The invasion of Ukraine is making life difficult for right-wing populists

Reality dawns, hopefully marking a permanent shift:

It was the sort of crowd you might expect on Amsterdam’s Leidseplein, around the corner from the Bulldog Palace marijuana café. Several dozen demonstrators—awkward young men, middle-aged couples and ageing hippies—turned out on March 13th to support Forum for Democracy (fvd), a far-right populist party that thinks covid is a hoax and blames Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the West. A DJ played electronic dance music atop a trailer festooned with posters of Thierry Baudet, the fvd’s leader, a dandyish Eurosceptic with a phd in legal philosophy. The party has five seats in the Netherlands’ 150-seat parliament.

Soon Mr Baudet’s ally, Willem Engel, a dreadlocked salsa-dance instructor and covid-sceptic internet influencer, took the stage. “We cannot let ourselves get dragged into a war,” said Mr Engel, denouncing Dutch shipments of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine’s defenders. The media, he said, was whipping up hatred towards Russians just as the Nazis had towards Jews. (“Ach, the media”, tutted a woman in the crowd.)

Source: The invasion of Ukraine is making life difficult for right-wing populists

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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