Sunday, October 17, 2010

Confidence in and loyalty to the traditional parties of the German middle ground have markedly diminished

The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark: passionately democratic countries with strong creeds of tolerance, where parties of the right have now entered the political mainstream pushing anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic agendas.
That is how John Vinocur starts his International Herald Tribune article. The question that he (and it) asks — even as Chancellor Angela Merkel admits that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have "utterly failed" (actually, he asked it one week prior to Merkel's CDU speech) — is:
What are the chances that Germany escapes the emergence of its own version of the Sweden Democrats (who have just entered the Swedish Parliament), or Danish People’s Party (whose support props up a minority government in Denmark), or a figure like Geert Wilders, whose Party for Freedom now sits in third place as a Dutch vote-getter?

…confidence in and loyalty to the traditional parties of the German middle ground have markedly diminished.

These days, when it comes to the issue that has propelled anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic parties into greater power in Northern Europe — a sense among some citizens that Muslim newcomers are encroaching on their society without regard for its laws and standards — mainstream parties in Germany are starting to acknowledge they have not dealt with the concern anywhere near adequately.

…Intolerance, unmistakably, is part of the stock in trade of the new far-right outside Germany, but in most cases it does not replicate all of the classic rant of a party like France’s National Front: anti-capitalism, anti-American, and bigotry.

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