Populist parties are rising because mainstream conservatives have failed

In short, mainstream conservative parties were tailoring their policies to please a small national constituency while seeming oblivious to the fact that they were alienating or even dissing the moral traditionalists, the patriots, the national-defense conservatives, and the “social fabric” conservatives who together make up the great bulk of their national constituency. (*) Moreover, the longer this continued, the more these constituencies became outraged not only at particular policies but also at the general failure of the center-right parties they usually supported to respond to their concerns.

And to put the top hat on things, two of the most important policies that had the support of these parties — namely, the Euro and the Schengen region of borderless Europe — failed in the most clear-cut manner. They produced chaos, disorder, and distress on a massive scale — 22 percent unemployment in Spain, a million-strong non-military invasion of Europe, moderate governments replaced by oddball Leftist coalitions through southern Europe. Yet mainstream parties continue to insist that the policies are irreversible. It’s called “a perfect storm.”

And the results are: (a) UKIP takes 14 percent of the English vote, mainly from the Tories, which (as Norman Tebbitt, Lady Thatcher’s right-hand minister, points out in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph) raises serious doubts about the Tory party’s long-term future; (b) France’s Front National came out ahead in the first round of recent regional elections, forcing the mainstream Gaullists to rely on Socialist voters for survival in the second round; and (c) Sweden’s conservatives are hemorrhaging votes to the rough-neck “Swedish Democrats” party which originated on the neo-Nazi right. Altogether the so-called populist threat is a damning verdict on the political competence and democratic decency of the mainstream Right.