Old gang parties unite to block Le Pen – but most French voters boycott election

Next year’s election still seems likely to end in a run-off between President Emmanuel Macron (above left) and Marine Le Pen, but both suffered disappointing results yesterday.

The second round of the French regional elections yesterday ended in disappointment for Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN – successor to the French National Front founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen), but disaster for President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘centrist’ party En Marche.

Mme Le Pen had hoped her party might gain control of a region so as to demonstrate its capacity to govern, ahead of next year’s presidential election when she expects to be Macron’s main challenger.

Her main target was the southern region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA), a traditionally strong area both for the RN and in earlier years for the FN. The RN list was headed by Thierry Mariani, who was transport minister a decade ago in the conservative government of Prime Minister Fillon and President Sarkozy and has been the highest profile defector from the centre-right to Mme Le Pen’s ranks.

In last Sunday’s first round, this RN list was narrowly ahead by 36.4% to 31.9%, with the largest of the leftist-green slates on 16.9%. This meant that the latter slate had the right to contest the second round (which is not simply a run-off between the two largest parties, but can be joined by any list that polled above 10% in the first round).

However in a move showing that despite the Le Pen strategy of dédiabolisation (‘de-demonisation’) the RN is still regarded by its opponents as a ‘far right’ / ‘fascist’ threat, the left decided to withdraw from PACA’s second round and endorse the conservative ‘centre right’ slate, headed by incumbent regional president Reynaud Muselier.

This despite the fact that Mme Le Pen is far close to the traditional left than the ‘centre right’ on economic policy. Her party duly lost the PACA second round by 57% to 43%. This was slightly down from the 45.2% achieved by the RN slate (then headed by the leader’s niece Marion Maréchal) in this region six years ago.

Sébastien Chenu (above left) – former head of the LGBT wing of the French centre-right conservative party – was one of several leading conservatives to defect to Marine Le Pen’s RN and headed her slate in the party’s second strongest region, but finished a distant runner-up yesterday.

Potentially good news for Mme Le Pen is that only 34% of the PACA electorate turned out to cast a valid vote yesterday, in line with mass abstention nationwide. In particular, despite calls for a ‘republican front’ against the RN ‘fascists’, 90% of voters under 25 seem to have boycotted the election. Not only did they refuse to turn out to block the ‘far right’ in this second round – they weren’t even interested in the first round, when a vast range of alternatives, from Trotskyists to traditional conservatives, and including different varieties of green, were on the ballot.

Yet it must remain disturbing for the RN leader that although the French government is widely perceived to have failed during the Covid crisis – there is no Boris-style ‘bounce’ for Macron – and despite all her efforts to make her party seem less ‘extreme’, she remains unable to breakthrough to a wider public than the people who have supported her for much of the past decade.

Perhaps as for racial nationalist parties and groups across much of the White world, the RN has been unable to develop a clear message during Covid, with some favouring a version of anti-lockdown or even anti-vaccination theories, while others wanted to maintain a focus on our movement’s traditional issues and criticising (where appropriate) government inefficiency and cronyism in the face of the pandemic.

In the RN’s second-strongest area Hauts-de-France they made almost no progress, from 24.4% in the first round to 25.7% in the second (compared to 42.2% in the equivalent region in 2015, when Marine Le Pen herself headed the slate); in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (one of four mainland regions won by left-green coalitions) the RN slipped from second to third place with 23.8%; while in Brittany (also one by socialists and greens) the RN vote fell from 14.3% in the first round to 13.2% in the second.

President Macron’s party En Marche failed to win a single region, and in several regions polled below 10%.

No breakthrough for Le Pen in low turnout French elections

Next year’s election will be Marine Le Pen’s third attempt to win the French presidency

Yesterday’s regional elections in France were preceded by customary liberal media scare stories about likely breakthrough for a ‘resurgent far right’. Yet the first round results – while undeniably bad news for President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘centrist’ party La République en marche (LREM) – were not a great success for Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (National Rally – the renamed National Front).

Turnout fell to less than 34%, indicating that the Macron government (unlike Boris Johnson’s UK government so far) is seen as having failed the nation during Covid – yet voters have not swung behind the RN opposition.

The main winners of the first round were ‘centre-right’ conservatives, though next year’s presidential election is still almost certain to end in a choice between Macron and Mme Le Pen.

