Would the BBC have interviewed Adolf Hitler in 1932?

Would the BBC have interviewed Adolf Hitler in 1932?


norman lebrecht

November 14, 2016

Many in the cultural sector are perturbed by the BBC’s decision yesterday to feature an interview with Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right Front National, on the Sunday-morning Andrew Marr show.

The BBC has justified the decision by arguing that Ms Le Pen might win next year’s election and become President.

Until now, UK media have confined Ms Le Pen to a hand-basket of deplorables – politicians whose nationalist and racist views are kept off air for fear that publicising them would only boost their grassroots popularity.

The policy is patchy and irrational, sometimes controversial. But the justification for breaking it is absurd. The BBC did not interview Adolf Hitler in Germany at a time when it seemed he might become the next Chancellor. It judged that his views were dangerous and unacceptable. It refused to risk pushing his bandwaggon.

Marine Le Pen is no Hitler, but some of her far-right language is drawn from the same lexicon.

The BBC has given her a gloss of legitimacy. It was a really bad editorial decision, a sign of our confused times.




  • debussyste says:

    This comment is ridiculous. The so-called “establishment” like to insult every politician who doesn’t speak its language ( open borders, multiculturalism, economic liberalism). It’s this type of attitude which brought Mr Trump into power. So let’s continue like that and you may well have Mme Le Pen as the next french president.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      What kind of media treatment would be appropriate in your opinion?

      • Mike Schachter says:

        As a normal leader of a major party.We don’t have to approve of people who are interviewed but if they represent a quarter or more of the voters of one of the largest European countries we can’t pretend they don’t exist. The transformation from the FN of her father may or may not be genuine but the last people to complain should be the UK Labour party whose leader is happy to share a platform with any passing anti-Semite.

      • Peter says:

        Civilized argument. Devalue her ideas by argument.
        The political mainstream has gotten so arrogant, too few people can even have an argument.
        The usual tactics of the dumbed down mainstream of shaming, ridiculing and ignoring is counterproductive.
        It actually drives voters into the arms of the populist fear catchers.

  • Mathieu says:

    There is actually very little chance of Le Pen winning in 2017, but still a greater one than her father in 2002. It all depends on whom she is running against on the second ballot (it is almost certain that she will get to the second round): if it is Sarkozy or Hollande, the election will certainly be very close.

    In any case, she is not Hitler. She is a far right leader, whose views change quite a bit depending on whom she talks to (when in the South of France she is a neoliberal, and when in the North she is a Welfare State enthusiast). She has no clear political agenda, except, of course, scapegoating and anti-european views. If by any chance she is elected president, it is almost certain that her party won’t gain a majority of seats in the National Assembly, which means that she won’t be able to further her legislative agenda, assuming she has one, and that she will have to work with a government whose views are opposed to hers. (Like in 1986, 1993 and 1997)

    I think the BBC has every right to interview her, provided that they do REAL journalistic work. Tough questions, follow-ups, fact-checking. I haven’t seen the interview, so I cannot judge. But it certainly seems to me that the real problem with the media in general today is not who they interview but how they do it.

  • V.Lind says:

    I’m afraid I agree. Starting with the US President-elect, there are quite a few politicians these days who are distasteful to most of us but who make legitimate “news stories,” complete with interviews. Bear in mind that British parliamentarians were only a few months ago debating whether or not to prevent Trump, who owns businesses in Britain, from entering the country. The next time he comes, he will probably be treated to a State banquet at Buckingham Palace or Windsor. (Puts him in good company: Ceauşescu, the latest Chinese leader, etc.).

    No argument that one hopes the journalists who give airtime to controversial figures do their homework properly. But one might always hope that.

  • Erik Abbink says:

    Remind us again how not interviewing Hitler helped Europe, and tell us who else should be on the “not to be interviewed” list.

  • Olassus says:

    Norman, 6,018,672 (or 28% of) French people voted for her last December, and in the second round 6,820,147 (27%). That’s not “far” anything.


    What is alarming is that those citizens got NO REPRESENTATION for their votes and will next year be even angrier with the French establishment.

    • John Borstlap says:

      What is the point of having ignorant, hateful, xenophobic, racist nationalists represented in a government that is supposed to run a country in a democratic, reasonable way? These voters don’t deserve to vote if the only person they can think of, is ML.

      Some type of voters should be protected against themselves. Voting for extreme rightwing parties is helping muslem extremists: they unintentionally support their ideas, they help them recrute disenfranchised locals, they support the myth that there is a ‘clash of civilisations’. If ML will be president, this will increase terrorist attacks in France, and that will be the beginning of the end of La Grande Nation and of the chance to get a really workable EU off the ground. Any politician who thinks that withdrawing behind a wall of mistrust and nationalist bigottry, and preventing immigrants to integrate, will help solve international problems like terrorism, economic divides, climate change, and the threats at Europe’s borders, is a very stupid [unprintable word].

      No doubt social systems within Europe have to be reformed, but getting a stupid nationalist woman in power is the opposite of any possible solution.

      • Allen says:

        “and preventing immigrants to integrate”

        Climb down from your pedestal and spend a little time in places like Bradford, Rotherham etc. in the UK. Try speaking to the locals, instead of for them.

        I think you’ll find that lack of integration has little to do with “rightwing parties”.

        The problem is, it would do little to support the high regard you clearly have for yourself. The truth is, you know nothing about the problems facing ordinary people, and care less.

        You have a lot of ego invested in your supposedly superior intellect. It’s an illusion. You are an expert in a very limited field, but that’s about as far as it goes.

        • John Borstlap says:

          What a nonsensical, typical rightwing populist comment….. demonstrating the mentality which helps buffoons and scoundrels to power. Integration of immigrants happens in different ways, at different tempi, in different places, you can’t generalize. I live in a town with almost half of the population with an immigrant background and most of them have become locals and happily so. And I know of the predicaments of people at the bottom of the social ladder, since I have been one of them. They are not necessarily ‘ordinary people’, by the way, and do not vote for extreme rightwing parties. I know some muslem people well, and a muslem friend of mine who is more civilized than the average Brit, suffers greatly – with his family – in a British ‘white’ neighbourhood where they are threatened on a regular basis and regularly need police protection to prevent white trash throwing stones through the window. So, I am not blank in terms of integration problems and don’t live in an ivory tower – and it is not difficult to see that at least a comparable number of Europeans have never integrated themselves in their own culture. