The National Front by Daniel Dilworth Dec24

The National Front by Daniel Dilworth...

  The past couple of years have seen meteoric rises of the political extremes; we have seen the likes of Syriza (the Greek socialists) ascend to power under Tsipras and more recently a bloc of leftists in Portugal. Simultaneously, the far-right has also gained popularity: many cite the examples of Golden Dawn in Greece, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Nigel Farage’s UKIP in the UK. And amongst these is one of the original “far-right” and “bigoted” and “racist” of all European parties: the infamous Front National in France. The Front National (FN) was founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in the early 1970s as just another small political party. Influenced by the nationalist Action Française, FN gradually moved to its extremest incarnation. Immigration and racism soon became entwined in party doctrine, FN espoused a France where immigrants from North Africa were to be returned to their native lands and immigration from such areas ended.  For many years, FN remained a minor party, seldom troubling the more mainstream parties in France. Le Pen cut a divisive figure, one who could never realistically ascend to the French presidency, a position he coveted.  In 2011, he stood aside and was replaced at the top by his daughter, Marine. Le Pen Senior remained in the shadows witnessing his daughter change the party’s xenophobic image to a much more republican one whereby the traditional secular values were to be defended first and foremost; the previous racism which had been associated with FN was shed. It hung on, and still does. Earlier this year, Marine Le Pen was involved in a spat with her father over his alleged remarks that the Holocaust was a “detail” of World War Two. Marine wanted a retraction but Jean-Marie refused. In the end daughter had to...