guardian.co.uk: Far right on rise in Europe, says report

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: A long-awaited study published today by Demos think tank asks if populism is the future face of Europe. 

The guardian.co.uk writes: “The study reveals a continent-wide spread of hardline nationalist sentiment among the young, mainly men. Deeply cynical about their own governments and the EU, their generalised fear about the future is focused on cultural identity, with immigration – particularly a perceived spread of Islamic influence – a concern.”

When asked to mention what factors they disliked most about the EU, the respondents stated: waste of money (59%), not enough control over external borders (58%), loss of our cultural identity’ (56%), more crime (46%) and bureaucracy (36%).

If we look at PS Facebook respondents, they scored higher than average than the rest. Seventy-four percent considered the EU a “waste of money,” 62% said there wasn’t “enough control over external borders,” and 69% stated “loss of cultural identity.” PS respondents scored the highest  together with Die Freiheit of Germany on “loss of cultural identity.”

Concerns over immigration and Islamic terrorism were the respondents two main concerns. The highest score was by France’s far right (Bloc Identitaire, 67% and National Front 57%) compared with an average of 37%;  PS scored 33%.  Fifteen percent (25% on average for the whole group) of the PS saw Islamic terrorism as a threat.

While the PS claimed in September that preliminary findings of the Demos study claimed that the party is violent, the think tank has denied such allegations.

Do you agree that the populist and far right parties that base their campaigns on anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam sentiment will continue to grow in Europe?

You can download the full report here.

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Peter Walker and Mathew Taylor

The far right is on the rise across Europe as a new generation of young, web-based supporters embrace hardline nationalist and anti-immigrant groups, a study has revealed ahead of a meeting of politicians and academics in Brussels to examine the phenomenon.

Read whole story.

  1. Mark

    There has been a clear shift away from economic arguments and towards ‘loss of cultural identity’ in recent years. I think that is because the rise in populist parties has brought sharpened rebuttal arguments that challenge the myth that immigrants are purely a drain on the welfare economy. Likewise, the arguments sound a bit thin coming from unemployed yobbos with no education or developed skills of their own to speak of. 🙂

    • Enrique

      Hi Mark, this is an interesting point you bring up. Look at the make up of the sample that Demos used: (1) Online supporters are primarily young men: an average of 63 per cent are under 30, and 75 per cent are male. In no country do
      females make up more than 36 per cent of online supporters; (2) online supporters are slightly more likely to be unemployed; (3) many join or support these types of parties because they fear that immigration and multiculturalism are destroying national (and sometimes European) values and culture; (4) younger supporters are more likely to cite immigration than older supporters as a reason for joining; (5) supporters display low levels of trust in both national and European political institutions compared with national population averages; (6) online supporters are disgruntled democrats: they overwhelmingly believe that voting matters, and disavow violence, but do not believe that politics is an effective way to respond to their concerns; (7) Online populist supporters are highly critical of the European Union, with many blaming it for a loss of control over borders and the erosion of cultural identity; (8) the shift from online activism to voting is motivated by concerns over immigration, and Islamic extremism.

      See pp. 19-22 of the report.

  2. Seppo

    Being concerned about the future of your and your childrens cultural identity does not need to be a bad thing as such. Actually, preserving ones cultural identity is something that people, especially immigrants, are often actively encouraged to do. At least I do hope that no one should be deprived of their cultural identity nor should they need to be afraid that such a thing will happen in the near future.

    If we take a country like Finland, the minority cultures are all the time under a heavy influence of the majority culture(s) to the extent that many representatives of the minorities are worried about the development. But if we look at the whole world then it is the Finnish culture(s) that are in the minority with many bigger and more prestigious cultures constantly influencing us.

    Most of us are in the minority in some sense. That is why it is important, no matter where you reside and which culture you feel you represent, that we all have the right to our cultural identity. Equally important is to understand that people with different cultural backgrounds can live side by side if they want to, as long as there is respect and tolerance for each other.

