Friday, May 17, 2002

Sense in strange places

Someone else notices the BBC's racist slur, and condemn it. And it's the Guardian!

Conversely, the patronising dismissal, in some quarters, of Joao Varela, a possible future leader, as the LPF's "token black" indicates how the path to an equal, respectful, variegated society at peace with itself remains long and hard.

They don't point out that one of these quarters is the Beeb.

They also come out with some real sense on the "rise of the right":

The real problem lies not with these parties themselves but with the way in which they are allowed to hijack crucial but neglected issues that they then proceed to distort and exploit. If there is a message here for Europe as a whole, it is that mainstream politicians of left and right must plug in now, without delay, and humbly, to the corrosive questions of race, immigration, anti-semitism and social fairness in all its myriad aspects. This is hard work, too often shirked. It is not as exciting as fighting foreign wars or conjuring visions of Europe's future constitutional architecture. But to perpetuate the current failure to connect at ground level will be to court more near-misses as in the Netherlands, France and Austria and risk, somewhere, some place, sooner or later, a definitive, nightmare triumph for an extremist party dedicated to division.

Working class alienation is the real cause of the rise of the right, at least in France, the Netherlands and (on a smaller scale) Britain. The working class will need to be re-engaged with politics and the Libertarian right may be able to re-engage them if they recognise the souring role that the white-collar public sector has played here. Better than screaming "Don't Vote Nazi".


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