(Photo: Gage Skidmore)
The Daily Express has nailed its political colours to the mast with an article linking Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory to potential far-right victories in Europe over the coming year, calling it ‘people taking back control’.
Once again, the UKIP-supporting tabloid provided a mouthpiece for Nigel Farage, who it said ‘could barely contain his joy over the prospect of more nations following the path paved by Britain and the American people’.
Farage was excited about the forthcoming election in Austria where he gushed about ‘the possibility of a right-wing Austrian nationalist candidate winning’.
He is talking about Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party, the far-right party formerly led by Nazi sympathiser Jorg Haider. In an interview with Austrian far-right magazine Die Aula in 2011, Hofer was critical of Haider for toning down his nationalism.
This is the man who many believe could triumph when the Austrian election is held in two weeks time.
The Express goes on to quote two more leaders it sees as being representative of ‘people power’, who might very well send further shock waves across the globe in elections next year – Marine Le Pen of France’s Front Nationale and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom.
Both these politicians run on anti-immigration and anti-Islam platforms and have been working to try and form a far-right nationalist block within the European Parliament.
This article represents a worrying development for the paper, which has always been the most right-wing of the British tabloids but previously would have baulked at openly supporting the likes of Le Pen and Hofer.
It seems that the twin shocks of Brexit and Trump, as well as giving racists among the public the belief that it’s OK to brazenly abuse and assault minorities, has also unleashed a similar feeling among right-wing tabloids that they no longer have to restrain their sympathies.
Perhaps the Daily Express, and other tabloids such as the Daily Mail and The Sun, will see this as an opportunity to be more blatant with their prejudices and more cynical in their manipulation. They no doubt feel that they have popular opinion on their side. With only a weak and ineffective press regulator standing in their way, what’s to stop them?
Worrying times indeed. The far-right across the western world has fed off public disillusionment with politics and economics and has repackaged itself as some kind of anti-establishment saviour. Enabled by a right-wing press – run by rich white men pretending to stand up for the masses against the establishment – that publishes its lies and normalises and mainstreams its politics of hatred and fear. There is a horrible feeling that something that could be very difficult to stop has been set in motion.
They might call it the people taking back control but it’s the exact opposite. It’s giving it away to some of the worst people imaginable.
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