Friday, June 14, 2024

Why are Europe’s progressives often intolerant?

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For Robert Fico it was a bullet, for Nigel Farage it was a milkshake. The targeting of both men demonstrates the alarming rise of intolerance spreading across Europe. Most of it is perpetrated by people whose political ideology can best be described as progressive, but they are extremists, prepared to make the leap from words to acts.

Across the West, elite society is dominated by progressives, overwhelmingly middle or upper-middle class graduates

Fico, for example, the prime minister of Slovakia, describes himself as the leader of a left-wing populist party. The man charged with shooting him last month is a 71-year-old poet and supporter of the liberal party, Progressive Slovakia. The party has denied any links with the accused, who has reportedly said he didn’t intend to kill Fico. It is alleged that the gunman didn’t approve of Fico’s plan to abolish the public broadcaster RTVS or his pro-Russia position.

The 25-year-old woman who has been charged with assaulting Farage outside a pub in Clacton had previously expressed her support for Jeremy Corbyn. She said of the Reform party leader: ‘He doesn’t stand for me, he doesn’t represent anything I believe in, or any of the people around here.’ Farage was the victim of a similar incident in 2019 as he toured Newcastle. On that occasion the man who threw the milkshake, Paul Crowther, told reporters as he was arrested: ‘It’s a right of protest against people like him.’

On the same day that Farage was attacked in Clacton, a local election candidate for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was stabbed in Mannheim. According to reports, 62-year-old Heinrich Koch was set upon after he challenged a man who was tearing down his party’s election posters. Last week in Mannheim a policeman was killed, and several others wounded, at an anti-Islamism rally.

There have been other incidents in other countries. Last November in Madrid, Alejo Vidal Quadras, the co-founder of the right-wing Vox party was seriously wounded when he was shot in the face. Police have made several arrests but the motive for the assassination attempt remains unclear.

In the same month a Tory councillor in Glasgow, who has faced years of intimidation and abuse, was assaulted allegedly because of his views on the conflict in Gaza. Also in November, Thierry Baudet, the leader of the Dutch Forum for Democracy, was attacked with a beer bottle as he campaigned ahead of the general election. A few week earlier he had been assaulted during a visit to Belgium by a man with an umbrella who was shouting anti-fascist slogans.

In March this year police in Amsterdam arrested a man in connection with death threats made against the winner of the Dutch election, Geert Wilders. Eric Zemmour, leader of the right-wing Reconquest, has been assaulted twice in recent years, both times by people throwing eggs. The latest incident was last month in Corsica by a woman who shouted ‘fascists out’ as she threw the egg.

One can’t help but laugh coldly at the absurd irony of people railing about fascism as they attempt to prevent a politician from going about their democratic business.

Some progressives find these attacks genuinely amusing. There has been a lot of mirth on social media about Farage’s latest soaking, as there was the first time. ‘I’m thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?’ quipped the light entertainer, Jo Brand, on a BBC radio programme in 2019. Brand had her knuckles very gently rapped by the BBC; the media regulator Ofcom investigated her remark but concluded it was ‘unlikely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime’.

Fico this week made his first appearance since the shooting, and he blamed the media for creating a climate of contempt and intolerance that led to the attempt on his life. There is some truth in that accusation. Across the West, elite society is dominated by progressives, overwhelmingly middle or upper-middle class graduates. They are driven by snobbery. When they rage against ‘populism’, they mean the Proles. The ‘gammons’, ‘Karens’ and ‘sans dents’ who voted for Trump, Brexit, Meloni, Le Pen, Zemmour. Wilders et al.

They try to censor the few broadcasters who go against the progressive grain, like GB News and, in France, CNews, which this week became officially the Republic’s most watched news channel. In response, the progressive newspaper Liberation called the popularity of CNews ‘a major shift in the media and political landscape and a real threat to democracy’. It accused the channel of ‘fuelling fear, hatred and anger’.

CNews attribute their spectacular success to the fact that they voice what the Silent Majority thinks. For years, the State-owned TV and radio stations – have pumped out an endless stream of Progressive dogma, which goes down well in the more upmarket Parisian arrondissements but says nothing to the provinces.

CNews is the mouthpiece for those who have been impoverished by globalism, who experience first-hand the result of mass uncontrolled immigration and who feel they are governed by a small elite who hold them and their country in contempt.

The woman who threw the milkshake at Farage objected to his presence because he doesn’t represent her views ‘or any of the people around here’. Really? Seventy per cent of Clacton residents voted for Brexit in 2016.

This explains so much of the progressives’ angry intolerance. They are in the minority, and it drives them mad, and increasingly violent.

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