There are thirteen regional councils governing mainland France (the most important tier below the republic’s national government), plus five overseas. Voters in these regions choose among party lists in a two-round system. To qualify for the second round a list must poll 10% in the first: having done so, it can then fight the second round either by itself or on a combined ticket which can be joined by any other list that polled over 5% in the first round.

As part of Marine Le Pen’s strategy of dédiabolisation to win respectability for her party, it would be important to win control of a region and demonstrate that the RN is capable of holding serious political responsibility.

Her best chance is in the traditional FN/RN stronghold known as PACA – the southern region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Here the RN list is headed by Thierry Mariani, who was transport minister a decade ago in the conservative government of Prime Minister Fillon and President Sarkozy.

Mariani leads a right-wing conservative faction that broke away to ally with Le Pen in 2019 – one of the big successes of her dédiabolisation strategy. Yesterday RN’s list in this region ‘won’ the first round with 36.4%, but was not far ahead of the centre-right conservative list (backed in this region by the President’s party LREM) on 31.9%. A socialist-green list with 16.9% also has the option of contesting next Sunday’s second round and can expect support from a range of smaller green and left-wing parties knocked out in the first round, but despite Mariani’s ‘respectability’ there is likely to be some swing of ‘anti-fascist’ voters behind the conservatives.

Xavier Bertrand is set for re-election as regional president of Hauts-de-France, a boost to his ambition to become conservative presidential candidate next year.

Marine Le Pen’s home region Nord Pas-de-Calais was merged with Picardy in the restructuring of French regions a decade ago and now forms part of Hauts-de-France. Here Sébastien Chenu, one of several open homosexuals among Mme Le Pen’s party leadership, was hoping to defeat one of the leading French conservatives, regional president Xavier Bertrand, who is likely to be the centre-right’s presidential candidate next year.

However, Bertrand’s list won the first round easily with 41.2% ahead of the RN’s 24.4% and the socialist-green list’s 19.0%, with President Macron’s LREM knocked out on 9.1%.

The centre-right also looks likely to win the Île-de-France region that includes Paris and its environs, after its list led the first round with 35.9% ahead of the RN’s 13.1%. The result here did illustrate comical divisions on the French left, with three rival socialist/green lists all qualifying for the second round by polling over 10% (unless they can negotiate a combined slate).

Good news for Marine Le Pen is that her party has qualified for the second round in all thirteen mainland regions, with one first-place and eight runners-up. Aside from the three regions mentioned above, RN votes ranged from 12.3% in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes to 23.2% in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Apart from Corsica (where the RN polled only 4%) and various ‘French’ regions in South America, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean where the RN is predictably weak, Marine Le Pen can claim to lead a serious alternative party of government.

But the main challenge in next Sunday’s second round (and in next year’s presidential election) will be to convert widespread public disillusionment with Macron into positive support for the RN rather than yesterday’s winners – apathy and the ‘centre-right’.

Can Le Pen win?

Marine Le Pen: can she win in 2022?

As in 1848, “a spectre is haunting Europe”. But unlike in Marx and Engels’ time, it’s not the “spectre of communism”. In 2021 the ghost at the socially-distanced feast is the ‘far right’, or what its more hysterical opponents would term ‘fascism’.

And as has been the case periodically ever since the mid-1980s when Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National (National Front) made its first electoral breakthrough, France is the main focus of ‘anti-fascist’ concern.

The latest flurry was prompted by an opinion poll carried out on 19th-20th January and published this week. It shows not only that Marine Le Pen, who took over her father’s party in 2011 and renamed it Rassemblement National (National Rally), would ‘win’ the first-round of a presidential election, but that she would be only 4% behind in a hypothetical second-round run-off against incumbent ‘centrist’ President Emmanuel Macron.

Analysts have long taken for granted that Le Pen would be one of the top two first-round candidates at the next presidential election (due to be held in April 2022), and would probably lead the field at this stage, but have assumed that she would certainly lose the run-off.

In 2002 it was a ‘shock’ when Jean-Marie Le Pen overtook a divided left and qualified for the run-off against conservative President Jacques Chirac, but he was then defeated 82%-18%. Then in 2017 Marine Le Pen finished only just behind Macron in the first-round, but lost 66%-34% in the run-off.

There are two big factors presently helping Ms Le Pen. The first is of course Covid-19. Unlike his German neighbour and fellow ‘centrist’ Angela Merkel, whose popularity has been boosted by the pandemic, Macron is not seen to have had a ‘good war’. Indeed French failures in the production of vaccines have dragged down the entire EU and made the UK look a model of competence by comparison.

