Over the last few years Europe has seen a huge rise in nationalism movements. Political parties such as UKIP in the UK, the National Front Party in France and the Party for Freedom in Holland have all gained a lot of support.
Marine Le Pen, who is the leader of the National Front Party in France, has been making huge gains in her bid to become the next President. She holds strong opinions against immigration, the EU and at a recent speech said that if elected would grant an in-out referendum, like the UK, and remove France from the Euro currency to reinstall the Franc.
With these major commitments in her manifesto she has caught the attention on the public and press. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, ran the National Front Party as President for 39 years before Marine succeeded him.
Jean-Marie has been charged with inciting racial hatred and racism at least six times as well as being fined and tried in a German court for Holocaust denial. I’m definitely not saying that anyone should be judged on their parents actions but when you follow in the direct footsteps of one of them then it is information that must be brought forward.
At the National Front Party convention six days ago she outlined her 144 commitments if she were to become President. Some of which would turn the country completely on its head.
France, like the UK, has a proud history of diversity. Due to the French and British empires there has been mass migration from all over the world. For France their colonies were more based in Africa and therefore have many migrants from countries like the Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Marine Le Pen would like to deport these people back to the lands that were stolen from them by the French in the first place. She plans to make sure that children of immigrants born in France cannot become French citizens, a default right at the moment.
Le Pen has also committed to spending more on welfare, cutting taxes, building new-bigger prisons, employing more prison staff and levying taxes on foreign workers.
That is not it.
She wants to withdraw from NATO, deport those suspected but not proved of terror links and close Mosques also suspected, but not proved, of teaching radical Islam.
The leap between someone closing your Mosque and deporting you without proof to a country you do not know and radicalization is not a big one. It is not a connection that many ‘patriots’ can see.
Watching her speak with such conviction about immigration and the problems the country faces will sway many. The terror attacks on France in the last couple of years has left it feeling fragile and afraid. It is hurt but when you are down after such tragedies, poor decisions are usually made.
If France were to leave the EU there would be snap elections across Europe. It would open the whole entity up to implode onto itself. Her removal of the Euro and switching back to the Franc would send shock-waves through the European economic system and the Euro would plummet against every other currency as investors flee.
Opinion polls cited by Reuters have Le Pen winning the next round of elections but then losing the decisive one on May 7. Then again, polls had Clinton winning and Brexit not happening.
May 7 could be another turning point in the history of France. It could see the dismantling of the EU, a major arms manufacturer leave NATO, the reminiscent rounding up of immigrants and those of a specific faith .
If we the public continue to fear the different, the ‘abnormal’ then people like Farage, Trump and Le Pen are the result. We must resist the urge to act on impulse and listen to those that want to segregate instead of unify.
I hope for the sake of France that anyone except Le Pen is elected because the reality of her being elected is too much to stomach.
feature image http://english.almanar.com.lb/180123