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The millennials behind France’s far-Right youthquake Maréchal and Bardella will change the face of Europe

A new form of politics? (Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images)


October 23, 2023   7 mins

Marion Maréchal is 33 and Jordan Bardella, as of last month, is 28. These two young people — well-dressed, good-looking, in many ways archetypal millennials — are the leaders of the two main far-Right parties in France: Bardella of Rassemblement National (RN), once the party of Marine Le Pen; and Maréchal of Reconquête, once the party of Éric Zemmour, who has similarly passed over day-to-day leadership to Maréchal. Between them, these youngsters seek to wrench France from the liberal centrism of President Emmanuel Macron and replace it with a new form of far-Right politics.

Both parties engaged in a campaign to mainstream this ideology, most recently through a rejection of the far-Right’s most infamous association — antisemitism. Faced by the Hamas attack on Israel, they have made a point of affirming their freedom from this taint: Marine Le Pen is one of a clutch of far-Right leaders denouncing Hamas, flatly stating that “the security of the Israeli people is non-negotiable”. Zemmour, himself Jewish, took part in a march in Paris in solidarity with Israel on 12 October. Indeed, it has been Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the radical Left group La France Insoumise, whose ambiguity over the attacks has attracted the most criticism. The French Prime Minister, Elizabeth Borne, whose father survived Auschwitz, called Mélenchon’s stance “revolting”.

However, excising old hatreds is just one part of this new wind which is reshaping French politics. For a start, there is no contradiction between the youth of its leaders and their beliefs, with over 40% of 18-34-year-olds voting Le Pen in the second round of the last presidential election. To be in these posts is doubtless a vast responsibility for a young man and woman with no experience of international relationships or of government beyond local level. Yet, as activists since their teens, they act with the swagger of revolutionaries, dedicated to a radical politics built on Euroscepticism, national sovereignty, minimal immigration, strengthened families, raising Europe’s declining birth rate, and the regeneration of the Christian faith. It is a direct challenge to liberal politics of every stripe, at a time when liberalism itself is under several kinds of attack.

They have a better than even chance of success, with a combined third of the country polling for both parties in the lead up to next year’s European elections, ahead of the Left alliance and Macron’s own party. And if they achieve any elected office, they will transform more than France. They will destroy a Franco-German geopolitical engine, fuelled by constant pro-EU leadership in both states, which has kept the European Union together for decades, and without which most EU officials believe it will sputter and fail. But though they have this ambition in common, Maréchal and Bardella are near-opposites in constitution and character. Between them, they capture two faces of this new politics, and explain how it has managed to attract such a large section of French society.

Marion Maréchal is, in the world of fringe politics, the establishment candidate, brought up within the wealthy Le Pen family. Her grandfather is Jean-Marie Le Pen, who originally founded the Front National but is now 95 and only occasionally heard from. For some years Maréchal took his name and her adoptive father, Samuel Maréchal (married to Yann Le Pen, who has taken no part in her family’s politics), was leader of the National Youth movement. At the age of two, she was already appearing with Jean-Marie in election posters.

She joined the RN, successor to Front National, at 18, and became the youngest member of the French National Assembly at 22. At around this time, Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie and Maréchal‘s aunt, inherited the party from her father, and set about trying to rid it of his obsessive antisemitism and white supremacism, while retaining its core nationalist and anti-immigrant positions. In November last year, she passed over the leadership of the RN to her protégé, Bardella, taking for herself the leadership of the much-enlarged party in the Assembly, with the intention of standing once more for the presidency in 2027.

Bardella’s youth was nothing like Maréchal’s — aside from his passion for far-Right politics. He was born to a family of part-Italian origin and grew up on a social housing estate in Drancy, a north-eastern suburb of Paris. He joined what was still the Front National at 16, saying he was inspired by Marine Le Pen, and became a regional secretary at 19, before launching a group called “Patriotic Suburbs”, aimed at reaching out to voters “in the forgotten territories of the Republic”. He would go on to be part of Le Pen’s 2017 presidential campaign and thereafter, supported by her, was raised through the ranks to the leadership.