The second, perhaps deeper problem is that Macron has sought to reassure French voters by taking a hard line against what he would call ‘Islamism’. Perhaps intentionally, this is perceived not just as anti-‘Islamist’, but anti-Islam.

To be fair, there is a substantial section of French liberals and socialists who are committed secularists, for whom suspicion of all religious influence (originally suspicion of Catholics but now also or especially of Muslims) is central to their politics. Such committed secularism would seem eccentric in the UK and outrageous in the USA, but is perfectly normal in France.

A socially distanced (and increasingly politically isolated) President Emmanuel Macron lays a wreath at Charles de Gaulle’s London statue in June 2020. Might Macron emulate de Gaulle in stepping aside from the presidency rather than risk defeat in 2022?

But even in France, other socialists and liberals prioritise their ‘anti-racism’ above their secularism. Macron is taking a big risk: in attempting to win over voters who are concerned about Islam or about wider immigration-related issues, he risks alienating these sections of liberal-left opinion. The latter group of voters might be so disgusted that they abstain or ‘waste’ their votes in next year’s run-off rather than voting for Macron as the ‘lesser evil’.

Moreover yet another section of the old socialist/communist vote – working class voters in depressed post-industrial areas – have become a core part of Le Pen’s support.

Perhaps this latest opinion poll is the nadir of Macron’s fortunes: the Covid news can surely only get better, can’t it???

If it doesn’t, one risky option would be for the French establishment to ditch Macron in favour of a ‘fresh face’.

Marion Maréchal, seen here with her grandfather FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, might be the long-term successor to her aunt Marine Le Pen.

Either way, the 2022 elections are surely Marine Le Pen’s best but also last chance. If she cannot defeat a Covid-damaged Macron (or a last-minute substitute), the French anti-immigration movement would be likely to seek a new figurehead.

There’s everything to play for, and an interesting year ahead for race-conscious patriots across Europe.

Le Pen’s RN wins control of Perpignan

Louis Aliot, RN winner in the Mediterranean city of Perpignan

For the first time since 2001, the main French nationalist and anti-immigration party has won control of a city with a population of more than 100,000. (click here for detailed results)

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) won Sunday’s second-round election in Perpignan, a city of 120,000 inhabitants on the Mediterranean coast, very close to the French border with Spain. Under its previous name National Front (FN) – led by Mme Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen – the party controlled the slightly larger city of Toulon from 1997 to 2001.

Today was the second round in local elections across France, long delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic since the first round in March.

French local elections are carried out over two rounds, with voters choosing among party lists: the head of the winning list becomes mayor. The 35,000 local councils involved range from tiny villages to enormous cities, three of which (Paris, Lyon and Marseille) are also broken down into districts known as arrondissements with their own councils.

In Perpignan the RN slate headed by Louis Aliot defeated an alliance of conservative parties in the second round. Various defeated leftist, centrist and green parties had been knocked out in the first round and tried to urge their voters to back the conservatives to block the ‘fascist’ RN.

The half-Jewish M. Aliot was a leading official of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s FN, and is a Vice-President of the RN under Marine Le Pen. He had been a regional councillor in the Pyrénées-Orientales département (whose capital is Perpignan) since 2010.

Ludovic Pajot (above right) 26-year-old newly elected RN mayor of Bruay-la-Buissière

In other early results, the FN retained control of the northern town of Hénin-Beaumont and gained nearby Bruay-la-Buissière. Both are former coal mining towns of about 25,000 inhabitants, and are part of the Pas de Calais region that has become the main power base for Marine Le Pen.H&D will report on the full results tomorrow and analyse the implications for Mme Le Pen’s chances of eventually taking power in France.

A more detailed H&D analysis of the French elections is online here

Meanwhile today also saw the first round of Poland’s presidential election, where the populist-conservative incumbent President Andrzej Duda has qualified for the second round run-off, with exit polls showing he has won 41.8% of the vote against the pro-EU, centre-right candidate Rafał Trzaskowski.

A so-called ‘far right’ presidential candidate Krzysztof Bosak seems to have polled just over 7%. He represented a coalition of right-wing parties, some of which are relatively pro-Moscow.

Mixed results for RN in French elections

For the 2020 local elections the anti-immigration RN headed by Marine Le Pen (above right) formed joint slates with the much smaller eurosceptic party headed by Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (above left)

On Sunday 28th June French local government elections held their decisive second round, postponed for more than three months due to Covid-19 restrictions.

