by UnHerd
Thursday, 11
February 2021
Explainer
07:00

European populism isn’t going anywhere

Despite the narrative of decline, certain parties are gathering power
by UnHerd
Yet another reminder that national populism is not a spent force. Credit: Getty

Imagine the following: the SNP tries to hold an illegal referendum on Scottish independence. The UK government launches a crackdown. Several SNP ministers are arrested, put on trial and sentenced to long jail terms. Nicola Sturgeon flees to Belgium and remains there in permanent exile.

Meanwhile, there’s a unionist backlash in England and Wales against the separatists. A populist party of the hard Right — called ‘Voice’ — emerges from nowhere to become the third force in British politics. In fact, it does so well that it’s about win seats in the Scottish Parliament too.

It’s an absurd scenario, but something very similar is playing out in Spain right now — only with the role of Scotland filled by Catalonia, where the zealously anti-separatist Vox party looks set to enter the regional parliament in elections this Sunday.

It’s yet another reminder that national populism is not a spent force. Other examples include Portugal — which like its Iberian neighbour was once thought immune to the lure of the populist Right. And yet, Chega (meaning ‘enough’), a party that was only formed in 2019, is making headway. Its leader, André Ventura came third in the recent Presidential election with a first round vote of 12%.

In France, the candidate of the hard Right is now firmly re-established as the main challenger to Emmanuel Macron. POLITICO Europe somewhat breathlessly reports that “Marine Le Pen has never been closer to seizing power in France than she is now.” Meanwhile, in Rome, the ‘technical’ (i.e. unelected) government of Mario Draghi is all that’s keeping the Italian Right out of power.

However, it’s a complex picture. In the Netherlands, Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy — which surged to first place in the 2019 provincial elections — has now fallen to bits. But that’s allowed Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party — an older populist outfit — to stage a comeback. It is now second in the polls again. Meanwhile in Denmark, the People’s Party is another example of slumping populism, except in this case it’s because the governing Social Democrats have moved onto their territory. Only last month, the Danish PM, Mette Fredericksen, set an ambition for zero asylum seekers.

In short, the narrative of growing populist irrelevance is as overdone as the previous narrative of an imminent populist takeover. Better to think of populism as a continuing and unpredictable source of disruption.

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

‘Better to think of populism as a continuing and unpredictable source of disruption.’

No, better to think of it as normal people seeking an alternative to the wickedness and incompetence of those that have now been ruling us for many decades.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Quite so. And it is NOT “hard right” to resist transformational levels of migration; it is hard left to impose them.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Actually, transformational level of migration are hard right economically as they provide and endless source of cheap labour for big business. This is something the left, in its perpetual stupidity, will never understand.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I must disagree. For even during the high water mark of economic liberalism, social cohesion came first – hence the various restrictions imposed on migration towards the end of the nineteenth century. Labour was recognised as a special case, along with all sorts of economic goods – medicines, for example – which were also placed under restrictions at around the same period. True, there is always a tension between the immediate interests of business and the long term desiderata of society; but as any good classical economist will recognise, cheap labour retards automation and represents a sort of trap; so the money men and the flag wavers end up on the same side after all. More importantly, a cohesive, confident society will offer a smooth environment for contract and sale, high spirits leading to a greater volume of trade and a willingness to engage in large capital expenditure for a future which appears reasonably assured. We mustn’t let the left keep playing this silly game of dividing Old Liberalism’s two great causes – free trade and national pride.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

66% of the French voted for Macron!
Are they not Normal People?

wickedness and incompetence of those that have now been ruling us for many decades.

All democratically elected, not beamed from space.

David J
David J
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

That percentage was recorded back in 2017. Things have changed a little since then.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  David J

I will take your word for it.
But you didn’t address my point. Was 66% of the population not Normal People?

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Can I try to address your point? France has a two stage Presidential electoral system. In the first round people vote for who they really want, from all across the political spectrum, to win. Most of them are really no hopers and all but the two with the most votes are eliminated.
In the second round last time it was Macron and Le Pen, so everyone, from conservative, catholic capitalists to revolutionary communists and everyone in between voted for Macron to keep Le Pen out. So yes, 66% voted Macron but that does not mean 66% actually like Macron or what he stands for (whatever that is)? One thing that seems consistent is that Le Pen gets closer at every attempt so what happens next time with Macron’s honeymoon period very definitely over is anyone’s guess.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Exactly Geoff. In the first round, Macron gained just 24% of the vote – hardly a ringing endorsement, and only just edging out Fillon (the ‘Gaullist’ candidate, who’d been the subject of a press campaign of vilification).

