Words are important. Indeed, it may be said that language is what makes us human. From the philosophical musings of Socrates in Classical Athens to the information overload on the internet today, words have helped us to understand the world around us. Unfortunately, too many words have been hijacked and made to serve a different purpose. Words become cudgels with which to beat opponents, labels with which to smear enemies. Amongst the favoured insults of our times are “racist,” “Islamophobe” (or any other term ending in “phobe’) and “misogynist.” But the king of insults to the pseudo-liberals and faux-leftists who dominate so much of the media is “far right.”
The BBC is particularly fond of labelling people, organisations and even ideas as “far right” and the Guardian is not far behind. It has become a catch-all term to mean anything the person using it wants it to mean. Donald Trump, UKIP and any European political party that doesn’t bow down to the imperial incompetents of Brussels are routinely castigated as “far right.” But in recent times the label has most commonly been applied to Marine Le Pen and the French Front National.
Some of the media are wetting themselves over Emmanuel Macron, the Tintin lookalike who is to face Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election on May 7th. Whilst Le Pen is always described as “far right” Macron is usually referred to as a “centrist.” But how accurate are these labels, particularly in terms of economic policy?
“Centrist” Macron is Establishment through and through. He attended both Sciences-Po and the École national d’administration and he was a minister in President François Hollande’s government. Before his time as a minister, he was an investment banker. His economic policies are the usual round of neoliberal, pro-EU garbage that has dominated British politics since the Callaghan Labour government’s economic U-turn of 1976. Macron wants to cut corporate taxes, slash public spending and fire up to 120,000 public sector workers. He wants to embrace globalisation and free trade – code words for cutting wages and moving production to cheaper countries. This is not “centrist” economic policy, it is right-wing nonsense that the Daily Mail would support.
Le Pen, the “far right” candidate wants cut taxes for the poorest French people and protect the 35 hour week and lower the retirement age. She also wants to put higher taxes on companies that outsource jobs abroad. If the BBC and Guardian were really the “liberals” they claim to be and were presented with the two sets of policies above without knowing their provenance, I’m pretty sure I know which one they would support.
I am no fan of the Front National and Le Pen herself is almost as Establishment as Macron. She is an MEP and regional councilor who has been implicated in the misuse of public funds. Her clumsy remarks about the Vichy government’s deportation of French Jews suggests her party has not rid itself of the anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial that her father and predecessor as Front National leader, Jean Marie Le Pen, was notorious for. It is also clear that there are a number of FN members and voters who are racially prejudiced against French citizens of non-European descent. It is this I would argue that upsets the BBC-Guardianistas who run the UK media so much. Le Pen and her party, along with all the other people who are smeared as “far right,” commit the two unforgivable secular sins of our age; they don’t love the neoliberal economic order epitomised by the corrupt and incompetent EU and they refuse to buy into the “Muslim victim” narrative so beloved of the faux-left and their Islamist allies.
The real “far right” of our times are the Islamists who are making life a misery for people across the globe. Islamists are authoritarian, misogynist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay. They glory in violence and hold democratic values in contempt. There also appears to be a deeply unpleasant strain of Arab racial supremacism in Islamism and the ongoing “Arabisation” of Islam appears to be at odds with more folk-based and, dare I say, tolerant versions of Islam in South Asia and Indonesia. This is a “far right” even fascist ideology. And if denying the Holocaust like Le Pen senior makes you “far right” then what of the Islamist president of Turkey and his constant denial of the Armenian Genocide?
By all means oppose Le Pen and her unpleasant party for their incoherence, their corruption and, yes, their racism. But if Le Pen is “far right” so is President Erdogan of Turkey, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Anjem Chouhary and all the Toytown dictators and wannabe jihadists who crawl out from under their stones when one of their co-religionists / fellow religious fascists goes on a killing spree in yet another Western city to pollute the airwaves with their disgusting “Islamophobia” narrative.
Vive Melenchon in 2022!