These elections were for more than 35,000 communes across France, ranging from tiny villages to giant cities. The three largest cities (Paris, Lyon and Marseilles) also elect councillors and mayors in their various districts known as arrondissements. There are also regional councils known as départements, but these departmental elections (once known as cantonal elections) are held separately from the communes – most recently in 2015, and next due in 2021.

Similarly the mayors and councillors in the communes are elected to six-year terms, so the positions elected on Sunday were last elected in 2014.

In those days Marine Le Pen’s party was called the Front National (National Front – FN); it was renamed Rassemblement National (National Rally – RN) in 2018.

Six years ago the FN won 1,438 councillors spread across 463 communes. After this week’s second round the RN’s councillor total was down to 840, spread across 258 communes.

Despite this patchy performance, one headline result was very positive news for Marine Le Pen. Louis Aliot (who was Mme Le Pen’s domestic partner for a decade until last year) is the new Mayor of Perpignan, after his RN slate won the second round with 53.1% against 46.9% for his conservative opponent.

This is the first time in almost twenty years that the RN or FN has controlled a city with a population of more than 100,000. From 1997 to 2001 the FN controlled Toulon, a slightly larger city further along the Mediterranean coast.

Steeve Briois (above left) was re-elected Mayor of the RN stronghold Hénin-Beaumont after the first round of local elections in March

Aside from Perpignan, the other communes won by the RN this year are relatively small towns. Six of these had already been won on the first round in March, by the RN polling more than 50%.

All of these were communes that the FN/RN had already controlled since 2014:

  • the Mediterranean port of Fréjus; first round RN vote 50.6%, population 52,672
  • the Avignon suburb of Le Pontet; first round RN vote 57.2%, population 17,530
  • Beaucaire, a small town in the Rhône Valley ten miles south-west of Avignon; first round RN vote 59.5%, population 15,963
  • Villers-Cotterêts, a small town fifty miles north of Paris; first round RN vote 53.5%, population 10,872
  • Hayange, an ancient iron manufacturing town in the Lorraine region close to the Franco-German border; first round RN vote 63.1%, population 15,811
  • Hénin-Beaumont, a former coal mining town in the Pas de Calais region of northern France, and now the strongest nationalist area of France – very much the heartland of Marine Le Pen’s brand of populist nationalism; first round RN vote 74.2%, population 26,022

The three communes gained by the RN after Sunday’s second round were:

  • Perpignan, a city on the Mediterranean coast, very close to the Franco-Spanish border; RN second round vote 53.1%, population 120,158
  • Moissac, a small town in the Occitania region of southern France; RN second round vote 62.5%, population 13,039
  • Bruay-la-Buissière, a former coal mining town in the Pas de Calais, close to the existing RN stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont; RN second round vote 52.0%, population 21,831.

The bigger picture of last Sunday’s elections was a historically unprecedented win for the French green party EELV who gained control of several important cities including Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Besançon.

Stéphane Ravier, previously Mayor of a Marseilles arrondissement, was one of the RN’s high-profile defeats in Sunday’s second round, beaten by a conservative slate by a very tight 51-49 margin.

A joint slate of Greens, Communists and Socialists became the largest party grouping in Marseille, winning 38.3% in the second round ahead of a conservative coalition on 30.8%, the RN on 20.3%, and assorted dissident leftist and dissident conservative slates making up the remaining 10.2%.

After negotiations later this week a Green mayor is likely to take power in Marseille. The bad news for Marine Le Pen’s RN is that by a very tight margin their candidate Stéphane Ravier lost the mayoralty of the 13th-14th arrondissement of Marseilles. Under the old FN label he had won the mayoralty of the old 7th arrondissement in 2014 and had controlled the new 13th-14th after boundary changes in 2017.

On the bright side, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party suffered numerous defeats across the country. Opinion polls still suggest that the most likely second round in the next presidential election in 2022 will be between Macron and Marine Le Pen – and that Macron would again win such a contest, though by a closer margin than in 2017.

However Macron’s authority is steadily dribbling away. The challenge for Marine Le Pen’s party will now be to make a success of running Perpignan, make further gains in next year’s regional elections; and achieve the difficult balance between reassuring ‘mainstream’ voters that the nationalist right can be trusted, without disillusioning traditional nationalists whose support is still required to provide an activist base.

The danger is that purging ‘hardliners’ leads to an exodus of local government candidates and other activists, without inspiring an influx of new blood. Floating voters are all very well, but any party also needs a solid base of committed supporters.

