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JP Martin
JP Martin
2 months ago

The author notes that MLP has shed her party’s antisemitic image and made inroads with younger women and LGBT communities who may perceive their “hard-won rights are under threat from radical Islamism.” Rather than ‘rights’, I would say ‘security’. That is the link between these groups. And without security, rights are meaningless. MLP has made inroads with young women because women in France are much less safe than they were. Harassment on the streets and in public transport is very common. It only gets worse. I know many women who adopt ‘modest dress’ in public, avoid certain areas, or avoid going out alone at certain times, etc. There is climate of insecurity and incivility in many parts of France. The more wealthy can relocate and live in a bubble but not everyone has this luxury.

George Ward
George Ward
2 months ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Interesting. Anecdotal I know, but I visited a friend in Paris 2 weeks ago (she’s a nurse in her early 30s), and she has had her phone stolen or grabbed from her 3 times on the subway since 2020. She and her sister also had multiple stories of harassment on the streets.

Douglas H
Douglas H
2 months ago
Reply to  George Ward

Harassment by whom?

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas H

RoPers, probably.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

You’ll have to explain that term….. Censorship exists on slang….

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Excellent comment, which brings real experience to bear upon the subjects raised by the article. And the article, illuminating though it is, suffers from three blind spots.
First, it doesn’t acknowledge that the hard right of the early 70s really merited the label and that Mme Le Pen’s movement has softened in a number of important respects – for example, over anti-Semitism.
Second, it fails to mention the reputational damage inflicted on anyone who voiced active support for Le Front National artificially restraining its growth. Third, it dodges the real reason for that growth, which is official conservatism’s failure to be conservative, chiefly where mass migration is concerned. Anyone who objected to it was sacked – a la Enoch Powell.
Finally, it ignores the demographic context, whereby the sheer scale of mass immigration over the last fifty years now mitigates or cancels out the public’s objections. That point seventy-five percent back in 71 was a tiny fraction of a large, native population. The thirty-two percent of today is a large chunk of a mixed population. See it as a proportion of the natives, and it is quite possibly more than half.
In short, the hard left has so successfully changed western Europe, that opposition to its manoeuvres is perhaps too late. Now, even the most reasoned, grounded, moderate conservative objections to the left’s agenda are treated, by our hard left establishment, as thought they are no more than early seventies Jean-Marie.
This is made easier for that establishment by the fact that where the conservatives are now – at best – liberals, the old hard right have become simple conservatives. The problem here, however, is that whilst conservatism will never recreate the world that the left has destroyed, the left – as usual – has bequeathed a state of inchoate division: a divided people presided over by an arrogant elite relying on cohorts of new clients to back up its process of increasing oppression.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Extremely well described. Unfortunately, if like me you want to do something about the almost complete annihilation of the traditional English way of life and folkways, there don’t seem to be any options on the table.

David Wildgoose
David Wildgoose
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

The English Democrats. It originated as a cross-party “political wing” of the Campaign for an English Parliament which was a response to Blair/Brown’s unbalanced Devolution to Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and which deliberately made the English politically second-class citizens in their own country.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Your comment is a total counsel of despair. Racial make up as such – why should we care? (Values, perhaps so). Migrants, in fact, largely DO assimilate, maybe not a high enough percentage, and, yes we can do without the Left endlessly bleating about how ‘their’ values should be respected and ‘ours’ not. But they live very similar lives to the indigenous population in most cases. Many immigrants and ethnic minority populations in fact have notably conservative values. And of course the Conservative Party has been remarkably successful in having a number of MPs and Cabinet Ministers from exactly those backgrounds. (By the way I live in a very ethnically diverse area of London, and for the most part, we don’t live in a ‘a state of inchoate division’).

