Invited by the University of Birmingham Conservatives, controversial backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visited campus on Friday 9th March, speaking about his views on free speech, housing, mental health, Russia and tuition fees to a packed lecture theatre of around 300 students.Written by Erin Santillo & John Wimperis on 16th March 2018
News Analysis: Is The World Going The ‘Right’ Way?
After anti-Trump protests gain support in Birmingham, Tobias Sales offers an analysis on what the rise of the Right means to the wider world
Following recent victories for Right-wing movements in both the Brexit campaign and Donald Trump’s American presidential election victory, it seems a ‘Right revolution’ could be picking up momentum across Europe too.
In a controversial interview aired on The Andrew Marr Show, Marine Le Pen – leader of French far-right group Front National – hailed Donald Trump’s win a ‘sign of hope’, reflective of a major ideological shift in political movements of the future towards right-wing philosophies – and she may be correct. At the start of the new year, Le Pen surged into a lead in early election polls with 26.5 percent of votes. But for those who have kept an eye on the populism shift, this should come as no surprise.
“three-quarters of right-wing participants rated Le Pen as a positive influence on French politics
An opinion poll recently conducted for French news station France 2 found 63% of respondents believed the left-wing is under pressure in France, whilst three-quarters of right-wing participants rated Le Pen as a positive influence on French politics, with this view shared by half of the total respondents, regardless of political affiliation. This is a staggering figure in comparison to the unimpressive 27% who view current president Francois Hollande amiably, with over 70% of respondents in the France 2 survey wanting the liberal president out of French politics.
In June, French newspaper Le Monde polled 20,000 citizens, finding that only 14% of respondents would vote for the leader of the French Socialist Party, Hollande, whilst double would opt for Le Pen, at 28%. In describing her party, Le Pen – who has recently been spotted at Trump Tower in Manhattan – drew similarities to UKIP, stating that there is ‘not a hair’s breadth’ between the pair ideologically; a claim that the interim leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, refutes.
“Polling institution Ipsos MORI predicts Wilders to win 27 out of 150 seats in the election
Meanwhile, in The Netherlands, controversial candidate Geert Wilders leads the Party for Freedom (PVV) who, like Front National, have risen in popularity this year. Polling institution Ipsos MORI predicts Wilders to win 27 out of 150 seats in the election, to be held in March of the new year, which would be enough to see him the victor. The most popular liberal party of Holland, meanwhile, would win slightly less, at 25, according to the same poll.
Other pollsters predict an even larger win for Wilders, with Bloomberg believing the politician could win 36 seats (over 50% more than any rival party), whilst a survey conducted by Peil.nl even pitched a 42 seat win.
The Party for Freedom, which holds a number of controversial policies embedded in their manifesto, some of which have seen leader Wilders banned from entering the United Kingdom.
The PVV believes harsher punishment should be implemented against those committing violence against both Jewish and LGBT communities. Further, Islamic schools would be banned, should Wilders replace liberal Mark Rutte as Prime Minister, as would the Islamic headscarf in public functions.
“‘there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well'
Moreover, the PVV wish to hold a referendum which could result in a Dutch withdrawal from the European Union; a referendum which is supported by over half of the population, a Dutch television channel named Een Vandaag has found. ‘If I become prime minister,’ Wilders has promised, ‘there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well’. ‘Let the Dutch people decide’, he added.
Such movements have also impacted Germany, with news shocking the world in the summer after German Chancellor Angela Merkel lost her seat in Berlin to strictly right-wing group Alternative for Germany (AfD). Like the Dutch Party for Freedom, the AfD possesses a controversial stance on Islam, stating in its manifesto that ‘Islam is not part of Germany’. Shockingly, polls in the country suggest this message could be in line with the population’s opinion too.
In a survey conducted by the Insa Institute for the Bild Newspaper, only 22% of respondents believed Islam – as an ideology – was welcome in Germany, a figure down from 37% just one year earlier. Alternatively, 61% believed Islam did not belong in Germany, up from 47% in 2015.
Such populist, right-wing groups stated above, as well as a plethora gaining popularity across the rest of Europe, all share an aversion to political correctness halting free speech, promote the disbanding of the European Union, and rally for more stringent controls on immigration, especially migrants entering from Eastern countries.
And whether such policies appeal to you or not: all are gaining rapidly in support.
For the Right Revolution, Brexit and Trump may just be the start, as advocates ask for closed borders, and an open mind.