In the course of that rise, he has learned how to enthuse his own supporters. I bore witness to his abilities when, at a Fête de la Nation in Le Havre on 1 May this year, he declared his party had the ability to govern France “tomorrow”, before he gestured for the audience to rise. Unbidden, they broke into a chorus of the Marseillaise. He continued in his speech, excoriating Macron — then at a low ebb in popularity — and at the end, they sang the Marseillaise again.

But he is also more than capable of taking the fight to his opponents. In August, Macron sought to regain the domestic initiative with a 12-hour discussion with all the party leaders, lasting until 3am. Bardella, in a near 15-minute exchange with the President, reportedly pressed him strongly for better security, stronger controls on migrants and a referendum on the public’s views on immigration — a demand which was met with a neutral response. Along with the other participants (though more politely than those from the Left contingent), he later expressed disappointment that the marathon deliberation had led nowhere.

This is typical of him and the modern RN: committed social conservatism and nationalism, but without the sulphur of Jean-Marie. Bardella doesn’t like same-sex marriage, but when in power, he says he would not ban it, nor tamper with more recent trans legislation. He would, however, refuse access to social services for illegal immigrants: like many in the working or lower-middle class everywhere, low wages and shortage of money have sharpened his eyes for diversion of public money into what are seen as underserving pockets. “My family,” he has said, “didn’t follow politics. If I’m active politically, it’s because I saw injustice very early social: at the end of the month, my mother didn’t have more than €15.”

Maréchal is cut from a different cloth — not just in birth and upbringing, but also in the way in which she has played the hand dealt to her. From the moment of her birth, she became a scion of a family which, uniquely among the far-Right parties of Europe, is a dynasty as well as a centre of activism and ideology. Her father Samuel was close to Jean-Marie, acting as his head of communication when the former leader was still in his prime in the Nineties and early 2000s and who, in his five attempts to win the presidency, positioned himself as the only politician who fully endorsed “a France of national patriotism” — a claim often spiced with derogatory comments about Jews.

Jean Marie led the Front National until he passed over the presidency to Marine in 2011, when Maréchal was 22. After her father separated from her mother in 2007, she remained close to her grandfather. A member of the RN, and a member of the Assembly in 2012 when it had few far-Right members, Maréchal joined the party’s executive board and was talked of as a future presidential candidate. But in 2018, after losing a regional election in the south of France, she retired from active politics and founded a college (the Institute of Social Sciences, Economics and Politics) in Lyon. From 2019, however, she was seen accompanying the well-known Right-wing journalist Éric Zemmour, who founded his party Reconquête as a direct competitor on the far-Right to RN. In 2022 — endorsed by Maréchal, who made her apostasy from the Le Pen family public — he came fourth in the first round of the presidential election.

The split with her aunt was a bitter one: resigning from the RN, she said that Le Pen had brought about “incessant ideological and programme changes… [which showed a] lack of logic and vision”. Le Pen, clearly distressed, said the decision was “brutal, violent and painful”. But this ideological split had been brewing for some time, a product of Marine Le Pen’s attempts to moderate her party. When she fired her father Jean-Marie from the party in 2015 — after he said the Holocaust gas chambers were a “detail” of history and that France should unite with Russia to save the “white world” — Maréchal did not follow her aunt’s lead, failing to condemn her grandfather.

Her social conservatism has more in common with her grandfather than her aunt. A strict Catholic (she has been on at least one pilgrimage, in 2018, from Notre Dame cathedral to Lourdes), she sees Islam as a dangerous opponent to her certain idea of France. She has said that, as a mother of two girls, “the prospect of them growing up tomorrow in a country where the veil and the abaya [a loose-fitting Middle-Eastern female dress] are a daily issue, a country that is shaped by the destruction wrought by riots, rapes, and gratuitous murders committed by illegal immigrants, is a prospect that makes me despair”. Marine Le Pen, who also warns constantly of the Islamist menace, would be unlikely to use such language.