I for one, couldn’t give a damn whether, for example, we have a black Prime Minister, in fact I hope we do. However I suspect that some of our ‘hiding’ Right, under the banner of anti-diversity or whatever, very much would. One thing conservatives should recognise – indeed, that is almost the meaning of conservatism – is that you can’t simply turn the clock back. Or perhaps you can – mass enforced deportation anyone? Trying to go down that road is a guarantee of total political irrelevance. Yes, Victor Orban has a winning formula in Hungary (a lot of public subsidies included!) – but his is a small ethnically homogenous nation without former colonies and with a declining population.

The 1950s were indeed an exceptional peaceful time with low crime rates, but we can’t simply recreate that world as if the intervening decades didn’t happen.

We need a conservatism, as at other times in history, which actually recognises the modern world rather than endlessly railing against it
For example, it should, for goodness sake, actually be able to actively appeal to Muslims who have, surprisingly enough – conservative values!

Last edited 2 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago
Reply to  JP Martin

No one gives a damn about LBGT

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago

The electorate hasn’t necessarily moved to populism, but existing parties have either been tarnished, or have moved away from the electorate, leaving voters with nowhere else to go except to alternatives – literally voting comedians into power, instead of politicians.
If traditional parties want to get back on track they have to ditch the chancers and glad-handers, ditch the chums and cabals and pie-in-the-sky theoreticians and return to the mainstream – which is mostly the same for left and right. A good economy, sound money, help for the poor and sick, a public sector that helps but doesn’t interfere, education that elevates abilities, police that protect, cheap abundant energy, an unsullied environment, plenty of value-enhancing jobs, and light-touch administration that allows people to work. A ship that sails through the centre channel, instead of zigzagging into the weeds from one riverbank to the other.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Exactly – the technocratic governing classes have been moving decisively leftwards culturally and more centralised economically, while the general populace has been drifting slightly rightward culturally and slightly leftwards economically as a long term trend.

Over time an ever widening chasm is appearing, and something will sooner or later give – either the existing polity fragments completely, or one of the existing parties aligns with general popular sentiment, or new political entities emerge and replace the existing ones.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

A truly dangerous comment. Once the Trudeauification of the UK gets under way I predict a trip to the re-education camps for you, your eviction from whatever housing you inhabit and a permanent ‘DANGEROUS PERSON’ stamp on your papers.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Sounds like a ‘ motherhood and apple pie list’. There are quite a few contradictions in there – including ‘cheap abundant energy’ – maybe coal? – and an ‘unsullied environment’! We have never lived in a paradise, and certainly didn’t in the early 20th century.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago

It is probably a mistake to think in terms of Left and Right any more – although it is a narrative that political parties try to maintain.
An idea with more explanatory power might be The Elite (wearing red or blue rosettes (depending on locality)) aligned with neoglobalism and the deep state – and the Populists aligned with more local concerns.
Any ‘Populist’ politician not only has to overcome local Elite opponents, they also have to overcome the global background chatter of the global Elites.
Just as Trump was hated by many, Farage was hated by many, Boris Johnson is hated by many, Le Pen is hated by many. They could be categorised as populists – another term of confected abuse used by the Elites who fear for their comfortable positions.
If Le Pen does win the Presidency I predict even more negative briefing and dirty tricks being used against her.

Jem Barnett
Jem Barnett
2 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Centralisation vs Decentralisation seems to be a major theme.

The globalists have infiltrated almost all parties and power bases, and they use that to relentlessly centralise power and funnel it upward. Arena by arena, they expand the reach of the bureaucracy > then use their candidates to award this power base more powers and reach > then funnel that power upwards to federal, and then (end game) supra-national level.

The WHO treaty being written right now is a good example. There was pushback on things like vaccine passports and mandatory vaccination, but the power brokers still want those things. So, far from giving up, they’ve just followed their own blueprint which is to take this matter up over our heads, and install these policies from the level of a global treaty that will be “internationally legally binding”. This will mean that the public have no method/mechanism to push back, the democratic structures have been overruled. Which is actually very scary.

The public largely want LESS state in their lives, and especially in England we vote quite consistently for parties promising the smaller state, lower tax, aspirational, individualist option (note that Labour only ever win when they move to the right and speak of aspiration and individualism, a la Blair).

