Populist or ‘far right’ politics brought about the world-shaking legislation that came to be known as Brexit. Now though, it looks as though it’s strongest supporters will not be a part of the British government as it enacts it.
Nigel Farage and the populist right UK Independence Party led the way on a successful campaign to get Britain out of the European Union. Once they had completed their biggest goal, the UKIP has faced many problems staying politically relevant and early polls have them trailing significantly behind the Conservative and Labour Parties.
The populist right base that were so energized by Brexit, and also internationally by the election of Donald Trump in America, have watched the Dutch elections, where far right candidate Geert Wilders’ party failed to take a majority (but admittedly did alright) and then ‘far right’ candidate Marine Le Pen losing the French general election.
Now the snap general elections in Britain are about to arrive, with early polls showing a pretty tight race between the Tories and the Labour Party, with the Tories having the edge in every poll taken so far.
I’m not sure whether to call these movements ‘populist’ or ‘far right’; neither feel totally correct, because the only thing that really ties any of these politicians or parties together is their views on immigration and multiculturalism (and some of them have rather left-leaning views in certain categories, such as protectionism), and if they’re populist, then they would keep winning across the board, and that hasn’t been the case.
Regardless, for members of that movement who supported Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, and other akin politicians, there doesn’t seem to be a place to cast their vote, at least with any certainty that it will make a considerable difference.
The UKIP still exists but it currently has one seat, and is rather disorganized since the Brexit vote and Farage’s departure from the party.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party seem like the opposite of what the far right groups want, as he’s been the most sympathetic to refugees and not willing to commit to an immigration ban or a military invasion.
Teresa May and the Tories seem like the best option, but they’ve been in power since prior to Brexit and have not handled the issue of terrorism in Britain effectively in the eyes of the far right. It’ll be more of the same, more than likely.
Overall, all of the British parties seem to be all over the place in terms of how they feel they should respond to the terror threat and whether or not action is necessary or wise.
But this does not mean that the wave of populism is over quite yet. French legislative elections occur in just a few weeks, and early polls have indicated a sizable minority interest in Le Pen’s National Front party, which means that Macron and the French government may not be done with Le Pen herself quite yet.
Only time will tell whether this populist wave was a minor flare in 2016, or whether it dipped a little in early 2017 only to rush back over the world in the second half.