Yet while Maréchal emerges as someone determined to succeed in the far-Right political milieu, she has shown less consistency in pursuing her goal than Bardella, a trait which may mar her leadership. The young man from the Drancy housing estate has been rock-like in his attachment to Le Pen, a careful study and practitioner of stump rhetoric, with a self-confidence which allows him to happily battle the President of France. This will be an asset going forward — Marine Le Pen was demolished by Macron on economic issues in the presidential debate of 2017.

In her affection for her grandfather, her conservative Catholicism, and her alliance with Zemmour (who attributes France’s decline to feminism and egalitarianism, and has been convicted of incitement of hate against Muslims), Maréchal presents herself as on the harder, older Right than Bardella. He has worked diligently to be where he is now, and retains a sense of the unfairness of lower-class life, which neither Zemmour nor Maréchal appear to share. And his seriousness in political debate appears to have impressed Macron — who reportedly told aides that “he was the only one of the party [of opposition leaders] who understood what the exercise was about and who really worked on preparing for it”.

Yet for all the popularity and abilities of their protégés, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour have made a gamble in promoting them. Firstly, because these bright young things will likely still struggle to do as well as their elders expect; and secondly, because, for all their rhetorical and political strengths, they remain short of experience at the head of a sustained and brutal political battle. Their calibre will be tested next June, in the European elections: after which, should they survive at the top, they will meet an ordeal by fire in the presidential elections. Still, youth will have its fling, as the song from The Mikado goes — and, whether or not they make it to the top, this particular dalliance promises to shake Europe in the years to come.


John Lloyd is a contributing editor to the Financial Times and is writing a book on the rise of the New Right in Europe.


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Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Can we seriously stop calling any non-woke, non-progressives “Far Right”? It’s intellectually lazy in the extreme.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I was going to suggest that it would be good if Unherd were to exercise some editorial control in respect of articles and ensure that such use of the “far right” slur was deleted in respect of parties that had no anti-Semitic policy or desire to seize other territory by force. Unfortunately Unherd itself is infected by this form of intellectually lazy desire to disparage and denigrate parties proffering non-woke policies as the Far Right slur appears in the heading which is not usually supplied by the author. Whenever I see the phase “far right” applied by an author I know I am reading a writer who is intellectually shallow and unthinking and tend to discount much of the rest that he has to say.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jeremy Bray
R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Technically speaking there is an academic difference between the ‘far right’which exists within the acceptable discourse of a western liberal democracy, and the ‘extreme right’which usually consists of the explicitly anti-democratic right. That being said, few know of the latter and everything is referred to as far right, even if it actually isn’t, as part of a deliberate rhetorical ploy to tar enemies with the same brush. RN is ‘far right’ but the point is that it should not be a value judgment implicitly, just a statement of theoretical fact.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

The position is not far right. Anarchist propagandists have seized control and are using slurs to silence moderates. They are like Hamas, they are hell bent on the total destruction of those they claim to be fighting for, they use them as human shields, hence the cries of racist, transphobe, Islamophobe etc. I guess that is why they support Hamas: they strongly identify with them.

Last edited 8 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
AC Harper
AC Harper
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

The problem seems to be that for certain people ‘liberalism’ appears to be the obvious default. Yet go back a few generations and ‘liberalism’ was not the default.
I often wonder if instead of using the ‘far-Right’ label we could use ‘distant from the authoritarian Left’ label instead. No longer a problem with digital find and replace tools, and perhaps less intellectually lazy.
Thus: “Marion Maréchal is 33 and Jordan Bardella, as of last month, is 28. These two young people — well-dressed, good-looking, in many ways archetypal millennials — are the leaders of the two main parties distant from the authoritarian Left in France:”
Reads differently doesn’t it?

