The ques tion of who makes immig ra tion policy focuses on the rela tion ship between policy actors and outcomes, but is directly related to the constraints within which policy-makers shape policy. While the radical right in Europe has been gener ally isol ated from making policy, with the excep tion, of course, of Austria since 1999, it has, I would argue, been a major force in constrain ing and shaping the way immig ra tion policy was developed in many coun tries in the 1990s. A decade ago, Martin Baldwin-Edwards and I outlined an approach to the polit ics of immig ra tion in which we stressed: ‘how immig ra tion has emerged as a political issue, how the polit ics of immig ra tion have been construc ted, and what have been the consequences of this construc tion for polit ics in Western Europe’ (Baldwin-Edwards and Schain 1994: 1). That volume did not contain a single chapter on the rela tion ship between the radical right and immig ra tion policy, but its influ ence is noted in passing in all of the chapters that deal with specific coun tries (France, Britain, Austria, Germany and Italy). Thus, although ten years ago the impact of the radical right on immig ra tion policy was noted through out, we never integ rated these refer ences into our analyt ical frame work. This contri bu tion is an attempt to deal with that over sight. It appears that the least

examined aspect of the emer gence of the radical right during the past 20 years is its impact on polit ics and policy. I will first develop an approach to under stand impact, and then analyse it in some detail in the context of party devel op ments, where the impact of parties of the radical right are crucial. I will look first at the impact of elect oral break through, then the impact of organ isa tional devel op ment and on party success on its own evol u tion, then policymaking and policy. Although each of these aspects has been examined and analysed in somewhat differ ent ways, my object ive here is to find a way to under stand impact in rela tion to the constraints within which policy-makers shape policy. I will examine both indir ect impact on immig ra tion policy, through the impact on the party system itself, as well as more direct impact, when the radical right actu ally has policy-making capa cit ies. Most of this article is devoted to an analysis of the French National Front (FN), but I will return to implic a tions for compar at ive analysis in the conclu sion. Typically, polit ical parties first gain atten tion not at the moment they are formed, but at

the moment when they achieve an elect oral break through that is suffi cient to have an impact on the vari ation of support within the party system. This devel op ment can be achieved in two ways: through conver sion of voters who had previ ously voted for other polit ical parties, or through mobil isa tion of either new voters or voters who had previ ously been abstain ers. If this break through endures, it can result in an elect oral realign ment within the party system, in the context of a crit ical elec tion or series of elec tions (Burnham 1970; Sundquist

1973; Andersen 1979; Martin 1998: 153-160). Of course, as the French exper i ence amply demon strates, parties that achieve short-term success only infre quently have long-term electoral impact. Nevertheless, even short-term break through can have a signi fic ant impact on public policy if estab lished parties read just their agendas in reac tion to this success. This is the core analysis that was gener ally applied to the impact of radical right parties in our volume ten years ago. Thus, in the initial phase, as voters trans fer their support from other parties, the impact on

the party system is felt most intensely by those parties from which the trans fers take place. For them, the problem is how to recap ture the votes they have lost, and how to prevent further erosion. Discussions tend to focus on the new issues that attrac ted the initial surge of voters to the upstart parties. This was partic u larly true of radical right party emer gence, perhaps because of the shock-effect of the way they developed the immig ra tion issue. At this stage, the trans fer of votes is frequently seen by journ al ists and schol ars alike as a passing ‘protest vote’ – as it was by Dominique Schnapper in 1994, with regard to the FN – by a part of the elect or ate against estab lished parties that have ignored their interests and concerns.1