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Yes, I always thought it slightly suspicious that the French establishment dropped and then ruined the formerly respectable Fillon at the precise moment he began to make slightly less than 100% positive statements about the EU (presumably, rather like Cameron in the UK, to try to head off the far-right and to tap into the growing Euroscepticism of the people).
They then got very firmly behind the relatively unknown newcomer Macron, with his vague, ‘all things to all people’ politics but very sound support for the EU. It was rather like he was created specifically for the job, don’t you think?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Voters tend to vote for the “least worst” available at the time.

They are no longer as confident that Macron is still the “least worst” available.

Thankfully he is being forced (through his diminishing popularity) to listen to the electorate more …

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Normally I agree with you on most things but this is extremely arrogant. It is as if you think that because you subscribe to UnHerd you can’t be a normal person. Opinions on the column are neither right nor wrong – they are just opinions. If I say (EXAMPLE ONLY), “The Left has the correct idea,” everybody goes berserk. Closed minds!!

If argument is valuable it has to be seen as a communication problem. You have an idea and you try to find a way of conveying that idea to as many people as possible. To dismiss the majority of people as incapable of having an opinion is just wrong.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m not sure that’s what the comment intended … I read it as peoples opinions being more fundamentally important than just purely disruptive …..

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

YES.
Comment of the week.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

Populism. This, along with “Trumpian” are words which I would like a moratorium to be imposed on. Forever.

Why is it so hard to understand that this is happening for a reason and that discrediting the concerns of the people who are voting for the so-called populists will not do a damned thing to solve the issue?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I would also like to moratorium for commentators here to stop pretending that they are The People and the rest of the country is The Elite.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well actually, I have never voted for a party who were deemed “populist”. I didn’t like Trump. I also didn’t vote for Brexit, which is generally seen as a “populist” undertaking. I’m interested in democracy and a quite revolutionary concept: listening to people and discussing honestly rather than simply denigrating. Wilful blindness to the concerns and interests of a large group of people simply because you don’t find them tasteful is – if it goes on for long enough – going to mean us all coming to harm.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I agree with you if you really mean it. But when you say that Brexit was ‘populist’ it is a little arrogant. It is like saying, “If people really understood things, like me, they would have voted to remain.”

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I don’t refer to Brexit as populist (see what I did with the “s?), as I hate the term “populist”. However, you will see it being referred to as “populist” in a great many instances.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

OK, I yield, Sorry.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

So that means we agree, because I do mean it. Jolly good 🙂

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Perfectly fine comment, my point (as answer to your original comment – sorry if I misunderstood you) is that many commentators here claim to be the people.
52% that vote Leave = the people
48% that voted Remain = The elite
74M Trump voters = The People
81M Biden voters = The Elite.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes, precisely. Good answer.

barbara neil
barbara neil
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’d say that lies had a fair amount to do with both cases. (and prolonged intimidation, in the US example).
Do you get to keep the trophy if you cheat?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Those figures quite properly remind us of the numbers of votes cast.

But when people use the term ‘the elite’ (in this sense, as imported from US usage) I do not think they mean the voters, but those – much, much fewer in number – in positions of power and influence.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Spoken Like a true member of the elite

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I share your dissatisfaction with the use of the term ‘populism’, often dished out in the derogatory sense of ‘the backward ideas of nasty people for whom we, the enlightened ones, have justifiable contempt’.

Rather than give up on the term, however, could I invite you to search for Takis S Pappas, a political scientist who specialises in populism and related topics.

I have in mind a paper he wrote, published in The Journal of Democracy, October 2016, Vol, 27, No 4, (‘The Specter Haunting Europe: Distinguishing Liberal Democracy’s Challengers’). You can find it on his website.

It carefully analyses and categorises terms that are bandied about in a lazy or tendentious way. For example, he helpfully distinguishes between populism and nativism, between liberal and illiberal democracy, and so on.

He has many other materials there on the subject, but the above is the only piece of his that I have read.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Thanks William – I’ll be sure to check that out!

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s one of those irregular adjectives, so ‘popular’ with the Left:
I have a democratic mandate.
You are a populist.
He is a rabble-rouser.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Very good – but as a pedant, I think you mean “conjugations” not “adjectives”.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
1 year ago

“Marine Le Pen has never been closer to seizing power in France than she is now.”

