Freedom Party

UKIP And Europe’s Far Right

Ugly neofascist Le Pen

There is an interesting article in the Rotherham Advertiser and it confirms what many of us had thought, UKIP’s sympathy for the Far Right:

“UKIP, the party at the centre of the Rotherham fostering storm, has been linked to far right groups in Europe by one of its former Euro MPs.

The ex-UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire said UKIP attended a press conference last week for the right-wing European Alliance for Freedom at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Ms Sinclaire said: “This is a pan-European political party, financially backed by the European Parliament.

“This particular party is of interest as it contains, amongst others, Front Nationale, Vlaams Belang, and the Austrian Freedom Party.

The Front Nationale is a French far right party founded by Jean Marie Le Pen, Vlaams Belang, is a Belgium-based extreme Flemish nationalist party, while the leader of Austrian Freedom Party recently caused anger after posting a cartoon on Facebook, likened to anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda.. “

Update 1: The Centre for European Politics at Royal Holloway spotted this issue in June 2012.

Heinz-Christian Strache

Austria’s Far Right, Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache plays the victim after his latest gaff:

“(Reuters) – The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party is taking a public relations beating after refusing to apologize for likening anti-fascist protesters to a Nazi mob and his supporters to Jews.

Heinz-Christian Strache’s comment that “We are the new Jews” to an undercover journalist at a Vienna ball that critics say draws right-wing extremists has caused uproar and triggered at least a temporary setback for his resurgent euroskeptic party. “

Surprisingly, at least 11% of Austrians thought this neofascist in a suit fit to be Austria’s Chancellor, but as the Guardian reminded us in 2008:

“The far-right triumph was greater than its breakthrough in 1999 when Haider’s Freedom party came second in a general election with 27% of the vote and entered government, sparking a crisis that saw Austria isolated internationally.

Strache, who has been associated with neo-Nazi militants who deny the Holocaust, according to a court ruling, and who wants a new government ministry created to manage the deportation of immigrants, wound up his campaign at the weekend by calling Muslim women who wear the burqa “female ninjas” “

The Indy has more:

“The Viennese ball might have escaped with UNESCO’s rap on the knuckles, had it not been for an initially unreported anti-Semitic tirade delivered from Strache’s ballroom box to some 3,000 of his right wing guests last Friday, describing Austria’s far-right as the “New Jews”.

By yesterday it had become the focus of a blistering political row about everyday anti-Semitism and the disturbing, yet seemingly inexorable, rise of popular right-wing Austrian nationalism.

Referring to the protesters outside, Mr Strache told his audience they should not be prepared to have their “wonderful cultural party” ruined by protesters whom he described as “anti-democratic perpetrators of violence”. He then claimed the violence outside was like “Kristallnacht” – the 1938 Nazi pogrom that foreshadowed the Holocaust – and declared to his ball guests: “We are the new Jews!” Reports in the Austrian press subsequently revealed that Strache’s Freedom Party aide, Klaus Nittmann, had referred to the yellow star the Nazi regime forced Jews to wear and told ball guests: “Organisations behind the ball end up getting a Jewish Star pinned on them.”

And in what was seen by many as adding insult to injury, last Friday’s Vienna student ball just happened to fall on Holocaust remembrance day – the anniversary of the Soviet army’s liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Eva Glawischnig, head of Austria’s Green Party, suggested that those who attended were effectively “dancing on the graves of Auschwitz”. The organisers chose to ignore the charge.

Austria’s Jewish community has since been sufficiently outraged and insulted to demand that state prosecutors investigate Strache. Austria’s ruling centrist People’s Party described his words as a “slap in the face for all victims of the Nazis’ criminal regime”. Strache’s Freedom Party dismissed the criticism as “artificial and ridiculous outrage”, while Strache himself said he did not intend to “play down the agony forced upon the Jews”.

Yet his outburst has raised more disturbing questions about his party, an organisation which is now Austria’s second political force. It made huge gains in recent Vienna city elections with a virulently Islamophobic campaign.”

So the spectre of fascism hasn’t really died, just changed into a sharper suit and plays the victim.

Meanwhile In Austria

We should never forget that those ideas and sentiments that lead to mass murder during WW2 are still very much with us:

“VIENNA (AP) — Austrians gathered in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis condemned plans to hold a ball of extreme rightists later in the day Friday, saying the event’s timing transformed it into a macabre dance on Holocaust victims’ graves.

Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrated each year on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Ball organizers insisted the fact that their event coincided this year with the 67th anniversary of the death camp’s demise was coincidental and denied suggestions that those attending were extremists.

But opponents vehemently criticized both the day chosen to hold the WKR ball and the political views of those attending it, suggesting it regularly attracts elements from the neo-Nazi fringe. The ball is to be held in Vienna’s ornate Hofburg palace, less than a minute’s walk away from the memorial event.

The dispute reflects both the distance Austria has come in acknowledging its role in Nazi atrocities and stubborn rightist sentiment among some here, who see themselves as Germans and Germans as the superior race — a common regional building block of anti-Semitism.

Some of the most bitter comments came from the crowd that converged on Vienna’s Heldenplatz, or Heroes’ Square, to lay wreaths for the victims of the Holocaust.

“You, who will dance and celebrate here; we remind you of the murder of two-thirds of Europe’s Jews,” proclaimed death camp survivor Rudolf Gelbard. Insisting that Nazi atrocities must never be forgotten, Greens’ Party head Eva Glawischnig declared, “It is all the greater perfidy that there will be dancing today on the graves of Auschwitz.” “