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Europe’s new far right: fear or fantasy?


Europe's new far right: fear or fantasy?

There is widespread concern that a breed of far-right groups are starting to gain acceptance and a purchase among the European public, who are attracted by their ‘populist’ policies. Why is this happening and are there more Breviks on the loose? The edited highlights of this debate are very revealing. It was filmed at the recent Battle of Ideas festival 2012 at the Barbican in London as part of the crisis in Europe debate series. Should we be worried? Let us know.

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Related topics: Debates, Democracy-Brexit, Economy, Global

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Carol said:

I think there is a lot of scare mongering and I agree this is used to tell us we can’t be trusted with the vote or more democracy.

Mijanur said:

As Randolph (the previous poster) has stated, the issues seem to concern political gains rather than economic. I believe that people turn towards these radical parties as a protest vote so that the mainstream parties edge toward more tougher policies. My view is in line to that of Bruno Waterfield who says that he believes that the rise of these parties isn’t down to extremism but rather disenfranchisement resulting from the lack of trust of mainstream parties who are also seen as powerless and just conforming to the EU which is also not trusted by the majority of the populace of the member states.

Randolph Ferry said:

I think the most interesting points in this discussion are the political rather than the socio-economic ones. The idea that the economic crisis kind of determines that there will be a far right response is a kind of aloof, apolitical and slightly lazy way of thinking. More in tune with the reality is to look at the erosion of faith in positive ideas of national identity, say in the post WW2 period, and the fallout from that.

Hitten said:

Superb debate, short and sharply filmed and edited. I think Bruno Waterfield’s point was the best and most important. And that is, that the most worrying part of this debate about the seeming rise of a far right is seeing, as many do, that the end point of human interaction when pushed to extremes is violence and this justifies counter measures against democracy as of-course democracy with all its conflicts and contrasting views, needs to be contained. I can see it in the UK, laws where people are put in prison for wearing t-shirts saying F off to the police or saying twatty things on twitter. Really got me going this debate.

JJR said:

Excellent intelligent and well informed researched speakers and no I’m not fearful of far right groups or populism in answer to your question. I do think we have to understand it though and the point about alienation, break down of social solidarity would seem important here rather than putting it all down to reactions to recession as is common.

Eliza Townsend said:

Agree this is a really informative and lively short well made. thank you. I am unsure on the points made about Brevik though. I know its not a pathological thing that is obvious, but hasn’t the point been missed that he too was in some ways a product of multi-culturalism and the bigging up of ideas of difference as opposed to a universalist outlook?

Shona B said:

No I don’t think we should be worried although we shouldn’t pander to far right rubbish either, I do agree with Bruno Waterfield that the elites have done far more to damage democracy and yes the fear of the far right can be more damaging than the far right itself if this means bans and censorship and anti democratic measures. Good point too that this is not driven by immigration but on breakdown of ideas about national identity in 60’s.

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