Winners and losers as Europe’s populist tide ebbs and flows

Leading figures in ‘The Movement’, an alliance of European populists – (left to right) former Trump adviser Steve Bannon; Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini; and Brussels-based Jewish lawyer Mischael Modrikamen

While Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party celebrated big victories in this week’s European elections, the much-advertised populist breakthrough proved to be at best a patchy affair.

Predictably the big populist winners included Italy‘s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, whose anti-immigration Lega party topped the polls with 34.3% and 29 seats – a huge increase on their 6.2% and five seats in 2014, when the party was known as Lega Nord (Northern League).

Also continuing to advance were the nationalist-conservative governing parties in Poland and Hungary.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party are suspended from the European conservative group EPP, but Orban had the last laugh this week. While most European conservative parties are in crisis, Fidesz increased their support to 52.3%, up from 51.5% in 2014.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban was among the big winners at this year’s Euro-elections

A very radical nationalist party polled exceptionally well in Slovakia. Marian Kotleba’s People’s Party Our Slovakia – a party that stands staunchly in the tradition of Slovakia’s wartime leader Monsignor Jozef Tiso – gained two MEPs after polling 12.1% (up from 1.8% in 2014).

By contrast some previously successful populist and anti-Islam parties suffered poor results. The once-influential Dutch Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders was wiped out, losing all four of their MEPs and polling 3.5% (down from 13.2% in 2014).

Also badly beaten was the Danish People’s Party who lost three of their four MEPs after their vote fell from 26.6% to 10.7%. Voters in Denmark showed the strongest evidence of a trend also witnessed in some other European countries: an anti-populist backlash with increased turnouts among previously apathetic voters.

Marine Le Pen, once Europe’s most successful anti-immigration politician, has been to some extent eclipsed by her Italian ally Salvini, but Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) – previously the National Front (FN) – again topped the poll in France with 23.3% (slightly down from the FN’s 24.9% in 2014). The more ‘moderate’ French eurosceptic party France Arise (DLF) led by Farage’s main French ally Nicolas Dupont-Aignan fell below the 5% threshold to obtain MEPs. DLF polled 3.5% (down from 3.8% under an earlier party name in 2014).

Marine Le Pen (leader of the renamed French National Front) stayed top of the polls, but her ally Geert Wilders saw his Dutch Freedom Party wiped out.

Le Pen’s former FN vice-president Florian Philippot broke away in September 2017 to form a splinter party called The Patriots, mainly on the European issue: unlike Le Pen he wants France to leave the European Union. Philippot’s party polled only 0.7% despite seeking to appropriate the name of the anti-establishment “yellow vest” street protestors.

Having lost one of her main European parliamentary allies with the demise of Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party, Le Pen will have been greatly cheered by the landslide gains for the Flemish nationalists Vlaams Belang. In simultaneous Belgian regional, parliamentary and European elections, VB’s young leader Tom Van Grieken (elected in 2014 as a 28-year-old) succeeded in turning round the party’s fortunes.

VB now have 18 seats in the Belgian Parliament (up from 3 in 2014) and three MEPs (up from one in 2014).

The other important Le Pen ally is the Austrian Freedom Party, who managed to hold on 18.1% (down from 19.7% in 2014) despite a financial scandal that has destroyed the career of party leader and former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. In fact these European elections pale into insignificance against the background of Austria’s political crisis, which has now brought down the government and provoked a general election to be held in September.

Rather than consistent populist/nationalist success, the main event of this year’s European elections in most of the continent was a dramatic increase in turnout: up from 42.2% to 50.1% in France; from 48.1% to 61.4% in Germany; and from 43.8% to 64.3% in Spain.

Golden Dawn supporters rally outside the Greek Parliament

The new Spanish anti-immigration party Vox elected three MEPs for the first time after polling 6.2% (up from 1.6% in 2014 but down from 10.3% at this year’s general election).

In Germany the civic nationalist and anti-immigration party AfD (Alternative for Germany) polled 4.1m votes (11.0%), up from 2.1m votes (7.1%) in 2014, increasing their tally of MEPs from seven to eleven.

One side-effect of AfD’s success was the defeat of the long-established German nationalist party NPD, who polled 101,000 votes (0.3%), down from 301,000 votes (1.0%) in 2014. The NPD’s sole MEP Udo Voigt consequently lost his seat. Two smaller German nationalist parties also contested the Euro-election. Die Rechte polled 25,000 votes for a slate headed by 90-year-old author and historical justice campaigner Ursula Haverbeck, who is presently serving a prison sentence for “holocaust denial”. The III Path (Dritte Weg) polled 13,000 votes.

