be a genuine multiracial success story,” he said.