Saturday, 26 March 2011

Marine Le Pen's Front National continues to set the pace in French politics, with the establishment parties and media struggling to respond. Notice in the clip that the FN voter they found says he might easily have voted for the far left as a protest vote instead of the "far right". Of course this isn't typical. It's amusing to see the establishment media attempt to explain away the surge in support for the FN as a protest vote, a reaction to economic difficulties, fear of the consequences of the Arab revolts or the product of disillusion with the establishment parties. They are willing to talk up any plausible-sounding interpretation except the elephant in the room: that the French people don't want their country to be turned into an Islamic republic.

The events of the past week make it completely clear, however, that anti-Islam politics in France have been mainstreamed in a way that is inconceivable in Britain, not just through the levels of support the Front National has achieved, but in the statements and actions of establishment parties as they struggle to respond to the FN surge. UMP Interior Minister Clause has been banging the anti-Islam drum all week, referring to the action in Libya as a "crusade", saying the French people feel like strangers in their own country because of immigration, proposing to ban those wearing religious symbols from access to public services and preparing a code on secularism that will supposedly ban the "street prayers" that have disconcerted the French public.

The much-heralded "debate on secularism" within the UMP is due to start in April. Leader of the Socialist party, Martine Aubry, had put her name to a petition calling for the debate to be cancelled. She later withdrew her name, however, after learning that Tariq Ramadan, a jihad strategist resident in Switzerland who is descended from the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, had signed it. I have previously written about Tariq Ramadan on my StopTurkey site. He is skilled in appropriating the standard rhetoric of the European left and harnessing it to the cause of Islam and has been fairly successful in presenting himself as a part of Europe's left-wing intelligensia (sic) rather than an alien outsider. It is interesting, therefore, that the Tariq Ramadan brand has become so toxic in France that the leader of the Socialist party now recoils from him in this way. Most likely this is due to the work of journalist Caroline Fourest, who wrote an expose of Ramadan called "Brother Tariq". Tariq Ramadan is still regarded as a credible figure in Britain, however, where he occasionally writes for the Guardian and is invited to book festivals and the like. The French left still has some reserves of moral maturity vis-a-vis Islam which are, alas, completely absent in the British left, most likely due to the pernicious influence of the Guardian newspaper which has completely capitulated to Islam.

There has been some discussion that the UMP itself may break up. The UMP is actually an umbrella group rather than a single, cohesive party. Some of the more centrist of the micro-parties that comprise it are not happy about the populist, anti-Islam gestures Sarkozy has been making recently and there is talk that Jean-Louis Borloo, leader of the badly misnamed Radical Party, may quit UMP and make an independent run for the presidency. This would certainly shake things up in an interesting way. Without their electoral support, Sarkozy's prospects of reaching the second round of the presidential election would be even dimmer than they are now; on the other hand, without the dead weight of the centrists holding them back, it may be possible to envisage a new political alliance comprising the Front National and what remains of the UMP.


Johnny Rottenborough said...

You may be aware of this already: a video where Tariq Ramadan prays, ‘Allah, strike our enemies, Your enemies, the enemies of the religion [Islam].’

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

Thanks for that. I hadn't seen that before. I'll add it to my page on him.

I had a look at Cranmer btw. Can't say I was really impressed, either by his pretentious writing style or his pompous indignation about the BNP.

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