I endured a seven-hour TV marathon yesterday, beginning with Marine Le Pen’s press conference at the EU Parliament press center in Brussels, hopping from station to station, from newscast to debate, and ending with a 2-hour documentary on the Front National.
The Press Conference: a triumphant Marine Le Pen at the center and in the lead, flanked by Geert Wilders (PVV Netherlands), Harald Wilimsky (FPÖ Austria), Gerald Annemans (Vlaams Belang, Belgium), and Mateo Salvini (Northern League, Italy). Certain that her victory in France’s European elections has radically changed the face of Europe—“nothing will ever be the same”—she is supremely confident that she’ll find the two missing nationalities to complete her group and exert a strong influence in the EU Parliament as in domestic politics. The prospect is appetizing: if she can form a 7-nation group, she’ll get an operating budget of as much as 4 million euros, plus countless privileges and facilities. It’s not exactly equivalent to a seat on the UN Security Council, it will have little or no effect on the sluggish workings of the EU Parliament, but it will be hard cash and a sounding board to boost her French presidential ambitions.
The press conference was—theoretically—broadcast on the all-news BFM TV… except that they slipped coverage as soon as Geert Wilders began to speak… in English. I zapped, finally caught up with the event on France 24 / English in time to hear the last words of Wilders’ contribution. Then Wilinsky started to speak in German. No translation. And I haven’t been able to find a video of the entire press conference online.
From what I can gather, Marine is the Leader, the guys played supporting roles. L’Express cites a telling remark by Matteo Salvini: he says he is perfectly comfortable with Marine Le Pen even though members of the [Italian] Jewish community told him if he sat with her he would be outside the limits of democracy.
As it happens, President François Hollande was also in Brussels yesterday for a meeting of the EU Council (scheduled well in advance, not a crisis meeting as Marine Le Pen gleefully claimed). Hollande, known for his inveterate optimism, used his party’s disastrous score as leverage to warn the EU that it must heed the message and address the grievances of European citizens. This is a logical conclusion to the Socialist party line during the brief, pale, and unprofitable campaign. The problem with the EU, they argued, is not essential it’s partisan. Dominated by conservative parties, it produces austerity, inequality, injustice. When Europe-wide voters send a left wing majority to the EU Parliament, the people will have the Europe they want and need.
In other words, the EU should apply the same disastrous outworn neo-Marxist policies that have led to the ongoing collapse of the Hollande government and corresponding rise of the Front National.
PS: Reports that UKIP’s Farage is seriously considering an alliance with Bepe Grillo of the 5-Star movement dilutes the impact of his rejection of the Front National. Michael Ledeen (in PJ Media) describes Grillo as a “foul-mouthed former professional comedian….[who] called for the total rejection of the political class (above all, Renzi) and promised that, once he won the European vote, he’d demand the government fall and then he would win national political elections and purge the whole political system.” Marine Le Pen nourishes the same ambition. Except that Grillo’s chances are slim—Renzi has pulled Italy out of a nosedive—and Le Pen’s are distressingly real, with Hollande asleep at the wheel.
The real issue in Europe is the clash between mass Muslim immigration and the welfare state, the conflict between humanistic European values and retrograde Islamic jihad. As I explained in a Dispatch International piece the slightest attempt by the opposition UMP to address this problem was slammed as a concession to the fascist right, namely the Front National. And the FN returned the compliment, boasting that the people prefer the original to the copy. The UMP was decapitated this week by the resignation of party chief Jean-François Copé, who defended la droite décomplexée line [the right that dares to be on the right]. Though Copé claims to be the victim and not a participant of an alleged campaign finance scandal exposed just before the municipal and European elections, he was forced to resign. The party is emasculated.
Soaring above the scandal like a scavenger, Marine Le Pen self-righteously claims she only spent €9 million on her 2012 presidential campaign (Sarkozy is currently alleged to have exceeded the €22 million legal limit by at least €10 million). Aside from the fact that Marine Le Pen was eliminated in the first round and Sarkozy drew gigantic crowds in the last days of the second round campaign, with correspondingly huge organizational expenses, Marine Le Pen’s campaign may have been financed indirectly by the FN satellite party — “Jeanne”— a rather opaque organization that funnels money into the Front National through a variety of operations and some unidentified sources. It is currently under investigation.
Marine Le Pen is now questioning the validity of the 2012 election (she came in third), implying that Sarkozy should be retroactively deprived of his place in the 2nd round like a sprinter caught doping. Anyway she is confident that she will be elected president in 2017. And this should not be taken lightly.
Which brings us back to her foreign policy advisor, Aymeric Chauprade, a prolific writer and talented speaker who says “Al Qaeda is the Arab Legion of the CIA.”
[Part 3 will be posted on May 30th]