David Yetter
David Yetter
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Unfortunately, in the usage on the Continent, anyone who has noticed that every fiqh of Islamic sharia is deeply illiberal, and concluded as a result that Europe should have far less immigration from the Muslim world is regularly called “far-right”.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It’s not intellectually lazy. It’s intentionally poisoning the well.

J Bryant
J Bryant
9 months ago

There is such a clear yearning for political change throughout the Western world. The established parties are simply unresponsive to their voters. I know nothing about these young people except what I read in this article, but I hope they are the vanguard of a new generation of politicians that will displace the complacent, self-regarding, and often senile, technocracy that currently leads the Western world.
As an American who knows little of French politics, I have a question. The author repeatedly characterizes these young politicians, and their parties, as “far Right.” He summarizes their policies as, “Euroscepticism, national sovereignty, minimal immigration, strengthened families, raising Europe’s declining birth rate, and the regeneration of the Christian faith.” My question is why are these policies characterized as “far Right” rather than simply as conservative?

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
9 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

That is a good question to pose. Maybe Mr Lloyd thinks that the conservative policies of Maréchal and Bardella are just a veneer, but one suspects his classification simply copies the mainstream media because he describes the list of natural conservative policies as “radical politics”.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter Kwasi-Modo
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago

This is a disappointing article in the sense that it concentrates on gossipy background rather than substance. As a result most of the comments have concentrated on the use of Far Right to describe the individuals and parties rather than the information in the article.

It would have been much more interesting to discover what precise policies the two parties were advocating to achieve lower immigration, strengthen families, raise Europe’s declining birth rate, regenerate the Christian faith and express their Euroscepticism. This might have generated a more wide ranging discussion on the desirability of these policies and the likelihood of their being achieved by the proposals advanced. Instead the article is empty of much of substance and interest.

Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I would wholeheartedly subscribe to all those policies and would say I was a straightforward conservative.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
9 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Exactly. They could even be described as liberal, insofar as they aim to protect the rights and dignities of individuals & families against creeping, and creepy, tech-enabled, globalist corporatism and nihilistic atomisation. Which of their policies would Edmund Burke or Margaret Thatcher – those archetypical liberal conservatives – have disavowed?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
9 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

It’s lazy shorthand intended to villify. A bit like “Sinn Fein/IRA” or “Guardian/BBC” or “Marxist”.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
8 months ago

Sinn Fein/Guardian/BBC/Marxist/Hamas.

I like it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Tom Graham
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Well said. That broad manifesto is surely one held by a silent majority here in the UK. It is not right wing. It is Old Toryism. If one added in resistance to rule by coercive State dikat (a legacy of rule in the EU and Blair’s unelected Quangocracy) and the toxic State ideologies of Equalitarianism and Net Zero (the root causes of lockdown and crippling willed degrowth) and a commitment to freedom and enterprise you would have the New Manifesto for a powerful centrist movement. The horror is – none of these views are being advanced by the Johnson spaffed Fake Conservative Party. They are like a Vichy state, supporting the 20 year illberal Progressive Order, bowing to their cocky masters in the Blob. Where is our Resistance? It appears we must now await electoral catastrophe for a new party to emerge from the ruins. Rishi is sleepwalking in a sad geek- techical bubble and 50% of his wretched ill disciplined party are wet Blairite Lib Demmers who must be purged in a brand New non far right Conservative movement.

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
8 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Spot on – could not have put it better.

