The Far Right Challenge; Comment on “The Rise of Post-truth Populism in Pluralist Liberal Democracies: Challenges for Health Policy”

Document Type : Commentary


University of Reading, Reading, UK


Speed and Mannion make a good case that the rise of populism poses significant challenges for health policy. This commentary suggests that the link between populism and health policy should be further nuanced in four ways. First, a deconstruction of the term populism itself and a focus on the far right dimension of populist politics; second, a focus on the supply side and more specifically the question of nationalism and the ‘national preference’; third, the dynamics of party competition during economic crisis; and fourth the question of policy, and more specifically the extent to which certain labour market policies are able to mediate demand for the far right.


Main Subjects

  1. Akkerman A, Mudde C, Zaslove A. How populist are the people? Measuring populist attitudes in voters. Comp Polit Stud. 2013;47(9):1324-1353. Doi:10.1177/0010414013512600
  2. Mudde C. The populist zeitgeist. Government and Opposition. 2004;39(4):542-563.
  3. Pauwels T. Measuring populism: a quantitative text analysis of party literature in Belgium. J Elect Public Opin Parties. 2011;21(1):97-119. doi:10.1080/17457289.2011.539483
  4. Laclau E. Towards a Theory of Populism. In: Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory. London: New Left Books; 1977.
  5. Pappas T. Why Greece Failed. Journal of Democracy. 2013;24(2):31-45.
  6. Vasilopoulou S, Halikiopoulou D, Exadaktylos T. Greece in crisis: austerity, populism and the politics of blame. J Common Mark Stud. 2014;52:388-402. doi:10.1111/jcms.12093
  7. Jagers J, Walgrave S. Populism as political communication style: an empirical study of political parties' discourse in Belgium. Eur J Polit Res. 2007;46:319-345. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2006.00690.x
  8. Halikiopoulou D, Vasilopoulou S. Breaching the social contract: crises of democratic representation and patterns of extreme right party support. Government and Opposition. 2016; doi:10.1017/gov.2015.43
  9. Golder M. Explaining Variation in the Success of Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe. Comp Polit Stud. 2003;36(4):432-466.
  10. Halikiopoulou D, Vasilopoulou S. Support for the Far Right in the 2014 European Parliament Elections: a comparative perspective. Polit Q. 2014;85(3):285-288.
  11. Speed E, Mannion R. The rise of post-truth populism in pluralist liberal democracies: challenges for health policy. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2017;6(5):249-251. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2017.19
  12. Breuilly J. Dating the nation: How old is an old nation? In: Ichijo A, Uzelac G, eds. When Is the Nation? Towards an Understanding of Theories of Nationalism. London: Routledge; 2005.
  13. Kriesi H. Movements of the left, movements of the right: Putting the mobilization of two new types of social movement into political context. In: Kitschelt H, Lange P, Marks G, eds. Continuity and Change in Contemporary Capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1999.
  14. Vasilopoulou S, Halikiopoulou D. The Golden Dawn’s Nationalist Solution: Explaining the Rise of the Far Right in Greece. New York: Palgrave; 2015.
  15. Halikiopoulou D, Mock S, Vasilopoulou S. The civic zeitgeist: nationalism and liberal values in the European radical right. Nations & Nationalism. 2013;19(1):107-127. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8129.2012.00550.x
  16. Carter E. The Extreme Right in Western Europe: Success or Failure? Manchester: Manchester University Press; 2005.
  17. Rydgren J. Is extreme right-wing populism contagious? Explaining the emergence of a new party family. Eur J Polit Res. 2005;44(3):413–437.
  18. Meguid B. Party Competition between Unequals: Strategies and Electoral Fortunes in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2008.
  19. March L. Contemporary Far Left Parties in Europe From Marxism to the Mainstream? International Political Analysis. Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; 2008.
  20. Halikiopoulou D, Nanou K,  Vasilopoulou S. The Paradox of Nationalism: the common denominator of radical right and radical left euroscepticism, Eur J Polit Res. 2012; 51(4):504-539. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2011.02050.x
  21. Halikiopoulou D. Radical left-wing Euroscepticism in the 2014 elections. In: Is Europe afraid of Europe? Athens: Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies/ Karamanlis Foundation; 2014.
  22. Halikiopoulou D, Vlandas T. Risks, costs and labour markets: explaining cross-national patterns of Far Right party success in European Parliament Elections. Journal of Common Market Studies. 2016;54:636-655. doi:10.1111/jcms.12310
  23. Lipset SM. Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics. New York: Doubleday; 1960.
  24. Vlandas T, Halikiopoulou D. Why far right parties do well at times of crisis: bringing labour marker institutions back in the debate. Working Paper 2016.07. European Trade Union Institute; 2016.