Recent evidence suggests that concerns over national identity matter more. Those endorsing the far right also feel that these parties are meeting their anxieties over perceived threats to their identity, values and ways of life, and they felt this long before they’d even heard the words “credit crunch”. Increasingly, this “threat” is being traced by the far-right to the door of Islam.
The financial crisis has added to what is arguably already a perfect storm for the modern far right. But let’s not forget: far-right populists were already well on their way amid record levels of public concern over immigration, public dissatisfaction with the main parties, and weakening bonds between these parties and the voters.
Economics can harden cultural concerns into political action and even violence but the roots of extremism are complex. And there is a need for governments, political parties, security forces, civil society and the media to do more than simply wait for the economic storm clouds to pass.
The full piece is available over at the Jewish Chronicle website.