Sir, Janan Ganesh is too complacent (“ Let us keep populism in perspective”, March 29). His suggestion that “rich democracies may have to live with a caucus of permanently aggrieved voters amounting to a quarter or a third of the whole” is not an accommodation that any would-be political leader in such a democracy should make.
In 2012 Mitt Romney, the US Republican presidential candidate, was rightly pilloried for despairing of ever winning the vote of the 47 per cent of the US electorate who were “dependent upon government” and, paying no income tax, could, in his view, never be convinced to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”.
Your columnist is not quite so sweeping, but the segment of the population he thinks our political leaders can safely ignore is still pretty large. A third of the voting electorate at the last US presidential electorate amounted to 43m people; at the 2015 UK general election, the equivalent figure was over 10m.
No doubt these people are animated by a variety of grievances. But to resign ourselves to doing no more than throwing them the occasional bone in order to forestall revolution, which Mr Ganesh presents approvingly as the historical approach of British governments, is surely both cynical and dangerous.
Weston, CT, US