“Seizing” power – does that mean she might win a democratic election?

That very phrase would be enough to make me want to vote for her (if I was French).

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

The word “Populism” is used by elites to describe widely held views they don’t like.

If it wasn’t for the pressure applied by these “populist parties” then there would be an endless downward spiral of influence for much of the electorate.

If they ever go away, then democracy will be much the worse as a consequence.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The word Populism was for many years a description of left-leaning ideology, funny that it’s now used as a description of the right.

barbara neil
barbara neil
1 year ago

You forget to explain that the appearance of Vox/Voice in Spain was a direct result of and a (delayed somewhat) reaction to 40 odd years of populist/nationalist governments in Catalonia which have all but destroyed democracy in the region and which have been supported/tolerated by the central Spanish governments due to the electoral system giving them a key role in who governs Spain. These nationalist governments of Catalonia have milked Catalonia dry, linguistically discriminated against more than half of its own population, whipped up hatred against the rest of Spain in their takeover of both the education system and the public media, disobeyed the laws, flagrantly, and lately, sunk the economy too. And they are not supported by even 50% of the Catalan pop.! It is inevitable, in my view, in the face of such seemingly invincible corruption that a right wing (and no, not “hard” right) party will rise to counter such a debacle. Populism is a fact of human nature I suspect, on both the Left and Right.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  barbara neil

Catalonia’s antagonism with Spain runs, in it’s modern form, for around 150 years – and harks back in older forms to around 350 years and more.

The Catalans wanted a vote, particularly after the Spanish courts overturned the outcome of a previous vote on their Statute of Autonomy (2006). They went to the polls three times before trying to run an official referendum in 2017. That’s hardly ‘destroy[ing] democracy’. The Spanish constitution lacks mechanisms for disputes between the centre and the regions. It remains a defining regional issue.

As it happens Catalonia is a bilingual society. Its traditional language is Catalan. Until 1970s, Catalan had been banned from public schools under Franco – people couldn’t even give their children a Catalan name. Since 8 million people speak Catalan, you’d think they’d be annoyed by a centrally imposed Spanish-isation. In current times, Spanish is part of Catalan education, but only part, because Catalan is more commonly spoken in Catalonia.

Unfortunately, there is a mentality in Spain that some Spanish people believe Catalonia is ‘theirs’. There is an ownership mentality – not a partnership – not ‘better together’. This antagonism rises to the surface at least once a century. Vox itself directly harks back to the fascist era – it’s not merely ‘rightwing’.

barbara neil
barbara neil
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

Your post is a perfect example of the hogwash invented by the nationalists to justify their execrable behaviour. Now you could be forgiven for repeating the historical lies, since they have changed the history books in Catalonia and there are generations of Catalan kids who go to University truly believing that the Spanish Civil War was Spain against Catalonia! (This anecdote from the Historian John Eliot). But you cannot be forgiven the lies about the current situation. So you’re a Catalan nationalist, no medals.There is not a more reactionary movement. (p.s. according to the Generalitat, the catalan regional government, 64% of Catalans have Spanish as their mother tongue, not Catalan as you claim! Ho-hum lies…)

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  barbara neil

It’s a rabbit hole. But if anyone is interested look it up – it’s a dirty, messy, complicated and confusing history, mind. There’s centuries of niggle here, as the high level of vitrol that my reply created demonstrates. Much easier to let the Catalans have a vote and put the matter to rest.

barbara neil
barbara neil
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

Too “complicated and confusing” for the plebs then is it? Ha! On the contrary, truth outs in the end. In fact, the historian J. Eliot has recently written a book comparing the Scottish nationalist cause with the catalan – and come to the conclusion that they are in fact quite different, if anyone is interested.
And yes, quite! It’s much easier to let the thief have your wallet and “put the matter to rest”….

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  barbara neil

Hmmm… why are you hinting at a classic Spanish financial slur against the Catalans? Why is that? The history of Spain is complex particularly from the C17th onwards as Spanish powers declined.

For instance, wrapping your head around the C19th Carlist wars for a start – based around the legitimacy of the Spanish monarch and whether a woman could inherit the throne – a hangover from the Spanish War of Succession. The Carlist issue formed a background of the two Spanish civil wars, part of two centuries of tensions between modern and traditionalist views of Spain and is full of specific nuance that requires detail to unpick. “Complicated and confusing” to the point that many Spanish struggle to understand or explain it.

barbara neil
barbara neil
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

I rest my case on the History issue and won’t repeat myself. But I note that you have avoided answering the more serious manipulations and outright lies of the present which you presented as truths in your first post.

