Campaigning for the second round of the French presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy has justified his attempt to reach out to the 18% of the electorate who voted for the Front National, asking rhetorically – “Are 6.5m French people fascists?” One assumes that the answer to that is, clearly, not. And, certainly, watching Le Pen give a speech in Paris last week, I didn’t feel that I was watching the performance of a fascist. A nationalist certainly; a xenophobe, possibly. But we weren’t talking Mussolini or Hitler.
On the other hand, before one dismisses the links between the FN and the extreme right too hastily, it is worth looking at who the Front National regard as their sister parties in Europe. In the case of Britain, it is the British National Party – as this press-release from the BNP makes clear. Read more