Greek national socialist party Golden Dawn lost one of their three MEPs after polling 4.8%, down from 9.4% in 2014 (though in contrast to some populist parties Golden Dawn is disproportionately strong among young voters). Their Maltese counterparts Imperium Europa, a national socialist party led by Norman Lowell, polled 3.2%, up from 2.8% in 2014.



Europe’s leaders shamelessly exploit the memory of the fallen: 1918-2018

One hundred years ago today the guns fell silent across Europe. Yet despite all the promises such as “homes fit for heroes”, November 11th 1918 was not the start of a European renaissance.

Instead the past century has seen a steady crumbling of European civilization. Community solidarity has withered; violent crime has overtaken our capitals; and the very people walking our streets would have seemed unimaginably alien to the Britons of 1918.

One thing they would have recognised: lying and self-interested politicians who have abused this weekend’s centenary events to advance their own agendas.

Yet the very fact that the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron have been impelled to advance their own anti-nationalist, one world programmes – exploiting the memory of countless dead Europeans who would not have signed up to one word of that agenda – shows that these elites are no longer feeling secure.

All those shameless liars who carried wreaths of poppies this weekend know that they are steadily being exposed. In Italy, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, France and many other nations the tide is turning.

In 2018 we know that the victims of Europe’s two disastrous 20th century civil wars did not die for freedom: for what ‘freedom’ is there today in a Europe that is (temporarily) under the thumb of politically correct laws, and where today’s surviving ex-servicemen are treated with contempt – in some cases even threatened with prosecution for their brave anti-terrorist campaigns of the 1970s.

Yet even in a world where ex-servicemen are driven to suicide by the societies they fought for, we can still be moved by the spirit of Laurence Binyon’s poem written more than a century ago.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, 
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; 
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen (1914)

H&D assistant editor’s speech at the Whitehall anti-Shomrim demo

Today Jez Turner of the London Forum was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for his speech on 4th July 2015 at a demonstration against the racially exclusive private Jewish police force known as Shomrim.

H&D‘s assistant editor Peter Rushton spoke at that same demonstration (from 23:40 to 30:08 on the video below).

The deafening noise made by Jewish and ‘anti-fascist’ demonstrators makes it difficult to hear the video, so we here attach a transcript of our assistant editor’s speech:

 

I’d like to thank the various forces that have proved the point today about the disgraceful state of double standards that exists in this country.

First of all, the courageous organisers of this event, principally Eddie Stampton over there, who stood up to be counted, who stood up determined to expose the double standards of law and order in this country.

Second, the British Government just the other side of the street there, who similarly proved the point by at the last minute insisting that this demonstration had to be moved from Golders Green down here to Whitehall. They helped to prove again the point about double standards.

And thirdly I’d like to thank the motley crew of ‘anti-fascist’ opponents today because they’ve also turned up to help make Eddie’s point for him. Over here today we see the united forces of anti-British terrorism. We see the friends of the Zionist bombers of the King David Hotel, standing side by side with the friends of the IRA bombers of Harrods, who were of course – as every policeman here knows – the bombers of Harrods were senior activists in the London branch of Anti-Fascist Action.

The united forces of anti-British terror are here today, and they are backed by the World Zionist supporters of the world’s number one terrorist state, the world’s number one gangster state, just over there, the other side of the barrier, proudly flying the flag of terrorism and gangsterism. The flag of a state which owes its existence to terror, and where better, where better than in Whitehall for us to expose that ultimate double standard – that double standard the consequences of which we live with every day of our lives when we face different terrorist groups.

Because the reason why terrorist groups anywhere in the world do what they do, is because they think it works – and why do they think it works? Because the last organisation in the world to proudly call itself ‘terrorist’ – the Stern Gang – helped to form the State of Israel whose flag we see over there today.

That organisation – the Stern Gang – here in Whitehall, you just walk up the street there on your way back from this demonstration, whichever side of the barrier you’re on today, or whether you’re here with the police today, you can see what is now the Scotland Office. What was in 1947 the Colonial Office. The Stern Gang planted an enormous bomb in the lavatories of the Colonial Office in March 1947. It failed to go off due to a faulty timer.