El Uro
El Uro
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

This is not even conservatism, this is the politics of common sense, which certainly frightens the author, so he draws the inscription “fascist” on the portrait of the enemy and hits him with a paper sword

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The use of ‘Far Right’ in the USA is done to tag the opposition as extremist. It’s a form of terror in and of itself. Listen to the hyperbole of Democrats James Carville or Paul Begala. Their pants-on-fire accusations of Trump-as-Hitler are laughable and embarrassing. That said, ordinary Americans know the game that’s being played by characterizing things ‘Far Right’ so people who are using it are immediately ignored except by a few groupies of said Carville, Begala and their like.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
9 months ago

You could easily make the case that the Democrat party in the US – on a number of issues – is noticeably to the right of European parties that are thought of as (at least) Right of Centre. The UK Conservative party for one.
So when I read of parties termed by somebody else as “Far Right” I no longer have any real idea where they might sit on the Left-to-Right continuum as I might describe it.
We’ve got to a point where, frankly, we need a whole new political lexicon.
‘Left’ and ‘Right’ no longer have any distinct, universally agreed upon meaning. Terms are over-used and mis-used to the point that their definitions are now so elastic as to render them useless as definitions altogether.
Why should any policy that questions the benefits of limitless immigration automatically be described as “Far-right”?
If “Socialist” can describe such profoundly different countries as Sweden and Venezuela, is it not too loose-weave a label to be in any way useful?
Does “Populist” really just mean any policy that a journalist disapproves of?
I consider myself liberal but not ‘A Liberal’. When I hear people talking about ‘liberal values’ I feel as though they will chime with my own values and opinions. Then, when they expand on what they mean by liberal values I realise that by their lights I’m not liberal at all.
Everyday on comments pages like these we all fling around designations like progressive, centrist, liberal, neo-liberal, hard-left, far-right – I’m probably as guilty as the next man. If all the people using those terms were to plot where on the political spectrum they thought such definitions sat – and the people and policies contained within them – there would be such an almighty overlap that they become rather pointless ways to define anything.
It is often illuminating to see how definitions change over time. I just consulted my (1961 edition) dictionary and it defines “Nationalist” thusly – A person who favours or strives after the unity, independence or interests of a nation.
My online dictionary more than slightly alters that by defining a nationalist as – a person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.
It offers, as synonyms, the following terms : chauvinist · jingoist · jingo · flag-waver · isolationist · xenophobe.
When, How, and (perhaps more pertinently) Why, did the word become a pejorative?
And amidst all these muddled political characterizations, we are invited to vote for parties whose very names contravene the Trades Descriptions Act.
The Conservatives have not been Conservative for 30 years at least.
Labour despise the working man,
The Liberal Democrats are positively illiberal and anti-democratic.
And the Greens are dyed-in-the-wool Reds.
Perhaps we’re all in need of the services of an Overton Window Cleaner?

Last edited 8 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

As usual a very good analysis. The economic policies pursued by both the Conservative and Labour Parties have more in common with the dirigiste policies of Mussolini’s Italy than classic liberal laissez-faire policies and the racist identitarian ideology pursued similarly smacks more of National Socialism than classic liberalism.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
8 months ago

Give over with the ‘far right’ unless you refer to Starmer as ‘far left’. Anyone who doesn’t know what a woman is and acquiesces to the language of BLM and decolonization is an extremist

Paul T
Paul T
9 months ago

Almost immediately they are described as far-right. Is there any centre-right left or is “everything to the right of Marx” really Hitler now?

Nic Thorne
Nic Thorne
9 months ago

I had a hard time with the talk of “a radical politics built on Euroscepticism, national sovereignty, minimal immigration, strengthened families, raising Europe’s declining birth rate, and the regeneration of the Christian faith.” This is immediately contrasted with “liberal politics of every stripe, at a time when liberalism itself is under several kinds of attack.”
How are any of the six things listed not liberal? “Liberal” is a word used in many ways – one might talk of economic or social liberalism, or of a liberal as opposed to authoritarian society, but none of those fit the list (the family and Christianity are what I’d call socially liberal). I suppose this must be the American use of “liberal” in which the word just means “left wing.” Really, one has the impression of an author throwing mud a things he doesn’t like when he suggests that mainstream views are “radical” and suggests, paradoxically, that they’re somehow not “liberal.”

