Nostalgia has stolen the future

I remember when elections were won by leaders selling visions of the future: Mr Harold Wilson's white heat of technology, Mr Ronald Reagan's morning in America or Mr Tony Blair's New Britain.

In the new democratic disorder, nostalgia has replaced optimism as a ruling emotion. Populists recognise the power of adjusted memory. America's Mr Donald Trump, British Brexiters, Europe's new nationalists - they all inhabit a rose-tinted past.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2018, with the headline 'Nostalgia has stolen the future'. Print Edition | Subscribe