Posted by: Tony Shannon | December 30, 2016

The Year of the Outsider

To give credit where due, leading economist David McWilliams has been ahead of several of the big calls of 2016, with a good nose for the way the political wind was blowing ahead of both Brexit and Trump-it.

In an end of year blog he explains 2016 as the Year of the Outsider which appears to be a good way to explain some of these historic events;

“An interesting and novel way of looking at politics — the politics of mature, wealthy, deeply democratic societies — is not through the prism of left versus right, rich versus poor, urban versus rural, Christian versus Muslim, conservative versus liberal or young versus old or whatever other face-off we like to talk about.
Insiders versus outsiders is more apposite and the recovery rather than the recession has crystallised the dichotomy.

“The insiders are those literally ‘on the inside’. They are the people with influence, with a voice at the table, those with a stake in society.  …  Their game plan is to gouge the state and extract as much rent as possible for their members and interests. Insiders are organised. They are part of the process of politics and their concerns are listened to by the state. In short, they have access to power and can influence the way it is deployed.”

“The outsiders in contrast, are those with no one to speak up for them. They have no stake in the political process and are thus on the outside. They are the self-employed small business person, the contract worker, the immigrant, the unemployed and, of course, the young. They are outside the tent, beyond the process and because they are not organised, their concerns are never felt.”
“More than anything, these parties and individuals have identified that the mainstream, traditional parties are in cahoots, trying to maintain a status quo, which is simply serving to featherbed the insiders.” 

“2016 was the year the outsiders said: “Enough!””

Lets hope 2017 is the year when an informed view of the right way forward for the “political system” starts to emerge.



  1. I agree. A few thoughts I had on this topic with respect to the US election result and Brexit…

    • thanks Tom
      Impressive analysis on your part, well done.
      A call towards the Age of Reason as I read it.

      • I should have used that as the title of the post…

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