But despite the clear preferences of the public, the ‘elite’ classes just roar ahead with their centralisation project anyway. And since they’ve captured almost all the levers of true power, they’re most of the way to abolishing democratic accountability. With their next phase, digital bioID for every human, centrally controlled policy-making via supra-national bodies and treaties, and centrally controlled digital currencies… they will complete their project, and there will be no way back because there will be no way to resist — no ballot box you can go to in order to vote these things out. Scary people, and I think they must be stopped now. We don’t have much time left.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jem Barnett
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago
Reply to  Jem Barnett

Hear hear!!

chuckpezeshki
chuckpezeshki
2 months ago
Reply to  Jem Barnett

Excellent. And so obvious. Here’s the piece I wrote on the COVID crisis with the deep dynamic — Elite Risk Minimization. https://empathy.guru/2021/08/22/elite-risk-minimization-and-covid-empathy-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-ix/

Jem Barnett
Jem Barnett
2 months ago
Reply to  chuckpezeshki

Thanks Chuck.
I was interested to read the framing of masking (of the wider population, not the ‘elite’ classes) as a kind of outsourcing/externalising of elites’ personal risk-management. That’s an astute observation.

I appreciate that you’ve ended with some positives. To be honest, the scale of the problem is such that it can be hard to find positives, but we must… and there truly are some, as you note.

Have you come across this video? (which is a collaboration between Academy of Ideas x the illustrator After Skool)
I think it’s a rather good summary of where we are at, that also gives some suggestions for what we can do at the end of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09maaUaRT4M
Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  Jem Barnett

So agree with your post. Senseless beauty and acts of random kindness are all very well, but in these times we need to perform 1000 acts of tiny noncompliances a day, an unremitting drizzle of sand in the machine, the application of the sharp wedge, wit and humor, to dislodge the inertial respect of the governed for their bosses. Hopefully, those globalist elites will follow the path of their predecessors: climbing ever higher up the tree, but one day inevitably sawing off the branch on which they’re sitting.

Jem Barnett
Jem Barnett
2 months ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Well put Liz!

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 months ago

I can’t quite believe that the French people would reelect that arrogant little twerp Macron. The idea that voters should choose Macron because he is less bad than the alternative is hardly a glowing mandate.

Graham Hobbins
Graham Hobbins
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

The idea that voters should choose Macron because he is less bad than the alternative is hardly a glowing mandate.

Absolutely. Arguably, France is where it it is because of that exact predicament; in 2012 Hollande was voted in because he wasn’t Sarkozy, and in 2017 Macron becasue the French wanted neither the party of Holland or Sarkozy, nor Le Pen.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 months ago

Why should Covid have encouraged voters to turn away from the populists and back to the technocrats and ‘experts’? The latter have consistently lied – about the origins of the virus (probably a lab run by technocrats and ‘experts’), about the dangers of contracting the virus outdoors (while having their own open-air parties) and the efficacy of the vaccines (which do little to protect people from infection or stop them transmitting the virus to others). The government plans to deal with pandemics drawn up by civil servants over the last two decades were shown to be useless. While globalisation moved the manufacturing capacity for medicines and medical supplies to the other side of the world, the technocrats and ‘experts’ appear to have been asleep on duty. In several countries, governments then tried to force everyone and not just the vulnerable to accept vaccines, whose manufacturers still demand immunity from prosecution for side effects from their vaccines. Meanwhile the technocrats and ‘experts’ have failed to include the growing mental health problems and undiagnosed illnesses in their modelling of health systems that are falling apart. And all of this is reported on by journalists in the established media, who have been shown to be devoid of scientific knowledge and investigative skills.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
2 months ago

Of course Britain had a brief flirtation with a populist politician a few years ago. He was capable of drawing great crowds and adulation wherever he went. They even had a chant for him: “oooh, Jeremy Corbyn…”

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 months ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

