There is a populist time bomb ticking underneath all postwar political systems. This is very visible in some countries on the European Continent , where populist parties with unprecedented speed move from the margins to the political center. Everywhere new combinations of the center-right aligning with right-wing or radical-right populism pop up. The dominant style of government could be called ’governmental populism’. Governments, claiming to be the voice of (the false unity of) the people, revolt against the postwar European order. Think about Berlusconi and his all-out media war against the Italian juridical system. Think about Sarkozy, who’s presidential-populist ADHD makes the Front National redundant. Think about the anti-minaret Swiss People’s Party, SVP, which is the biggest governing party of Switzerland. Think about Denmark or Austria and Norway in past years.
Since this week, the Netherlands fits into this picture as well. A center-right government of conservative-liberals (VVD) and christian-democrats (CDA) pacts with the right-wing populist Freedom’s party of Geert Wilders. The glue of this peculiar alliance is aversion to the Left. Abhorrence of the cosmopolitan, elitist, (multi)cultural Left. Aversion especially to the (presumed) Left’s handling of the immigration and integration issue. The Governmental Populists present their cabinet as a government of common sense. A government for and by the ordinary people, representing the counterrevolution against the cultural revolution of the sixties and seventies of the progressive establishment. Revenge is in the air. Governmental populism is its face.