DARK FORCES STILL RISING ON THE RIGHT
If you took a quick glance at the news, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the US is the central hub of the alt.right. From a President who gets into petty slagging contests with reporters at news conferences, to online “political tastemakers” peddling absurd – though highly influential – lies, the political landscape is as cartoonish as it is confounding.
What has given the past 12 months an even more sinister feel, though, is the continued metastasising of the movement across the globe. Take for example the Swedish general election that grabbed headlines in September.
The so called 'Sweden Democrats' had been a white nationalist movement in their early years, before re-branding themselves enough to enter parliament for the first time in 2010. Though the party fell short of its own expectations (finishing third), the situation was still huge cause for concern. An 18% share of the vote demonstrated a steady growth in support. Context is important, and unfortunately the far right is enjoying a creeping growth across the continent.
Such things tend not to happen in one fell swoop; the rise of dangerous political movements tends to be gradual. In France, Emmanuel Macron’s election to the presidency last year was a beacon of hope to some. His centre-left values could go some way towards repairing a nation that, socially, was fraying at the seams. Fast forward to now, and Macron’s approval ratings are at a record low, with the slack being largely picked up by far-right poster woman Marine Le Pen (yes, she’s still going).
These examples are reflective of a growing trend across Europe. In Italy, the Lega party continues to make gains, while in Germany, Alternativ fur Deutschland – in a development that made many people’s blood run cold – became the first far-right group to enter parliament since World War II. There have been similar stories in Turkey and Poland.
Further afield, Brazil recently elected the execrable Jair Bolsonaro as president; he once described himself as “homophobic – and very proud of it” and – when acting as a congressman in 2015 – was alleged to have told a female colleague that she was not “worthy” of being raped.
In the context, Peter Casey’s rise to prominence in the Presidential election should be considered a cautionary tale. Posing as a ring-wing populist, he emerged with 23% support. More recently, the arson attack on the hotel in Inishowen, which had been earmarked as a refugee centre confirms that dangerous forces are pushing for edge of the envelope. Clearly, there is no room whatsoever for complacency…
"Brazil recently elected the execrable Jair Bolsonaro as president; he once described himself as 'homophobic – and very proud of it.'"