Songbirds flitted among the redbud trees. The wind tickled yellow flowers in fields of rapeseed. The medieval church clock clanged on the hour.
Otherwise all was still in this one-boulangerie town in the French countryside when Marine Le Pen strode to the lectern and, with the unwavering force of a freight train, vowed to save the country on behalf of its forgotten young.
“Our youth are in despair,” the 48-year-old thundered. “I will be the voice of the voiceless.” (more…)
Marine Le Pen’s chances of defeating establishment favourite Emmanuel Macron appear to be improving.
The latest IFOP poll has Le Pen trailing 42% versus 58% in a hypothetical match-up, the highest they have ever had her in such an election.
But if you drill a little into the numbers, Macron’s support is far more vulnerable. 33% of those currently planning to vote for him still say that they could change their mind.
It is a stark contrast to Le Pen’s support base, with 87% committing to vote for her no matter what now.
Also key will be how other vote bases redistribute after the first round of the electoral contest. Conservative Francois Fillon’s current supporters break almost evenly, with 34% backing Le Pen and 37% who would vote for Macron.
This is a contest growing tighter by the week. If the establishment lose in France, the EU is finished.
Just a few years ago, it was hard to find students willing to admit to being National Front cardholders. When a journalist went looking for members of the FNJ youth movement during the last presidential election campaign, most would agree to speak only if their names were withheld.
Five years on, young activists supporting Marine Le Pen’s election bid say they no longer have anything to hide, as she cruises to an expected first place showing in the first round next month. (more…)
MARINE LE PEN has dealt a crippling blow to the European Union by promising she will hold a referendum to decide whether France remains in the Union if she becomes president.
The president of the National Front, a right-wing Eurosceptic party, issued the warning to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission after branding his state of the Union speech to MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, “insipid”.
Expressing his “regret” at the historical Brexit vote, Mr Juncker insisted the EU is “not at risk”. (more…)
PARIS — The terror attacks in Paris earlier this month left the nation reeling and the government struggling to respond, but it has also offered a political windfall to Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, France’s far-right political party.
“This all plays in her favor,” said Nonna Mayer, head of research at France’s National Center for Scientific Research. “For years she has been hammering about the dangers of immigration, saying France could not welcome flows of refugees that are potential terrorists.”
“The attacks reinforced what she says about the fear of terrorism, the association between Islam and terrorism,” said Ms. Mayer. “Fear is highly efficient in raising the ratings of the National Front.”
National Front candidates are now leading among the handful of parties on local ballots in France. A TNS Sofres opinion survey on Wednesday forecast that the party would garner 29 percent of the votes in the first round of local elections on Dec. 6.
The National Front is now on track to control the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie and the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine regions in northern France and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south. But while they would represent significant gains, the gains are not seen here as true stepping stones to the party’s ultimate goal: winning the presidency in 2017, when Mr. Hollande’s term is up.
But success in the local elections could foretell more gains if trends continue. Ms. Le Pen won around 18 percent of the vote in the last French presidential elections three years ago. Last year, however, the National Front won the most seats in European parliamentary elections, where turnout is often lower and the more committed National Front voters can make a difference.
Poland will refuse to take in refugees allocated to it under a European Union programme meant to share responsibility among the body’s 28 member states in the midst of this year’s border crisis.
The country’s incoming European affairs minister Konrad Szymanski, elected last month when his right-wing Law and Justice Party won over a third of the vote, wrote an article on Saturday about the “tragic” events in Paris last night.
“The European Council’s decisions on the relocation of refugees and immigrants to all EU countries, which we criticised, are part of European law,” Szymanski wrote.
“After the tragic events of Paris we do not see the political possibility of respecting them.”
Poland had previously agreed to take in 4,500 refugees under the plan.
A French far-right leader on Saturday also used referenced a need to “recapture control of [France's] borders” in the aftermath of the attacks.
Marine Le Pen, who heads the National Front and yesterday topped a presidential poll ahead of elections in 2017, spoke on French television, saying:
“France must determine who its friends are and who its enemies are. France’s enemies are those who maintain links with Islamism.
“Once and for all, France must recapture control of its borders.”
An estimated 1.5 million immigrants and refugees will arrive in Europe this year, and the inundation is driving Europe to the anti-immigrant right in election after election.
The recently ousted Prime Minister implores Europe to follow Australia’s lead and bar asylum seekers from entering.
