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The Rise of the Far Right in Europe 2024

The far right surge did not happen in the Irish local elections, because there were not many far right candidates. 'They dared beyond their power, they risked beyond reason, never losing hope in suffering,' Thucydides. Most media and political groups label anyone who goes against their leftists agenda as far right. The dictatorial force of the far left is what the electorate really needs to worry about. Reminding us of Cavafy 'Waiting for The Barbarians.'

The election returned the old guard, the old centrist parties were expected to perform poorly with Sinn Fein expected to do well. The gap between expectation and results creates political energy, this energy can swing in any direction.

The South African ANC and India's BJP did badly but the electorate created a new dynamic with coalitions allowing them to remain in power. In the EU 25% of voters voted for an anti-establishment nationalist ideal. In Germany, the AfD secured 15% of the vote; Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia secured 29% of the vote; France, Le Pen's Rassemblement National claimed 31% of the vote, double that of Macron's Renaissance Party. Macron called a snap election to clear this impasse to ensure French people can reduce the far right vote. This may divide the parliament from the presidency, the French protest vote at the EU elections will not be repeated with his appeal to the grand coalition of centre right and left to protect the republic. How could rabble rousers appeal to voters? The disruption to Dutch politics with a Far Right leader failing to form a government for 7 months is evidence of a movement based on protest and vacillation.

Populists are gaining ground in Europe. Economically, the European right is a big government movement, demanding higher taxes, more social protection, more government spending, more protection from China. Protectionism for a small country needing to trade with far larger countries would limit economic growth. Globalisation fulfilled this need, any move to protectionism and tariffs would limit economic growth.

Today, in Europe, political dynamism is with the populist right. Far right are fascists, far left are communists. Misled by the plausible; deceived by the self deceiving; impressed by the second rate, where are we going?

Europe now resembles the 1930s, how did Hitler, a neurotic nonentity, come to power? Appeasement, von Papen expected that if Hitler was appointed Kanzler they could control him, within one year Hitler became the dangerous autocrat. The existential threat from Russia with election interference and Donny from Queens' chaos is ever present.

Source: Irish Times, June 2024; Cavafy,Greek poet:- Waiting for the Barbarians, Thucydides.


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