It's amazing what they do with school programmes these days, Brexit Secretary meets Sebastian Kurz, as the Austrian takes time off from school classes It's amazing what they do with school programmes these days, Brexit Secretary meets Sebastian Kurz, as the Austrian takes time off from school classes

Move over Justin Trudeau, the dashing Canadian Prime Minister, who endeared himself to the tech community when he presented a passable explanation of quantum computing, move over Emmanuel Macron, the even younger French President, who believes in making planet Earth great again, a new youngster is in town. This time, the man in question, Sebastian Kurz, is just 31, a member of the millennial generation, and he is set to be the head of Austria's government, after the Centre Right party, the People's Party, clinches the most votes in the Austrian election.

But like most governments in mainland Europe, the party which won the most seats does not have enough to form a government without a coalition partner; and this time around the partner will be the far right, Freedom Party, a political party founded in the 1950s by former Nazis.

As for Mr Kurz, he may be young, but he already has an impressive list of political achievements to his name. Before the election, he was Austria's Foreign Secretary, and in this capacity he hosted talks between Iran and leading countries including Russia and the US, concerning Iran's nuclear programme.

Even so, for a member of the apparently internationally minded millennial generation. his views seem altogether more in alignment with a more traditional way of thinking. He campaigned on an anti-immigration ticket, indeed as foreign secretary he called for tighter international borders, and was vocal on the subject of controlling political Islam.

His victory marks a surge to the right for his party, but you can see his arguments. There is much disquiet on immigration in Austria and indeed in many countries that have seen pressure from the flow of migrants, many refugees, into Europe.

In the election, he waved the populist flag and has been rewarded. But his coalition partners hold views which are far more extreme.

The People's Party is pro-EU, the Freedom Party is not - so you can see where the cracks in the coalition may form.

But the Austrian election is indicative of a wider trend: we saw it in France with the near victory of Marine Le Pen, in Holland with the near victory of Gert Willders, and in Germany with the showing of the Alternative for Deutschland Party - which has forced even Mrs Merkel to look to the right for support.

But why?

The popular narrative is that rising inequality, the legacy of the 2008 crisis and all that represented in terms of massive rewards to failed bankers has led to the rise of populism.

But a piece in the Spectator, the publication edited by Fraser Nelson, a journalist not exactly known for holding liberal views, suggested that rising inequality has little if anything to do with rising populism. Instead, the motivation of voters who are supporting so called populist agendas has more to do with worries about the threat posed to their culture rather than income.

According to a study conducted by Matthew Goodwin, and colleagues: "In both 2011 and 2016, feelings that British culture is threatened were most closely linked to hostility toward minority groups. This sense of cultural protectionism had the largest effect on explaining hostility towards Muslims."

This begs the question, when does cultural protectionism become racism?