And while we are on about double standards, many of the people here today have been accused of promoting ‘racism’ and ’neo-nazism’. Well, in that same Spring of 1947, just a little bit further up the road there, the organisation that you support [indicating Jewish demonstrators nearby], the organisation that the people with the Israeli flag support, the organisation whose leader became the Prime Minister of Israel, planted a bomb in the British Colonial Club, just off Trafalgar Square, next to St Martin in the Fields.

And you know – we are the ‘nazi scum’ of course, aren’t we [responding to chants from demonstrators opposite], but that British Colonial Club was for non-White servicemen who hadn’t been demobbed. There they were, non-White British servicemen, quietly playing billiards, in their club off Trafalgar Square in March of 1947, and the Stern Gang’s bomb ripped the building apart!

Not a bomb planted by the so-called ‘racists’ on this side of the barrier; a bomb planted by the Stern Gang, whose leader became the Prime Minister of Israel!

If you want to find a ‘racist’ terrorist, if you want to find a bomber who planted a bomb that blew up a non-White servicemen’s club in this country – you can find him! He’s still alive today. He’s in Paris to this day. Prof. Robert Misrahi. Having planted that bomb he went back and instead of being prosecuted he got a promotion from your Zionist friends, and he ended up Professor of Ethical Philosophy at the Sorbonne.

So that’s the double standard in effect that’s seen our demonstration banned in Golders Green and relocated here today; the double standard that sees the supporters of Zionist terror and their useful idiots all screaming and shouting on the other side of the barrier there; and the double standard that allows a bomber whose bomb rips apart a club for non-White servicemen not to be treated as a ‘racist’ terrorist but to be respected, promoted, to be a friend of Israeli Prime Ministers, and to be a Professor at the Sorbonne in Paris.

That’s the double standard: what could better prove it than what we’ve seen here today. The double standard in 1947 is the same double standard in 2015. Thank you very much to everyone who has turned up here today to expose this double standard, and thank you very much to the police for making today such a trouble-free event. Thanks to all concerned.

 

Setback for Le Pen in French Assembly election


Marine-Le-Pen 2017

A month after her defeat in the French Presidential election (where she had been only the second FN candidate ever to reach the second round run-off) Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) had disappointing results yesterday in the first round of parliamentary elections to the French National Assembly.

The FN polled just under 3 million votes (13.2%), down from 3.5m (13.6%) at the previous Assembly election in 2012, and 7.7m (21.3%) in the presidential first round just seven weeks ago.

One feature of yesterday’s election was a sharp drop in turnout, down to 48.7% from 57.2% in 2012.  Indeed before 2012 even these Assembly elections always had turnouts over 60%: in the 1980s and earlier turnout was over 70%.

This widespread disillusionment with the political process is not a strong foundation for the new French President, former Rothschild banker turned ‘centrist’ politician Emmanuel Macron, whose new party En Marche! seems set for a landslide victory in next week’s second round.

The new party formed by President Emmanuel Macron is set for a landslide majority in the French Assembly.

The new party formed by President Emmanuel Macron is set for a landslide majority in the French Assembly.

Macron’s manifesto is bland and vacuous even by modern political standards, so once in office he is bound to alienate some sections of his present support.

Marine Le Pen correctly points out that the two-round system is heavily biased against her party, unlike the proportional voting used in 1986, which allowed her father Jean-Marie Le Pen and his supporters to win 35 Assembly seats.  In 2012 the FN took only two seats, having had none in 2007 and only one member re-elected in 1988, 1993, 1997 and 2002.

Normally the top two candidates in the first round progress into next week’s run-off (though in a handful of cases either one candidate will be elected immediately by winning a majority of the electorate in the first ballot; or a third candidate will qualify for the second-round by managing 12.5% or more of the electorate in the first-round – note these percentages relate to the electorate, not merely those who turn out – so they are high hurdles to jump.)

In 2012 the two FN Assembly winners were both in southern France. Marion Maréchal Le Pen (the leader’s niece) was elected last time aged 22, but temporarily stepped aside from politics before this year’s election, partly due to differences with her aunt.  She clearly disagreed with some of the party’s present direction, being both more socially conservative than Marine on issues such as same-sex marriage; more traditionally ‘hardline’ on racial/religious/immigration questions; less interested in appeasing international Zionism; and less concerned with pursuing quasi-socialist appeals to working-class voters.

27-year-old Marion Maréchal Le Pen, seen here with her grandfather FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, stood down at this election and is temporarily withdrawing from politics after disagreements with her aunt Marine Le Pen.

