27th April 2016
The media like to present the ‘European far right’ as being much more than they are. Aren’t they all racists, sexists, homophobes? Don’t they hate all things European?
Here’s what ‘far right’ looks like: Women are second-rate citizens. LGBT individuals are not even afforded citizenship. The state provides no means for judicial representation, it does not supply healthcare, parents must pay outright for their child’s education. Immigration is kept at such a low rate as to preserve a country as primarily one race, one language, one culture. The only people who like the French are the French and the only people who want anything to do with the British are the British. Anyone who does not match this description is ascribed a second-rate status, perhaps even is mistreated by the state simply for being different. It is interesting just how many countries and party platforms around the world actually do look like this.
The European ‘far right’ don’t want anything like that. Not even close. What they want is adequate representation of the people’s best interests. What the European ‘far right’ actually are, is the new strong centre ground of conservatism. This political earthquake is taking place across Europe – not least marked by the recent Austrian presidential election run-offs, which saw ‘far right’ (ahem, centre-right) candidate, Norbert Hofer, poll in first place. Some polls put the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in first place in France. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders finds himself polling as high as 26%. And of course, UKIP found themselves taking four million votes in the UK’s 2015 general election.
The fact is that this position is not an extreme one, it is not a racist one. Belief in controlling our borders, in slowing the rate of migration into the UK, is not radical. It is logical. Our public services – the NHS, housing, education – are severely overstretched as a result of migration and of abuse of the system. English language, the cornerstone of British society, is being used on our streets less and less. Being concerned about these things is not radical or racist – it is perfectly normal. Polls show that populations throughout Europe are concerned about these issues. Are they all racist people from the so-called ‘far right’?
It should be clear then, that European groups like Europe of Nations and Freedom, Finns Party, Swedish Democrats, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy or even the Danish People’s Party and Alternative for Germany who sit with the Tories in the European Parliament, are not far right. Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders are not ‘far right’. These are the new Conservatives as a replacement for the traditional, mainstream right wing parties which have abandoned their core vote and moved to the centre. Since immigration is something about which we should have genuine discussion, we have to ask why these parties are branded racist. It’s slanderous to call these groups racist when they are distinctly not so.
As Roger Boyes says in The Times today, the Eurosceptics of the United Kingdom are rushing to oppose the arrival of Marine Le Pen in Britain for the UK referendum campaign. Whether Marine comes or not, the Eurosceptics have nothing to fear from her. The fact is simply that Eurosceptics and Marine Le Pen want the same thing – Britain to leave the EU. Since Marine is not racist, ‘far right’ or ultranationalist, it is hard to understand why they are so afraid of the French politician’s helping hand in the referendum debate. This intervention – this assistance offered to us by our European colleagues, should be welcomed. It proves that we are not ‘little Britain’ wrongly thinking we are larger than the shoes the EU has forced upon us; it proves that the EU is a problem for all of Europe.
The left have unfortunately done a fantastic job of branding logical, effective, right-of-centre discussions on the economy, immigration and the EU as ‘far right’. And the mainstream media have lapped it up.