During the last 20 or so years, a variety of extreme right polit ical parties have leapt to elect oral prom in ence across Western Europe.1 Consider the four most cited examples. The first major break through came in France, when Jean-Marie Le Pen’s FN won 10 per cent of the vote in the 1984 European Parliament elec tions. By 1995 Le Pen was suppor ted by 15 per cent of French people in the first round of the French pres id en tial elec tions. In Italy, the AN (the reborn neo-fascist MSI) won 15 per cent of the vote in the 1994 elec tions, and together with the LN briefly entered govern ment with Silvio Berlusconi’s conser vat ive Forza Italia. In 2001 the same parties again formed an admin is tra tion under Berlusconi. In Austria, the FPÖ won a record 27 per cent of the poll in 1999 and entered govern ment early on in 2000, in coali tion with the conser vat ive ÖVP (although its contro ver sial and media-genic leader, Jörg Haider, was forced to relin quish hopes of imme di ate national office in the face of a wave of inter na tional protest). In Belgium, by 2001 the VB enjoyed the alle gi ance of 33 per cent of voters in its Antwerp heart land, and more like 20 per cent in Flanders as a whole. However, the general European pattern of extrem ist voting is by no means one of ever-growing support – nor is the pattern of such support amen able to simple explan a tion.2