by UnHerd
Monday, 24
May 2021
Chart
07:00

Across Europe, the populists are on the march

From France to Finland, Right-wingers are surging
by UnHerd

So that’s Eurovision done for another year. We can stop caring about songs we’ll never hear again sung by people we’ll never see again.

Instead, let’s turn our attention to the votes that actually matter i.e. those that elect the governments of our closest neighbours.

This is a contest with a very different vibe. Consider Spain. Until recently, this was one of the last European strongholds of the centre-Left. However, the conservative People’s Party is making a major comeback — bolstered by public frustration with lockdown. Normally, good news for the mainstream party of the centre-Right would be bad news for any challenger party of the hard Right. But not in Spain where the populist Vox party continues to prosper. Rather it is the liberal Citizens’ party that has suffered. Indeed, it’s close to extinction.

Therefore if the People’s Party wins the next election then its obvious coalition partner is Vox, not the political centre. With a renewed migration crisis brewing, Spain could become as big a headache for the EU as Italy is.

Speaking of which, the ‘post-fascist’ Brothers of Italy party is now beginning to hit second place in opinion polls — just a sliver behind The League, another Right-wing populist party. Together the two command more than 40% of the vote. The technocratic government of Mario Draghi is all that’s stopping new elections, which would most likely result in victory for the hard Right. The main uncertainty is whether Matteo Salvini of the League or Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers would become Prime Minister. As things stand, Salvini is still in pole position, but the momentum is with Meloni.

Meanwhile the polls show that the Right-wing populist parties — or presidential candidates — are out in front in France, the Flemish part of Belgium and Finland. They also have a major presence in most other Western European nations (the UK being the biggest exception). As for the eastern half of the continent, let’s not even go there.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a rainbow-coloured vision of tolerance and togetherness. For hardcore British Remainers — always more interested in the European ideal than the reality — it symbolises a paradise lost.

Perhaps if they paid more attention to the continent’s actual politics, it would lessen their heartache.

Join the discussion


  • Well, yes, if you kick normal, working people in the teeth every day for 30 or 40 years, then bring into their country millions of people who hate the West and wish to abolish it, then people will, eventually, kick back. The only sadness is that it took so long.
    As the BBC didn’t point out in a very biased piece about the French police the other day, 59 French police men and women have been killed in the last six years. In contrast, six have been killed in the UK – and the UK is a somewhat criminal and violent country by western European standards. So, don’t be too surprised if le Pen wins next year.
    The fact is that so-called ‘populism’ is the only thing standing between the West and a descent into third world ****holeism under the sword of a certain religious/political system. At least people are, finally, starting to fight back.

  • yes – it should have explored Eastern Europe – instead of saying ‘let’s not even go there’.

  • The future of England is of paramount importance.
    Currently this is under threat, and those in command should be aware of historical precedents for what may happen if they exceed their authority.

    The catalyst for those happy drinkers in the Hofbräuhaus was 7 million unemployed, and then the ‘drum began to beat’.

    ‘We’ have a clear warning from history, and the omens are not good.

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