BBC Declares Populism Can Be ‘Truly Terrifying’, Cites Brexit and Trump

Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A video produced by BBC Ideas has argued that the “fervour of populist politics can be truly terrifying,” citing the Brexit vote and the election of President Donald Trump.

The video explains that “populist is almost always a pejorative term and no one really wants the label,” claiming that “most populist leaders would rather see themselves as inspiring grassroots movements.”

“Political debate involves reason, science, evidence, challenge, and argument. Free speech and a free press on vital to this,” the narrator says.

“Populists, in contrast, love stirring hearts with rhetoric, aren’t renowned for using reason and evidence and argument, and are keen in dividing the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’.”

The video identifies the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the Brexit referendum, and Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency as populist insurgencies.

“[Populists] are prone to scapegoating journalists, elites, and foreigners, and to conspiracy theories about why the world isn’t as they want it to be,” he says.

“The fervour of populist politics can be truly terrifying,” the narrators continues, citing the French Revolution and the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s idea of forcing citizens to be free as a “chilling warning of where unfettered populism can end up.”

A recent report by the left-wing Tony Blair Institute claimed that the “populist surge” in Europe has far from peaked and is the most significant change to the European order since the end of the Cold War.

Despite being a state-funded, nominally impartial broadcaster, the video provides another insight into the BBC’s general political outlook, with numerous reports confirming that the BBC were heavily biased on the topic of the European Union and Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

You can follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.