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
9 months ago

It is odd. A step to the right of politics appears to be happening all over Europe.

Meanwhile here in the UK we seem to be ushering in the yawn that is Keir Starmer and his interpretation of the left of politics.

You have to love our nation,, we are ever the outlier!

Paul T
Paul T
9 months ago

We are not moving to the left in the UK. The press have got bored with the current round of political news and current affairs. Consequently they want to shake things up so, a few editors have changed papers (Daily Mail / Times) some papers have decided they want to support a different party (as opposed to merely reporting the news and current affairs) and we are being herded down the road toward Labour in order that people find out just how far profligacy and promiscuous identitarianism can go.

Lancastrian Oik
Lancastrian Oik
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

100% correct.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago

So if I understand correctly; a powerful segment within British society want a Labour Government next year to show how utterly redundant and damaging the modern left is, in order to then subsequently have a truly right wing government that would follow?

Kat L
Kat L
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It doesn’t appear that the ‘right’ as it is in current form is anything more than 3 steps behind the left. Same as it is here in America; the republicans are mostly worthless.

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

No, not at all. That reply just shows how you think.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Mmmmm, it’s weird isn’t it. I certainly feel more engaged by a step to the right. But weirdly most of my contemporaries are staunchly left. To the point where they are happy to ignore some frankly ridiculous points of view that they know not to be true.
A couple of them say they have (and will) always vote Labour. Can you imagine voting for a party so religiously regardless of what they say and do?!
Bizarre.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago

Very few are religion-less or faithless, whether they realise it or not. To one Islam, to the other, the Labour party.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago

The by-elections seem to suggest that conservative voters have become disenchanted with a Conservative Party that isn’t very conservative and have decided to stay at home or in some cases vote for fringe parties to give the Conservatives a kicking. There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for Labour outside tribal Labour voters. Ironically we may end up with a Labour government that not many want through disgust at the Torys not being Tory enough.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Precisely, ‘hole in one’, well done Sir!

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I think there’s a lot of truth in this – nearly 10% of the vote in Tamworth went to Reform, Britain First or UKIP.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

We have a tired Tory party that needs to rediscover it’s values.
We have the least dangerous Labour leader since Blair.
hold your nose and sit it out until a serious alternative comes along.

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
8 months ago

I disagree, the current conservatives holding the reigns of power are socialist through and through. Even Gordon Brown never envisaged taxes this high. IMHO the UK has yet to move right, we are slightly behind Europe in that respect. The Torys need to Tory-up fast or be eviscerated, when perhaps in opposition they can rediscover what being a conservative is. Otherwise, Reform may break through given the next Labour administration is going to utterly trash the country. Don’t hold your breath though.

David Harris
David Harris
8 months ago

Since when is “Euroscepticism, national sovereignty, minimal immigration, strengthened families, raising Europe’s declining birth rate, and the regeneration of the Christian faith. ” far right?

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
8 months ago
Reply to  David Harris

Exactly . any party (in any country in Europe) standing on that platform would have my support 100%. Would that we had one such in the UK.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
8 months ago

I am very pleased that it seems like a petard was inserted into the European Union posterior. I hope I will be around to watch when it goes off.
In any case I lived long enough to see the time when supporting Israel right to exist and to decapitate Hamas is considered far right. In this case I am in.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
8 months ago

A pity that neither of them shows any commitment to smashing ‘gender’ ideology. Perhaps it has not taken root in France to the extent that it has in the Anglosphere.

Elizabeth Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton
8 months ago

Hi Caroline, it has taken root here but not as much as in the Anglosphere. We keep seeing noxious trans legislation passed as European guidelines get automatically transcribed into French law. The most recent one of these was a ban on “conversion therapy,” in practice outlawing psychotherapy for gender dysphoric children and adults to the benefit of “affirmative care” (i.e. puberty blockers, hormones and surgery).

