Cambridge University Union have invited Marine Le Pen to speak next Tuesday; yes that is correct a Student Union has invited a Fascist to speak at a public hearing. I had to read the news a few times before it actually sunk in. I thought these people were supposed to be intelligent, you know the cream, our future leaders no less. I must be mistaken I’m sure, I thought but no sadly I read correctly. She will speak, and she will speak just a few days before the English Defense League (EDL) march through Cambridge.
What you have to understand is that she heads the Front National Party, the French far right, a modern fascist party which is deeply racist. UAF (United Against Fascism) plan to hold a rally outside while she speaks but so far have got just 140 people to attend or commit to attending, not enough by any standard.
The really worrying thing is that the FN is France’s third largest party and as an outsider it looks frightening (but more later on why this isn’t the threat it might at first appear). No the worry is not for the French, but for other countries who might have a less stable populace, who might actually vote in one of these utterly detestably parties after taking encouragement from the FN and Le Pen.
Roslyn Old of the CUSU has withdrawn from speaking at similar events where the far right has a presence. She said “The invitation by the Union Society to Marine LePen is more than just insensitive, it will have a direct effect on the safety of many of our students. It disregards the realities of fascism and the current context of Cambridge.”
However, Jinho Clements in a blog for the Huffington Post said that the best way of confronting the kind of repulsive views of people such as Le Pen is to invite them to speak, to engage in debate. He goes on to try to defend free speech saying allowing the kind of people such as Le Pen rights to speak openly is in some way defending the rights of all. I beg to differ!
By allowing Le Pen and others of her kind the public space legitimizes what she has to say. Worse still though, it promotes hatred of ethnic minorities, homosexuals, the disabled, and antisemitism. Her views are unapologetic and divisive, they are the views of hate.
Marine Le Pen follows her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in leading the FN, he was given a 3-month suspended sentence for calling the Nazi occupation of France “not particularly inhuman”. Le Pen came second to Jacques Chirac in the 2002 Presidential elections, a victory of sorts you might think. Actually he polled 19% of the overall vote in the first round and then polled 19% of the vote in the run-off; no increase in voters! But the blow came when he lost the majority of his voters to Nicolas Sarkozy the next time round.
It would seem that the now ex-President secured the votes on a “national identity” ticket. So his voters were in-fact protest votes against the left, not real votes.
We will never rid ourselves of the repulsive views of Le Pen and her type, but I also wonder about the logic of giving them free speech and public platforms. We in Britain have our own BNP problem; one Nick Griffin, a more dis-likable so called politica sort I’m sure you couldnt meet.
Simply put these people are dangerous, not for what they do but for the ideas they have.
KEEP THEM QUIET!