Friday, April 26, 2002

No, Le Pen's not one of the nice guys

What is The meaning of Le Pen asked Justin Raimondo, and the answer? Market nationalism in France.

Justin has been pointing to various up and coming politicians and pointing out that they are democratic nationalists with sane ideas on economics. Kostunica in Serbia, Koizumi in Japan, Berlusconi in Italy and Haider in Austria. These are not baby eating monsters, and Justin's thesis that these are a new and positive force is usually spot on. But why should Le Pen be included with the good guys? I think that Justin may have uncharecteristicly called it wrong.

Well, perhaps that's taking things a bit too far.

Justin points out that Le Pen's political roots are in the Poujadist tax revolt. This doesn't mean that he is simply a free marketeer with a bee in his bonnet about immigrants. One must remember that he became an MP for the Poujadistes in his twenties. The Poujadistes were a spontaneous movement that came together in a hurry, this was not a long established party with a "fast stream" for up and coming young ambitious politicos.

A movement like this would be stuffed full of provincial businessmen and other pillars of the community. In short, the last place you would find France's youngest ever MP.

I would suggest that Le Pen must have had some sort of history. In his interview with the Spectator he says that he joined the resistance at sixteen. This may be true or it may be false, but it indicates someone who took an early interest in politics. He also became the leader of the radical-right students at Paris University, at a time and a place where radical right did not mean reading tracts on the privatisation of money.

Justin makes a lot of his views on cutting taxes, but says little on his ideas for increasing public spending. Could this indicate that Le Pen is more of a populist who never expects to get in?

He was also convicted for singing Nazi songs in the 1970s. Could this also tell us something. As would his calls for enforcing "national preference in the employment market".

So while the Poujadist connection certainly tells us that Le Pen can't be explained away as a simple fascist, he can't be explained away as a Gallic libertarian either.

While I think that the result is welcome because "it throws a dirty big rock in the European pool"; I don't want this chap - or his would be immitators in the BNP - ruling here. They are not market nationalists, they are something a great deal more frightening.


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