OPINION

Dangerous populism

How populists are we? No more than what we’ve always been. Not just we, but the other Europeans as well. This, rather than a systematic rightist shift, is primarily what has been demonstrated by the recent electoral battles in Europe. Take the often-repeated pledge for tax cuts for middle- and high-income strata. The first to promise lower taxes were right-wing opposition parties. They did the same with other issues such as safety and rights for the various types of workers. So what’s the new element brought by far-rightist parties and movements? The only new thing, so far, is the emphasis they put on certain issues, and the manner in which they present them. In fact, we are faced with the emergence of a «new» right movement. This is a right that is closer to tradition, the family, the village, the neighborhood… Analysts have pointed out that a considerable section of the electorate voted to protest the need of societies to restore their sense of living together and citizens’ trust in the «other,» the police officer, the colleague at work. Our societies are tired of striving for improved performance, for economic success, for adaptation to the requirements of the new economic environment. European citizens are seeking some reward for the patience and discipline they have displayed over the past few years in the attempt to overcome the economic crisis…