Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Telegraph on Friday:

The British National Party is on course to make significant gains in the local elections in England in two weeks time, according to a YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph today.

It shows that seven per cent of voters are ready to back the far-Right party and that 24 per cent have considered voting BNP in the past or are thinking of doing so now.

...the BNP ... displaced the National Front as Britain's main far-Right party in 1982....

The New York Times today:

France's far-right political party, the National Front, has emerged stronger than ever from the civil unrest that has plagued the country in the past six months, a new survey shows, suggesting that the party could play a major role in the presidential election next year.

The National Front's outspoken and vehemently anti-immigration leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has had occasional bursts of support before: four years ago, he made it to the runoff for president, losing to President Jacques Chirac.

But after riots by second-generation immigrant youth last fall, Mr. Le Pen's approval rating in polls surged five percentage points, to 21 percent, according to a survey by IFOP, a French polling institute, published Friday. That is not far behind the approval rating of Mr. Chirac's would-be successor, Dominique de Villepin, the embattled prime minister, whose score slumped to 29 percent this month....

"In such a context, the far right is certain to influence the next national elections," the IFOP study concluded.

I don't know how great the risk is, but I'd be more worried about classic fascism arising in Europe than in the United States -- however racist we've been throughout our history, we have a population that's far more able than most European nations to separate national pride from ethnicity.

I mean that. I actually think Americans accept the notion that anyone can be an American. The dark side of that is that they looked with suspicion on "outsiders" who still speak a foreign language (even if they also speak English) or reject American dress and Christianity and other cultural manifestations, or are in any way "pushy" (i.e., seen to be asking for "special rights" or "handouts"). Still, there's at least a theoretical acceptance of the notion that blood is no barrier to being fully American. (In much of the country, of course, it helps if you're a Republican.)

I don't know when Europeans will begin to psychologically dissociate the notions of ethnicity and full citizenship, if ever; that's what worries me.

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