In the end, the rest of the Spanish people have been very patient with the minority (even in Catalonia!) of Catalan separatists who have captured the Parliament , media, and education systems over the years and who decided unilaterally that they would break the Law, holding a referendum on the integrity of the whole of Spain and which was participated in by a tiny minority, again…Again. The Spanish Constitution is especially generous and allows for changes of this magnitude (unlike Germany, the US etc) so long as the proposal receives sufficient support from ALL the people of Spain. But that would have taken longer and the corruption cases in the courts were looming….hence the hurry and the flurry.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  barbara neil

Well I did reply with a long explanation of why Spanish history as an empire of nations has seen continual challenges between Castilian Spain and Catalonia but the discussion system ate it, and I’m not rewriting the whole thing. The 1714 British document: “The Deplorable History of The Catalans” provides a jumping off point for anyone who wants to dip a toe in the muddy waters. There are more analogies to Britain-Ireland in 1910, than England-Scotland now.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

‘But that’s allowed Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party ” an older populist outfit ” to stage a comeback.’

Yes, and I pointed this out to Jeremy Smith a few days ago when he asserted that Wilders’ party had collapsed. And they never really went away having been tied with VVD and FvD until the FvD collapse.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Pointing things out to master Smith is fruitless task; his aim is to vex people, that’s all.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Local election (last election) – it lost 26 seats. That is the fact.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes, because some or many of its voters switched to Baudet and the FvD, which espoused a similar belief system. That election was the FvD’s high point. Those votes will now revert to PVV, or go to the VVD.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Ah, come on – Mr. Smith livens things up! It’s sport!

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

With him as a sort of football from Harry Potter – squealing out misinformation as he’s booted into touch.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

He is providing an alternative instead of a cosy feeling for everybody. Like spoiling the ‘clubby’ atmosphere.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

This is disingenuous. Few round here object to open, reasoned argument. The house-style is genuine “classical liberal”. But Smith just aims to provoke. “Did I trigger you?” He asked me a couple of days ago, obviously gloating over the notion that he had. Worse, he stoops to ruse and sophistry, laced with a smattering of abusive patronage designed to annoy. Witness his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the points made by Truth Revealed apropos the rightward drift of Italian opinion. Then there is the frequency with which he appears – suspiciously like trolling, no? And the equal frequency with which he involves himself in spats – hoping to “trigger” people again and again, no doubt. No, dear sir; by all means dispute with me. You may support the EU, heavy migration, comprehensive schooling and “colour blind” casting – all of which I oppose. But please do so honestly, without malice and with substantive argument. Then I – and many round here – will be happy to engage.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

If ‘trolling’ means consistently having an opinion that disagrees with your opinion – then you are correct.

You see, in almost every thread I always disagree with one thing and one thing only – I do not really see UnHerd as a kaleidoscope of views, I see it as a view of (mainly) older people. While we argue the finer points of detail, the world ignores us and carries on following a Leftist agenda.

I have read recently, as background, a few Leftist journals and ALL of their arguments target young people. Therefore, I believe, we ought to at least try to view the world in a different way. For this view, I will also be accused of ‘trolling’. Back to my ‘clubby’ comment.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

A somewhat confusing post, if I may say so. But let’s deal with it – politely. First, you ignore all the points I make re: the nature of Smith’s argumentative style. He doesn’t just “disagree”, he twits, he insults, he plays games and offers a less than honest form of dialogue. I have even given you instances…

Then you say Unherd is not a “kaleidoscope” of views – fair enough – I’ve said it’s “classical liberal”; but why should it not be? Especially if we’re willing to argue in detail?

Older people? Again – so what? We wish to communicate, to engage, to clarify our positions. And the aim is not – primarily – to restore society, to convince the young, to turn the tide. These are all desirable ends but we’re not going to achieve them from our keyboards, are we? We might, however, implant a few doubts in a browsing twenty-something; sow a few seeds.

As for trying to view the world in a different way – why? We see the world as we see it and should have the courage to register this view openly. If it is successfully challenged, we can adjust it. But to try to adopt another point of view ab initio is self-defeating. Moreover, that different view is all too predominant, is it not? And if you are referring to more than one such view – their very variety makes choice impossible. Far simpler and more productive to be honest about one’s starting point and see how far it can be sustained or adapted.