Exactly, it does tend to be forgotten that “populism” comes from the “left” and “right”, Hugo Chavez was a populist as was Juan Perón. What populists have in common is dividing their country into “the people” and “the elite”, and then saying that they represent the people against the elite. Ordinary people will often put up with a lot from their elites, including overlooking there great wealth and even their power, but if the elite become too remote from the concerns of the people, and start denegrating their values then populists come to the fore in politics, and the elite should beware.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 months ago

Of course we need “elites”; economic elites who drive industry and make our standard of living viable. The accumulation of wealth has in the past been extremely beneficial to the lower orders and most whining is really just stupid envy.
What we do not need is social, academic and political elites which serve no purpose other than to weaken society and create a population of hopeless victims.
This phenomenon can be observed all over the West and Scotland in particular, where obfuscation and stupidity rule the roost.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 months ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

Day what you like about Corbyn, but he believed in stuff.

Hugh Jarse
Hugh Jarse
2 months ago

Indeed, and all the more dangerous for it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Hugh Jarse
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago

Populism aka what the majority of voters wish and desire… now unavailable in nu britn

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago

“Take a report by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, which concluded that support for populism had “collapsed” since the Covid outbreak, due to a “technocratic shift” in global politics. “Electoral support for populist parties,” wrote the lead author, Dr Roberto Foa, “has collapsed around the world in a way we don’t see for more mainstream politicians”
And there you have it in a nutshell. Our ruling elite have been shown for what they are incompetent, dishonest, delusional, self-serving liars and the Bennet Institute is part of that elite.

Stephen Walshe
Stephen Walshe
2 months ago

Everywhere in western Europe (and in North American and Australasia for that matter) parties to the right of centre are on the backfoot, and usually out of office. In the first round of the French presidential election, candidates to the right of Macron won just 37% of the vote, an all-time low, while Macron is poised for another second round landslide. Everywhere, parties to the right of centre have shockingly little support amongst the under 40s, and of course amongst ethnic minorities. Traditional conservative parties did a terrible job in recent decades in defending conservative values and economic principles of course, and did not respect or protect their base. But populist right-wing parties like Vox, AfD and National Rally just cannibalise a declining right of centre vote, and make it easy to keep the Right in perpetual opposition. It is of no account for example whether AfD have 10 or 12 per cent of the vote, if the government comprises the SPD, FDP and Greens, advancing a gruesome and increasingly irreversible “progressive” agenda.

Last edited 2 months ago by Stephen Walshe
J Bryant
J Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

I want to believe Mathew Goodwin’s analysis but then I read an alternative interpretation of the voting trends, such as yours, that reaches the opposite conclusion and I’m left confused. The only way for me to figure it out would be to become a student of French politics and analyze the raw voting data–obviously that’s not going to happen.
I can only fall back on my personal observations and experience. Throughout the developed world, the hard left appear to be in the ascendant. There are many conservatives (with a small c) out there but their vote is either split or they don’t bother to vote and they don’t hold conservative governments accountable when they’re elected.
I hate to say it but I’m not convinced populism is taking hold and I think that’s a bad thing for global stability. Look at the US where I’m from. Can anyone seriously believe this fractured country will lead the world in anything except odd ideologies for much longer?

Nunya Business
Nunya Business
2 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

In my opinion the only thing keep the USA looking decent is everywhere else that matters is a bigger shitshow.

Frederick B
Frederick B
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

Did you read the article? You seem to have the exact opposite view to that of Professor Goodwin. His article is necessarily much more detailed than your comment, so perhaps you should pen an “equal but opposite” riposte and persuade Unherd to publish it. I’d be interested to read it.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

Oh, nothing is ever irreversible. The question is, what’s it going to take to reverse it? The left — which includes the media — is too stupid to let go of power when appropriate to do so in the same way as the monkey in the coconut trap is too stupid to simply open its fist and escape. They’ve convinced themselves their ideology is so virtuous, and their virtue so necessary, that it would be irresponsible ever to let “the fascists” into office. They must be stopped by any means.