For several years, the Canadian author Mark Steyn has been starkly pessimistic about Europe. He recently travelled to Europe to see what the immigration influx looked like. He began in Sweden, the most generous country to immigrants in Europe, and had barely arrived when he had an encounter, described on his website on September 29:
“I was looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the peace and quiet of Scandinavian First Class. But, just as I took my seat and settled in, a gaggle of ‘refugees’ swarmed in, young bearded men and a smaller number of covered women, the lads shooing away those first-class ticket holders not as nimble in securing their seats…
“They seemed to take it for granted that asylum in Europe should come with complimentary first-class travel … The conductor gave a shrug, the great universal shorthand for there’s-nothing-I-can do.”
What Europeans can do is vote, and, in the wake of more than a million immigrants arriving this year, their voting is showing a clear pattern:
Britain. In the general election of May 7, by far the biggest increase in votes since the 2010 election went to the UK Independence Party, up from 867,000 votes (3.5 per cent), to 3.9 million votes (12.7 per cent). UKIP is now the third force in English politics.
France. Opinion polls show that the most supported politician in France is now Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-European Union party. In national provincial elections in March, the National Front polled the second-highest number of votes, 25 per cent, behind the centre-right UMP, with 30 per cent. Their combined vote routed France’s socialist parties. Le Pen will seek the presidency in 2017.
Denmark. In the national election on June 8, Denmark swung right and the Social Democrats lost power. The anti-Muslim Danish People’s Party surged from 22 seats to 37, while the conservative Venstre party won the highest number of seats, 47, and formed government.
Netherlands. In the months since the immigrant influx, Holland’s most strident critic of Islam, Geert Wilders, has become the country’s most popular leader. His Party for Freedom (PVV), has polled an average 33.5 per cent in recent opinion polls, far more than any other party.
Switzerland. In the national election on October 20, the anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party won the largest vote, with 29.4 per cent, a record for the party, giving it 65 seats in the 200-seat National Council. Coupled with a swing to the conservative Free Democratic Party, which finished third, Switzerland made a decisive tilt to the right.
Poland. Last Sunday, Poland turned right in the national election. The Law and Justice Party, which is anti-immigration, anti-Euro and sceptical of the European Union, won 39 per cent of the vote and formed government.
Austria. In the Styrian state election on May 31, the hard-line anti-immigration, anti-Muslim Freedom Party of Austria won a 16 per cent swing, to 27 per cent, just behind the first-placed Social Democrats.
Italy did elect a liberal president this year, but the country is still scarred by the excesses of the right-wing president Silvio Berlusconi. In Spain’s regional elections, the left made big gains, but the right was in power during a recession.
What is driving the general lurch to the right is fear, a fear of rapid demographic change, high welfare costs, higher unemployment and declining social cohesion.
The epicentre of tension is Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her government would accept 800,000 refugees from Syria this year alone. The subsequent inundation, with the majority of arrivals not Syrian, forced Germany to try to rescind its promise.
Too late. More than 500 arson attacks have occurred in Germany this year targeting housing designated for refugees.
In Cologne last weekend, the mayor, Henriette Reker, a pro-immigration politician, survived an assassination attempt. She was severely wounded in a knife attack by an anti-immigration assailant.
Crime flows both ways. A confidential police report leaked to a German newspaper revealed that 38,000 asylum-seekers in Germany were charged with crimes in 2014.
Police are now urging segregation in immigration shelters, with numerous media reports of violence between Sunnis and Shiites, and intimidation and rapes by Muslims of Christians.
In Munich, a German doctor recently posted a warning online that went viral: “The situation here and at other Munich hospitals is unsustainable … Many Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff… Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.”
I began with Mark Steyn and I’ll conclude with his prediction, published on September 24, that what is happening in Europe is an invasion, not an influx:
“The trains pull into German stations to disgorge men who meet no known definition of “refugees”… and who, according to the UN, make up 75 per cent of the “refugees” … Only one in five … are Syrians fleeing the implosion of their country…”
“[It is] the ruthless demographic logic of what happens when an impoverished tide of humanity [is] next door to a depopulating, not-so-gated community of soft decadent poseurs … Angela Merkel has given a generation of young men … their battle cry. And the lesson of this month is that no one will stop them.”
This encapsulates a growing view in Europe from which you may recoil, as it contrasts starkly with the liberal belief that the West has a moral obligation to help the wretched.
I doubt the liberal view will prevail. The dots are starting to connect. They point to a gathering storm, building on millions of small indignities and disappointments which, over time, will add up to something large.
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