    Obviously I realize that many of those people who ticked the box for “being afraid of the loss of cultural identity” might see this issue differently. For them safeguarding ones cultural identity means keeping representatives of other cultures physically as far away as possible.

  3. justicedemon

    Seppo

    The PeruSSuomalaiset of the 19th century entirely failed to preserve Finnish culture, which as we all know was based on the lifestyle and certainties of the tenant farmer. Even as late as the 1960s the tenant farmer failed to reach for his shotgun when his daughter dreamed of becoming an air hostess and marrying some wealthy foreigner, or his oldest son chose to pursue a life in some new fangled occupation like electrical engineering instead of taking over the family farm, as any good and loyal first son should do.

    That’s why the Finns are not Finnish any more, and they haven’t been for at least half a century.

    Everyone over 70 years of age can see that the country has gone to the dogs. Gone are the days when you could expect to spend your entire working life slaving in some dead-end job until finally being struck down by an occupational disease in late middle age. This is the very essence of Finnishness, but now it has been sadly lost due to invidious namby-pamby foreign ideas like industrial health and safety.

    And so on for nearly all aspects of genuinely Finnish culture.

    At least we still have kossu.

  4. Seppo

    I’m not sure what you wanted to say but I don’t think there is or ever has been such a thing as “genuinely Finnish” culture. Cultures change all the time being influenced by one another.

    Earlier I was talking mainly about individual cultural identities which might vary from person to person.

  5. Mark

    Seppo

    It’s funny that those that are claiming to protect a Finnish culture are quite oblivious to what that means. Of course, there are those that are articulate, educated and employed too. I think their racism grows from a need to be masculine, and that means standing up for the gang and gaining ‘respect’. Many writers on gender have written about how homophobia and racism are almost inbuilt prerequisites from some kind of masculine identities.

    So really, if we are going to talk about ‘cultural identities’, it really is fair to ask if we really are talking about ‘masculine identities’. Me thinks we are. I can hear it now ‘Vittu ulkomalaisia….’, cue spit on the ground, dig your hands deeper into your pockets, pull the hoody up, plan your next booze cruise after the Kela paycheck comes in 🙂

    Of course, that masculine rubbish comes in all shapes and sizes, but it’s the same old nonsense.

  6. khr

    The people that spend a lot of time in the net still consists largely of young men. The gender distribution has fortunately become a lot more even in recent years, but looking at the ages of the PS supporters it does not look particularly distorted. To be more sure, one would need to know the age and gender distributions of political memberships in FB overall.

    The study has a lot of interesting data, but often there’s no comparison data for the general population, or the when it’s available, it’s from a study with a differently chosen sample (eurobarometer, etc). This is unfortunate, as if they would have had a control group of their own from the same sample population (FB users), it would have provided a much better insight how the opinions of the nationalistic groups’ members differ from the main stream.

  7. Seppo

    “if we are going to talk about ‘cultural identities’, it really is fair to ask if we really are talking about ‘masculine identities’”

    When it comes to those people using the term cultural identity as a politically correct disguise for extreme nationalism, then yes, we are talking about masculinity. In Eastern Europe the torch of extreme nationalism is carried by football hooligan gangs – 100% male. One of the few ways in which the PS differs significantly from other political parties in Finland is the fact that their supporters are 2/3 male.

    But we should not let these people steal the concept of cultural identity! Like they have already stolen or tried to steal many other concepts. Cultural identity is something we all have and something that is very valuable for most of us. Preserving ones cultural identity should be looked at as a positive thing, both when it comes to immigrants as well as non-immigrants.

    We should keep the extreme nationalists where they belong – in the margins – and not let their rhetoric influence our understanding of different words and concepts.

  8. Mark

    Seppo

    – “We should keep the extreme nationalists where they belong – in the margins – and not let their rhetoric influence our understanding of different words and concepts.”

    It is a good point you are making. They try to appropriate the words patriotism, cultural heritage and social justice, all the while making it conditional on belonging to their fiery and racist brand of nationalism, where acknowledging any multiculturalism is described as a ‘crime’, and the ‘mixing’ of cultures is frowned upon.

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