I don’t accuse you of trolling – there is far too little dishonesty or aggression in what you say for that. But on the other hand, I still think your remarks a little confused. Are you saying we should “target the young”? Does this mean we “adapt” from the first? If so, how far? And doesn’t “adaptation” usually dilute the message so far that it offers no alternative? If so, then I counter that we continue to clarify our stance; we continue to oppose those things to which we cannot in conscience reconcile ourselves; that we do so as persuasively as possible and that we use the clash of honest argument to achieve these ends.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

About 20 years ago I worked for a year in Italy. Every day in the town centre about 20 old men congregated in the cafes talking loudly about politics. Every one of them knew where things had gone wrong in life – they wanted to go back to something which seemed good at some time in the past. I remember thinking, “I hope I don’t get like them.” Basically, they had nothing to do with their lives but complain to whoever was listening and that was only me.

I am not saying that all of the people on this site need to suddenly change their views but what I am saying is that they need to try (try!!) to see things through the eyes of younger people – the future.

My argument is the same for everything. I see criticism of the Left, which is reasonable with the wisdom of maturity (!!) but not everybody in the world is mature. For example, if you are 16 years old and your teacher is telling you that the old people have destroyed the planet, you have to believe it.

As the mature people die, the young will take over and I think that if I read these columns through the eyes of younger people I would think the arguments would be meaningless.

To me, it is only worth having this conversation if we – the older people – can have some sort of effect, not just comfort each other by telling ourselves that we are right.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Fair enough; but comfort is important. And argument is just a form of conversation, at one level. And whilst we should – no doubt – try to put ourselves in others’ shoes from time to time, we must be careful not to end up aping them; or submitting to notions which experience or forethought have exposed as nonsense. In any event, the two strategies – if that is what they are – are not opposed; the clarification of aims at HQ enables the fighters at the front to do their adaptive, understanding, flexible job with a greater sense of purpose, no?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Your comment is head and shoulders above the typical Jeremy input.

People on here seem to want mature challenge – Jeremy seems to prefer wind-ups.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Can you make a comeback if you are top dog?
Feel free to quote my whole ORIGINAL comment.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
1 year ago

Populism is just democracy.
It’s just they dont vote for the left or the greens so in those eyes it’s wrong and evil but if they voted for the left or the greens it would be held up as a bastion of good democracy.
Hypocrisy know thy self

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
1 year ago

As long as the tidal-wave flow of illegals is allowed to create havoc in the EU, there will be increased numbers of populists. No one wants an unlimited wave of illegals to come in and take housing, jobs, and raise taxes while lowering wages.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
1 year ago

Populism is a good thing. It is democracy in action. It is advocacy by – and on behalf of – people with views that the pompous and censorious do not like.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago

If you ignore people’s concerns they eventually find a way via democracy and the longer it takes and the deeper the crisis the more determined or extreme the reaction against it…goodness knows what will happen in the USA now that democracy is over.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

You wouldn’t care if populists weren’t popular.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago

Meanwhile, in Rome, the ‘technical’ (i.e. unelected) government of Mario Draghi is all that’s keeping the Italian Right out of power.

It is fascinating to watch the non MSM play lose with the facts.
1) Both parties (5 Stars and Lega) promised their voters during 2017 election that they would not enter in coalition with each other. They broke their promise. Is that democratic?
2) Conte, the last PM, was UNELECTED. He was approved as PM by the Italian Parliament.
3) Draghi’s “non-election” is perfectly legal (constitutional!) and keeping with the norms of Italian governance/state for the last 70 years. He will become PM and form a government because Italian politicians (including Salvini) will vote for him.

Kevin Haughton
Kevin Haughton
1 year ago

Populism is a direct result of the Internet. Political ideas percolate through societies and reach a much more diverse audience. It also makes organising opposition to governments much more effective. More to come.

Michael Joseph
Michael Joseph
1 year ago

Imagine the following: the SNP tries to hold an illegal referendum on Scottish independence. The UK government launches a crackdown. Several SNP ministers are arrested, put on trial and sentenced to long jail terms. Nicola Sturgeon flees to Belgium and remains there in permanent exile.
Meanwhile, there’s a unionist backlash in England and Wales against the separatists. A populist party of the hard Right — called ‘Voice’ — emerges from nowhere to become the third force in British politics. In fact, it does so well that it’s about win seats in the Scottish Parliament too.
Sounds brilliant! Please let it happen!