They are cynical about human rights. They don’t like immigrants or the European Union. They want the state to be strong and “defence”, generally, to mean attack. They are, basically, the racist grandad who is going to spoil your Christmas.
These are the people pollsters have labelled “authoritarian populists” and according to YouGov there’s a lot of them. Forty eight per cent of Brits surveyed exhibit some or all of these traits, according to evidence presented by the YouGov Centre Cambridge last week.
As a framing device for what’s happening – with Trump, Brexit and Le Pen in France – the idea is seductive. When Reagan and Thatcher came to power, “authoritarian populism” was a term academics used to describe their politics. Now it’s a phenomenon, growing rapidly, cutting across old definitions of left and right, goes the argument.