French and Dutch nationalists vie for the top


Two European politicians who share much in common with the racist, nationalist ideology of President Pussygrabber, most notably militant Islamophobia and an urge to cap immigration.

A wild-haired Dutchman holds the lead

Here’s how BBC News lead their 18 February story on the opening of Geert Wilders’s campaign for prime minister’s post in the Netherlands:

Dutch populist leader Geert Wilders has launched his election campaign by calling some Moroccans “scum”.

Mr Wilders tops opinion polls ahead of the 15 March parliamentary vote, but has seen his lead reduced in recent weeks.

He has vowed to ban Muslim immigration and shut mosques if he wins.

His latest comments come two months after he was convicted in a hate speech trial over his promise to reduce the number of Moroccans in the country.

Mr Wilders addressed his supporters on Saturday amid tight security in his party’s stronghold of Spijkenisse, an ethnically diverse area near Rotterdam.

Polls have him in the lead

Despite a campaign scandal involving the campaign security chief, still holds the lead, Bloomberg reports:

The Netherlands is holding the first of three major elections in Europe this year that will determine whether the populist surge that delivered the Brexit vote in the U.K. and helped Donald Trump into the White house will spread into the European Union’s core.

While some polls have suggested Wilders’s Freedom Party may be losing support, a regular survey published by Peil.nl on Sunday gave him a four-seat lead over Rutte’s Liberals for the second straight week. That raises the prospect of an anti-Islam party that wants to halt immigration and re-establish borders placing first in one of the EU’s six founding members, just as voters in another – France – make the anti-euro National Front favorite to go through to May’s presidential election runoff.

Almost all the established Dutch parties, including the Liberals and Labor, have excluded governing with Wilders, but that doesn’t stop them chasing his votes. Immigration to the Netherlands featured in a televised debate among party leaders on Sunday evening, with Labor and the opposition Christian Democrats both arguing for a halt to new arrivals.

So who is Geert Wilders?

The New York Times offers some background:

He wants to end immigration from Muslim countries, tax head scarves and ban the Quran. He is partly of Indonesian heritage, and dyes his hair bright blond. He is omnipresent on social media but lives as a political phantom under police protection, rarely campaigning in person and reportedly sleeping in a different location every night.

He has structured his party so that he is the only official, giving him the liberty to remain, above all things, in complete control, and a provocateur and an uncompromising verbal bomb thrower.

Geert Wilders, far-right icon, is one of Europe’s unusual politicians, not least because he comes from the Netherlands, one of Europe’s most socially liberal countries, with a centuries-long tradition of promoting religious tolerance and welcoming immigrants.

How he and his party fare in the March 15 elections could well signal how the far right will do in pivotal elections in France, Germany and possibly Italy later this year, and ultimately determine the future of the European Union. Mr. Wilders (pronounced VIL-ders) has promised to demand a “Nexit” referendum on whether the Netherlands should follow Britain’s example and leave the union.

“The Netherlands is kind of a bellwether, a lot of trends manifest themselves here first,” said Hans Anker, a Dutch political strategist who has worked both in the Netherlands and the United States.

“I wouldn’t rule out that Wilders could be prime minister,” he added. “This one is fundamentally unpredictable.”

And a very Trumpian dislike of the media

Yep. It’s those Fake News folks at it again.

From DutchNews.nl:

Geert Wilders has pulled out of a TV interview with late night news show Nieuwsuur because he ‘doesn’t like it’.

It is the latest walkout by the PVV leader, who was absent from last night’s television debate on RTL4 and the Radio 1 leaders’ debate on Friday. Wilders has also declined the regional TV debate on March 11 and withdrew from the March 5 debate in Amsterdam’s Carré theatre in protest after RTL Nieuws, one of the organisers, broadcast an interview with his brother, Paul.

Wilders cancelled all public engagements last week after it emerged that a member of his security team had connections with Moroccan gangsters. However, a spokesman said that the decision not to appear on Nieuwsuur was not security-related.

Wilders had decided ‘only to do things we like, and this isn’t something we like,’ the party spokesman explained.

Wilders’ brother thinks the interview no-show was typical

It’s just Geert being Geert, he says.

From the Daily Beast:

Paul Wilders told The Daily Beast: “Ah, all that to-do about a little interview with RTL was to be expected; I estimated a 50 percent chance that Geert would use it to get out of a disagreeable debate he was expected to attend.”

Paul, who is ten years older than Geert, is known for his impatience with his younger brother’s political views. “He governs his domain like an emperor, whoever contradicts him seriously is done with, family or not,” Paul says, blaming Geert’s isolation. “If you have been an emperor for so long … without a social life, then you start living accordingly. It is a sad thing to see happen. I wish him better than that.”

“I love my brother, but despise his ideas,” Paul Wilders told The Daily Beast. “This is not a familial issue, it is an ideological one. Geert may not be able to make that distinction, but I do.”

And a nationalist leads in France

Marine Le Pen, daughter of a man who fondly called Hitler “Uncle Dolfie,” had been leading in the polls for the French presidency until a campaign aide was arrested in a financing scandal, but she’s still considered a strong contender and would become the first woman to hold the nation’s top office.

From Agence France-Presse:

With the polls narrowing and one of her main rivals embroiled in an expenses scandal, far-right leader Marine Le Pen could feasibly become French president in May, senior politicians and commentators say.

At the headquarters of her National Front (FN) party in Nanterre outside Paris, officials believe the same forces that led to the Brexit vote in Britain and Donald Trump’s victory in the United States could carry Le Pen to power.

Even some of her rivals concede a victory for the far-right firebrand is possible.

“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected,” former conservative prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said this month.

Another former premier, the Socialist Manuel Valls, has also warned of the “danger” of assuming that Le Pen cannot win.

Polls show that support for the 48-year-old anti-immigrant and anti-EU candidate has been consistent for four years now.

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