27-year-old Marion Maréchal Le Pen, seen here with her grandfather FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, stood down at this election and is temporarily withdrawing from politics after disagreements with her aunt Marine Le Pen.

Marion Maréchal’s Vaucluse constituency was in a prosperous region of South West France, contrasting with her aunt’s working-class power base in the far north. Her successor Hervé de Lépinau finished second with 31.8%, qualifying for next week’s second round but faces a tough battle with En Marche! candidate Brune Poirson, who topped the first round with 32.1%.

Similarly the FN’s other 2012 victor – barrister and Marine Le Pen loyalist Gilbert Collard – has a tough second round after narrowly topping the poll with 32.3%. His second-round opponent is female ex-bullfighter Marie Sara, one of several celebrity candidates for En Marche!, who took 32.2% in the first round.

One of the FN's two Assembly winners in 2012 – Gilbert Collard – is likely to lose his seat in the Gard region of the far south (part of the area once known as Languedoc).

One of the FN’s two Assembly winners in 2012 – Gilbert Collard – is likely to lose his seat in the Gard region of the far south (part of the area once known as Languedoc).

Marine Le Pen herself easily won the first round with 46.0% in her constituency near Calais, but even here she is not absolutely guaranteed election if the left rallies behind her En Marche! opponent, since the FN has already taken almost all of the right-wing vote here: the mainstream conservatives polled only 4.2% and the UKIP-style party DLF just 0.8%.

The leader of DLF – former Farage ally Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who reneged on a proposed parliamentary pact with the FN a few weeks ago – looks to be in trouble in his constituency, a prosperous suburb south of Paris which he has represented for 20 years. He finished second with 29.8%, behind En Marche! candidate Antoine Pavamani on 35.8%. Dupont-Aignan will struggle to survive in next week’s second round.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (right), seen here with his former ally Nigel Farage, is likely to lose his Assembly seat after reneging on a proposed pact with the FN.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (right), seen here with his former ally Nigel Farage, is likely to lose his Assembly seat after reneging on a proposed pact with the FN.

Sadly it now looks impossible for the FN to hit the important total of 15 National Assembly members, which would allow it to form an official parliamentary group with significant funding and guaranteed influence on important parliamentary committees. (In this respect the collapse of the deal with Dupont-Aignan might no longer be relevant, though it had been assumed that the latter’s support could be crucial in clearing the 15-seat hurdle.)

Though 118 FN candidates have qualified for next Sunday’s second round, a likely maximum target is ten Assembly seats, though they could easily slip to five or fewer: in which case (though this would still be the second-best parliamentary election in FN history) there will be serious questions within the party as to whether Marine Le Pen’s path of modernising and “de-demonisation” has been worth pursuing.

 

 

Le Pen polls best ‘far right’ result since Second World War

Marine Le Pen is likely to poll around 15% in this year's French presid.ential election, but is very unlikely to qualify for the second round run-off

Marine Le Pen polled 34% in this year’s French presidential election.

[spacer height=”20px”]In the second round of the French presidential election, National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen achieved the best ‘far right’ election result since the Second World War, facing former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron, who only a year ago formed his own political party En Marche!

Marine Le Pen has won 34%, against 66% for Macron. Around 11% – 4 million French voters cast a “blank” ballot, a record total indicating Macron’s failure to mobilise support among many trade unionists and socialists.

The result represents about double the FN vote on its only previous second round appearance: in 2002 the party’s founder Jean-Marie Le Pen polled 17.8%.

The past year has seen traditional French political parties crushed. Incumbent Socialist President François Hollande was so unpopular that he didn’t even stand for re-election. His replacement as Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon polled only 6.4%. One commentator on the BBC has just admitted: “the Socialist Party as we knew it is now dead.”

Former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy failed to win his party’s nomination, and his replacement – neo-Thatcherite François Fillon – finished a poor third in the first round with 20.0%, only just ahead of a Marxist candidate.

One consequence of this collapse of traditional parties is that neither Macron nor Le Pen has significant backing in the French parliament, the National Assembly: there will be parliamentary elections later this year.

Macron – a French version of Tony Blair – has won this election. But his pretence to represent something “new” and “anti-establishment” is so thin, and his political programme so utterly vacuous, that Marine Le Pen and the FN can look forward with confidence to representing the future of France: provided they hold the nerve and avoid the ever present temptation of grovelling to the globalisers.

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