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The Rise of Fascism in Europe

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Some political commentators have suggested that the European Elections indicate that the economic depression has resulted in a rise in the support of fascist political parties. Some have even gone onto to say that what we are seeing is a repeat of what happened in Europe following the Wall Street Crash.

I strongly disagree that this is a re-run of the 1930s. It is often forgotten that the fascists took power in Italy long before the Depression. Even in Germany most of the unemployed voted for the left. It was the Catholics and the middle-classes that allowed Hitler to take power.

It is true that the BNP in the UK won two seats in the European Parliament. Nearly all the extra votes they obtained this time came from former Labour voters who wanted to register a protest against Gordon Brown and his government. The BNP will not be able to hold onto these votes as long as Brown is ousted from power and we introduce a sensible housing policy.

It would have been worrying if the BNP had picked up the votes of UKIP. However, people have preferred to vote for UKIP instead of the BNP. Large sections of the population are hostile to the idea of immigration (both black and white) and during a recession will vote for nationalist parties. However, our history makes it highly unlikely that fascists will ever get close to power.

I suspect this is also true of Western Europe. However, I am much more concerned about the Baltic states and the new democracies in Eastern Europe. These countries have been hit by severe economic problems and they have little experience of democracy and might be tempted to support strong leaders who promise to solve their problems.

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