Neither is obviously scary. That is the most scary thing about them. In different ways, they represent a scary new kind of reasonable extremism.
But Daddy, which one scares the political establishment most: Ukip in Britain or the National Front in France?
They have both had a wonderful week. Nigel Farage won the first European Union debate with Nick Clegg, according to the polls. Marine Le Pen’s National Front had its best local election results in France last Sunday.
Her father’s anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-European, anti-American party has been successfully “relooké” by Marine. (Relooker means “to renovate cosmetically”.) She could win six town halls in the second round today.
Are they so different?
Yes. Ukip and the NF both want to destroy the European Union. Both oppose immigration. Both believe that the nation is the only legitimate expression of the democratic will of the people. Both are admirers of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
In other ways, they are very different. Farage’s Ukip believes that Britain is so strong that we would thrive in the 21st-century world of global markets if we threw off the ball and chain of the legally enforceable single European market. Le Pen’s NF believes France is too weak to compete within the EU or in global markets. It wants a protective wall around France.
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