Populism on Trial What Happens When Trust in Law Breaks Down
By Inigo Bing
In recent years a new form of populism has taken hold of our politics, turning Britain into an increasingly intolerant and fractious country. As our society grapples with the threat posed by terrorism and the uncertainty that has followed the Brexit referendum and the coronavirus pandemic, cracks have begun to appear in the very foundations of our liberal democracy; the values that we once regarded as sacred are being called into question.
Former barrister and judge Inigo Bing examines how the bonds of trust between the British people and our democratic institutions have broken down and the principles that underpin the rule of law are under threat from populist politics. Populism on Trial analyses how politicians have shown an increasing contempt for the principle of judicial independence as they attempt to exercise unrestrained power.
Bing seeks to remind us that without law we have only power, and power without law is tyranny. He demonstrates how the rule of law is a fragile yet essential ingredient in our democracy and argues that it must be vigorously upheld or it will be cast aside by the rising tide of populism
Inigo Bing makes a compelling defence of parliamentary democracy and entrenched rights against the new populism. As he so rightly says, defeating populism requires a strong, vibrant civil society where citizens’ rights and mutual obligations are underpinned by a strong and respected judiciary. This is a bold statement of the liberal democracy we need to defend to the utmost in these turbulent times.– Andrew Adonis
“There is no better time to put populism and threats to human rights under a forensic microscope than post-Brexit, and Inigo Bing does it in style. Brilliantly researched and utterly compelling to read, I warmly recommend this book.”– Nigel Pascoe QC
“Populism is a disease that does not want to be cured; indeed, many UK voters would say that our democracy is fit and healthy. In this elegantly written book, Inigo Bing uses the lawyer’s scalpel to open up the national body politic, revealing that on the inside it is deeply unwell. Bing’s insightful analysis will confirm that the populist disease must be treated if we are to prevent power-seeking politicians from subverting the true values of our democracy.”Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Emeritus Professor of Law, Gresham College
“Inigo Bing has spent more than four decades in the law, both as barrister and as judge. He has combined that depth of experience, profound learning and authorial flair to write an exceptionally timely book on the uneasy relationship between the government and the judiciary. Populism on Trial is a stark reminder of the importance of the rule of law in fractious times and the centrality of independent judges to the preservation of our freedoms; it is also a warning of the dangers we face if those fundamental truths are forgotten.”Thomas Grant QC, bestselling author of Court Number One