Dr Matthew Goodwin, author of ‘New British Fascism: Rise of the British National Party,’ and associate fellow at Chatham House, has produced a new report on populist extremist parties in Europe entitled ‘Right Response: Understanding and Countering Populist Extremism in Europe’.
From the report:
“Contrary to assumptions in the 1980s and 1990s that the emergence of PEPs [populist extremist parties] in Europe could be nothing more than a flash in the pan, these parties continue to rally large and durable levels of support. They have joined national coalition governments. They have surfaced in countries with a tradition of extremist politics, as well as those that were previously thought immune. They emerged before the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 and the recent financial crisis.
"They have rallied support in some of the most economically secure and highly educated regions of Europe. Some have outlasted their ‘charismatic’ leaders, who were once held up as the principal reason for their success. In the process, PEPs have challenged mainstream parties on both the centre-right and centre-left. Some argue their rise has instigated a ‘contagion from the right’, by pushing moderate right-wing parties to adopt increasingly restrictive policies on immigration and integration. Others argue their rise has presented the centre-left with a ‘triple challenge’ by (a) helping the centre-right to form coalitions, (b) increasing the salience of social and cultural issues that tend to favour the right and (c) recruiting support from manual workers who traditionally supported the left. When seen as a whole, these challenges underscore the need to examine the challenge from populist extremist parties more closely.
“Populist extremist parties are offering a distinct set of ideas to citizens: the most important are their exclusionary policies with regard to immigrants and minority groups, and a populist ‘anti-establishment’ strategy that is targeted at mainstream parties and other institutions in society. PEPs frame minority groups (though increasingly Muslims) as posing an economic and mainly cultural threat to European societies. They also claim that mainstream parties are unable or unwilling to respond to this threat.”
You can read Dr Goodwin’s report here.
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