She didn’t reaffirm her desire to restore the death penalty and made no mention of leaving the Euro, but the leader of France’s extreme-right National Front (FN) Party, Marine Le Pen, in her manifesto speech over the weekend remained consistent on the three issues she has championed: An end to porous boarders, an end to multiculturalism, and an end to the threat of Islamic terrorism. If you are wondering why an extreme right wing, national socialist party has had a popularity spike in France, then you haven’t followed the current trend in European citizens. In fact, many Europeans have been disappointed with the mainstream political response to the immigration crisis and Islamic Terrorism. And this is no different in France. But does the rise of Le Penism threaten an overhaul in both the French and European climate? And if so, is it needed?
Clearly the growing support for Marine Le Pen will change French and European culture, even if she isn’t elected, for as Douglas Murray, editor of The Spectator voices: “Le Pen does not need to win the election to have the type of effect on France that the Brexit and Trump votes have had on Britain and America. Le Pen-ism has bubbled up underneath French politics and the National Front leader seems vindicated without being anywhere near office.” Mr. Murray’s statement is hard to deny, as her two over-arching claims are, after all, rejecting global trade and declaring war on radical Islam; as she states that “two ideologies want to submerge our country, global finance and Radical Islam. Confronting these two totalitarian ideologies challenges our livelihood and country.” Let’s deal with the latter of these two claims because Islamism and Islamic Jihadist have enraged, wounded and polarized France- with a growing number of the populace believing that Le Pen’s ‘honest’ rhetoric on the issue offers a potential solution that mainstream political and media parties have failed to express.
At the core, Le Pen believes Islamic Fundamentalism is not compatible with French culture and its propensity to insight terrorism and violence poses an imminent security risk. This dates as far back as 2010, where she equivocated Muslim public prayer to the invasion of Nazi Germany: “For those who want to talk a lot about World War II, if it’s about occupation, then we could also talk about it [Muslim prayers in the streets], because that is occupation of territory.” It is unsurprising that she is supportive of Trump, heralding his victory as a ‘sign of hope,’ and she is also a supporter of Vladimir Putin, who she has defended, most notably on his invasion of Crimea and his support of the Assad Regime in Syria. Her closest political friends further include the leader from the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), Austria’s Freedom Party (FPOe), Belgium’s Flemish Interest (VB), Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Italian Northern League (LN).
It’s clear that Ms. Le Pen and the FN are convincing French Citizens that tough border control and leaving the EU (‘Frexit’), is essential for security and cultural protection, the question remains, however, will the movement indeed make France and Europe safer? Well, in terms of border protection, it’s hard to argue how no border protection is safer than, at least, some vetting procedures, so her voice on this issue is useful. However, her adoration for Russia and extreme right wing parties across Europe leads one to think that her complete rejection of European interdependence and her dangerous levels of patriotism and nativism make her unsuitable for the presidential role.