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Far-Rights and Wrongs


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July/August 2010

Geert Wilders's success in the Dutch general election has stumped the British commentariat. Most newspapers went with "Victory for far-Right party". The broadcasters replayed their "What does this tell us about the rise of the far-Right?" tape. "No more than it tells us about the far-Left" should have been the answer. Some readers will recall the late Pim Fortuyn, a man who might not have been assassinated in 2002 had he not been demonised in the media. I have written here before about the near-uselessness of "Left" and "Right" in diagnosing our politics. We might argue exactly when these terms passed their sell-by date. But the place where they first went off was Holland.

Ask your typical sub-editor what he means when he puts "far-Right" in the headline. He's thinking swastikas, right? Big Nazi flags. An esoteric set of accompanying bigotries that vary in focus, if never in tone.
What you don't envisage when you channel that far-Right idea is a philo-Semite with a Jewish grandmother who is opposed to the mistreatment of women and sexual minorities by a male-led ideology bent on global domination. Yet that's Wilders.

Likewise, you couldn't have found a less "far-Right" figure than Fortuyn: a baby-boomer gay college professor who opposed the subjugation of half our species. He didn't fit the "far-Right" bill. But that didn't matter. He was against mass immigration and wanted the country he loved to remain recognisably itself — tolerance included. So despite the non-fitting "far-Right" label, it was the one that stuck with certain people. So one man was persuaded that killing Fortuyn would be stopping the next Hitler. Because that was what the press had told him......(Snip)


Why I like and read Standpoint....they make me think
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