We see it most clearly in the media, where the word “journalist” is a synonym for “liar”. That rot continues all the way in to the marrow of the left. Like most stupid people, the left assume themselves intelligent and consequently reason that the public can’t tell when they’re being lied to. What they never get is that patience and toleration are not the same things as lack of awareness. Sooner or later, they’ll run out, and that’s when the whatsit will hit the fan. And that worries me.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

Thanks for that necessary bucket of cold water.

When Blair won his first election I wasn’t too bothered. The Labour manifesto was ideologically conservative.

Now allegedly Conservative governments pursue agendas that would have been outlandishly progressive at the start of the century.

Until a centre right party properly represents a centre right position, extreme politicians without the intellectual foundation, or political machinery, will continue to split the right vote.

Graham Hobbins
Graham Hobbins
2 months ago

Interesting article, as usual, and the nod back to 2012 is important.
I don’t think that we should underestimate the importance of the Hollande Presidency in terms of the destruction of the PS (and LR) and the relative rise of Le Pen. For many reasons, I would define those five years as a “confluence of inneptitude”, and Hollande’s success in 2012 was pretty much predicated on the fact that he was not Sarkozy – already a shaky starting point. Through this ineptitude, the PS managed the feat of alienating its own base, many of whom switched to Melonchon or le Pen, or just stopped voting. Add in the reponse to the terrorist attacks between 2015 and 2017 – to which the PS Interior Minister said “il faudra s’yhabitier” (“we’ll have to get used to it”) – and you begin to see the emergence of Le Pen as unsurprising. That response generated a lot of negative traction in France, because whatever one’s view on the origins and reasons for the attacks, it showed a lack of courage and solidarity when faced with a significant threat to la patrie – which up until around then, was a very important existential concept for the Left and Right alike.
Of course, the other side of the story is what happened to Sarkozy and why Les Republicans have polled so low. What should be a credible centre right alternative is now a party of the margins, and a former party of the margins is now – even if it loses to Macron – the credible centre-right alternative. The French are probably sufficiently conservative (i.e. risk averse) in outlook to ensure that Macron stays on for now, but the real question to me is what happens in 2027. Given the current fraught climate, I think that there will be more populism, and that if Melonchon’s results are anything to go by, that may well come from a refreshed left as well as a motivated right.

Earl King
Earl King
2 months ago

If the younger generation is more entrepreneurial they won’t find a much of a culture for that in France. Le Pen and her ilk are trying to preserve what it means to be French. That is what nationalists do. The massive muslim immigration and the Islamic ghettoes created have caused friction. Of the French made no great effort to integrate the immigrant muslims. As a result this permanent underclass has not interest in preserving the French monopoly on the economy or French culture. The French economy is moribund. Strict employment rules have simply ground it to a halt. I’m sure there is some innovation but safe to say I never hear about a great new French product.
It is not an inspiring environment unless you simply want to sit by a cafe, drink wine or espresso and eat good bread. In which case it is a fabulous environment.

James Chater
James Chater
2 months ago
Reply to  Earl King

Bit like the UK then? Post-imperial nemesis.

James Anthony Seyforth
James Anthony Seyforth
2 months ago

Vis a vis the entire western world after globalism:

“who have grown up in a world where populism is entirely normal, not an aberration, whose young lives were defined first by the global financial crisis and then by the Covid lockdowns, and who have never known a thriving, secure, growing French economy with low rates of unemployment. Why would they trust the old politics?”

I hope everyone over the age of 40 who had any say in the shaping of the 90s, 00s and onward in culture and politics suffers a breakdown when their dis-empowering worldviews are shattered by young people voting in their own interests, and against the continual lies of the borgy organised handcocks.

James Chater
James Chater
2 months ago

A quite dismal, embittered and fraught ‘future’, I would say. A reaction to retrograde nationalism/nativism will surely soon follow.
The reported non-participation of the younger generation should be alarming.