The National Front did well in Sunday’s second round of municipal elections, and is expected to win a double-digit number of towns. Its share of 6.8% of the vote may not sound like much, but that is due to the fact that the party only ran in select communities.
All in all, the party has established itself as the third-strongest force in the French political system.
Take a moment to think about it: in France, one of the EU founding states, here is a party that wants to do away with the euro, exit the bloc’s passport-free Schengen zone and specifically choose French over foreign applicants on the job market. It also wants to make social security payments less attractive to foreigners – actually, the party wants them out of the country altogether.
But there is no outcry in France. It seems the French have already gotten used to the new situation, as if the far-right party were just another normal political force. One of the reasons is that party leader Marine Le Pen worked hard on the party’s image: she turned the bunch of hooligans that made up the National Front under her father Jean-Marie into a presentable party. People are no longer embarrassed to vote National Front.
National Front voters live mainly in regions with high unemployment, in run-down former industrial areas that were skipped over in structural reforms. The country has plenty of regions that fit this description. France is on the decline – and that is noticeable. But there’s always somebody else to blame, according to National Front: globalization, the immigrants, “German” austerity policies in Europe.
Too many of these parties are too different, or too “national.” They and their voters may share a similar basic drift, for instance the opposition to continued European integration and immigration. Other than that, they differ considerably.
The National Front wants to protect people from globalization, while Britain’s UKIP urges free global trade. Geert Wilders – head of PVV – is close to Israel, while other far-right parties are more or less anti-Semitic.
Whether united or standing alone, however, the parties have equal potential to interfere and annoy. They act as mainly a destructive force.
Confident pro-European politicians have two more months to let their arguments sink in, for instance that European consolidation policy is now paying off and that President Putin will hardly be impressed by individual European states – which might be different in the face of an entire continent’s synchronized actions.
For quite some time now, a united Europe has no longer been a matter of course. Sadly, the political elite relied on that assumption for too long. But Europe has very good arguments on its side – politicians just have to make the effort to get them out there.
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France may suffer a dismal economic situation, but even prosperous Germany has a large percentage of people who are plain fed up with their country gradually becoming Islamic. This writer does not get it. He is likely living in a pleasant, upscale neighbourhood with little contact with Islamic immigrants. The ones he does know are a Westernized, non-believing elite.
Forget Putin. The average European is not concerned with Putin. That argument will get him nowhere.
The different parties he speaks of are different largely because of their leaders. It is not easy to find people who want to take on the task on violating the taboos on mass immigration and actually form a political party. They will be relentlessly criticized by the elites like this writer who says they are “destructive.”
Far too many politicians are short-sighted opportunists, happy to enrich themselves by attaching themselves to a major party. Mavericks, especially credible ones, are much harder to find. No wonder they are not all the same.
I note that, except for the argument about Putin, the article is devoid of mentioning even one benefit that flood of Muslims has brought Europe. Possibly that is because it has brought nothing.
Diversity? That buzzword is a vain attempt to make people happy with something unnatural: living in hugely “diverse” societies (in any case, he did not mention it).
In my daily Google email alerts on racism, hate speech, diversity and the like, I have noticed something. These are only problems in diverse societies! So I do not see only the West turning up, I see Malaysia and India too. But the mono-cultural, mono-ethnic states like Saudi Arabia never turn up in my alerts. Funny that.