Some very interesting research out this morning from UK think tank Demos which has identified a new generation of populist activists in 12 European countries, at odds with mainstream politics and determined to counter what they see as an erosion of cultural identity.
The study has disturbingly found groups defined by their opposition to immigration, their anti-establishment tendencies and their concern for protecting national and European culture.
Maybe more worrying is that these groups which include Bloc Identitaire (France), the British National Party (UK), Die Freiheit (Germany), Lega Nord (Italy) and the Danish People’s Party (Denmark)are using online tools such as social networking sites like Facebook to swap ideas.
The report warns that the rise of populism across Europe cannot be understood without taking into account these ‘keyboard warriors’ and what drives their political outlook.
The group are generally men under 30 years old,who have high levels of disillusionment with mainstream political institutions and their countries’ justice systems.
They join the groups out of fears that immigration and multiculturalism are destroying national values and culture.They also display shockingly low levels of trust in their countries’ judicial systems and associate the EU with “not enough control over external borders’ and a ‘loss of cultural identity.”
Jamie Bartlett, Head of the Violence and Extremism Programme at Demos and author of the report said
“While many European countries have their eyes fixed on their economies, another crisis of confidence is brewing. Young men across Europe, feeling let down by their politicians and traditional parties, are turning their sympathies to populist groups.