You would have needed to live on a different planet not to have picked up on the sea change that is happening in global politics. Frustrated with years of being ignored or, even more frustratingly being talked down to by generations of politicians, voters have risen up and executed a brutal but bloodless revolution through the ballot box.
Many suggest this started with Brexit, but they’re wrong. The seeds of this truly remarkable uprising were clearly starting to be sown as far back as 2010 when the Five Star Movement in Italy enjoyed moderate success in regional elections.
Meanwhile, in the same year in Hungary, Viktor Orban stormed to electoral success. Very much from the right wing of politics, Orban is ultra-conservative and has been hailed as the “talisman of Europe’s mainstream right.”
Back to Italy and in 2013 the party headed by comedian turned activist turnedmainstream politician Beppe Grillo won over 25 percent of the vote in that year’s general election.
This Euro round up hasn’t even touched on the Netherlands yet, where far-right Geert Wilders has lead his ultra-right party for almost a decade. He is a successful politician who can pursue policies as confrontational as comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf and advocating banning the book in the Netherlands. There’s also the Freedom Party in Austria and Belgium’s Flemish Interest that neatly fit this blueprint.
What unites all the above parties is a common hatred of the ghastly European elite and an avowed opposition to much of the liberal policies they have foisted on the continent. Many openly campaign to bring the whole European Union dream to a speedy and grisly halt. And this is what swung it for the Brexiteers here in the UK.
Again, it was a heartfelt revolt against the free movement of people and the open borders policy that was criminally ushered in under Tony Blair’s Labour government that hugely influenced, if not downright won it, for Vote Leave.
Across the world liberalism is on the back foot and while that is to be celebrated, as with most things in life, it comes with a risk. The millions who turned out earlier this month to put a man with zero political experience but with an untold amount of baggage, into the most powerful job on the planet as President of the United States did so because they were repulsed by another four years of a Clinton White House.
These are people who have, for almost the last three decades, watched a brace of Bushs, two terms of a Clinton and two terms of Obama do absolutely nothing to improve their lives.
They’re through with the promises. They simply don’t believe the peddled hype, and good luck to them.
But, here’s the real concern for a community such as Jewish people living in any of the countries I’ve mentioned. While it is uplifting to see liberalism crash on the rocks of sanity, what must never be allowed to flounder is tolerance. A firm government seeking to look after its own ahead of anyone else is to be applauded, so long as tolerance of all faiths is a fundamental tenet.
The biggest test, and threat for Jewish people, is only months away. The world will be watching as France goes to the polls next April. Marine Le Pen is the daughter of convicted Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen. While she has distanced herself from his lunatic views, just seeing the name Le Pen in connection with the leadership of a nation built on liberty, fraternity and equality initially defies belief.
However, be aware. Stranger things have happened…