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
9 months ago

The reality, whether we like it or not, is that young people in Western Europe are veering to the hard left, not the right. In France 40% of 18-34 year olds voted for Le Pen in the second round. But that was only because she was up against Macron. If Melenchon had been in the second round (and he was only narrowly squeezed out by Le Pen), they would have voted for him. This is because young people in Europe are increasingly from non-European ethnic backgrounds, and because the case for family and country, free markets and free speech has been crowded out from the discourse young people are exposed to, and are seen as utterly redundant.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stephen Walsh
rob clark
rob clark
8 months ago

Far right, far right, far right! Cordon Sanitaire strikes again, not really surprising coming from FT

Elizabeth Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton
8 months ago

I appreciated learning more about Bardella’s background but like so many other readers here, I decry describing Reconquête and the RN as “far right”.
In fact, one of the major appeals of the RN is the party’s support for social legislation that up until 5 minutes ago would have been described as left wing. It is most definitely a working class party as opposed to Reconquête, more intellectual, elite and traditionally right wing in its support of laissez-faire economics and the finacierisation of the economy.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago

Maybe French the youth still values being French and doesn’t want the culture to die out.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago

When Obama, Biden, Pelosi and co are routinely described in the US as communists and Marxists; Trump as a N**i, and anyone who thinks that a woman is an adult human female or that open borders may have some downsides as ‘far right’ or ‘fascist’, it’s quite hopeless trying to have any kind of political dialogue. In the UK the most ‘diverse’ cabinet in British or probably modern western history is regarded by many as ‘racist’; anyone who prefers the old style family and national values that my parents’ and grandparents’ generations fought and died for is now ‘far right’, while even daring to suggest that perhaps some elements of Israeli policy have exasperated and exascerbated the Palestinian situation is to be anything from ‘far left’ to N**i with ‘terrorist’ and ‘appeaser’ anywhere in between. Incoherent at best. Even wanting to nationalise rail, water and power, popular mainstream opinions for over 100 years makes you ‘far left’. What hope of dialogue when words are given such variable and contradictory meanings?

Last edited 8 months ago by Martin Smith
Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
8 months ago

When pundits use “far left” as often as they do “far right” I may reconsider my opinion that they are progressives but trying to conceal it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jerry Carroll
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago

Historically speaking, France has been at the forefront of most political trends. France under Napoleon was probably Europe’s first true nation state according to the modern understanding. It is likewise unsurprising to me that the anti-globalist wave is building quickly there, and notably building among young people. It’s a trend I expect to see repeated elsewhere. It will be amusing to watch Macron and the remaining globalist true believers keep trying to bail out the Titanic while the waters continue to rise despite their efforts.

Peter Hall
Peter Hall
8 months ago

A propos the request to Macron by Bardella for a referendum on immigration this is something that should be on the political agenda of the United Kingdom. No government has asked the public for consent to encourage uncontrolled mass immigration. Did the British want 12 million immigrants since 1997? Are they happy that there are an estimated 2.3 million more people than the census numbers? We should be given a choice to continue with open borders or to tightly restrict immigration to less than 100,000. Let’s have the debate and then the government will have the moral authority to enforce the result of the referendum.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
8 months ago

Holy smokes! They’re pursuing “radical politics built on Euroscepticism, national sovereignty, minimal immigration, strengthened families, raising Europe’s declining birth rate, and the regeneration of the Christian faith.”
These wild-eyed crazies must be stopped!

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
8 months ago

Angela Merkel’s legacy of disruption continues.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
8 months ago

The real issue is what kind of pejorative we should sling at John Lloyd — of the Financial Times, darling.
How about tippy-top snob?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

I see the far right snowflakes are very triggered by being correctly characterized as far right.
If the cap fits…

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago

Stalinist!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago

Can you see the value in reviewing our terms? Party politics should come down to policies otherwise everyone is voting on the basis of branding & propoganda. How would you define far right & what is the difference between that and conservatism?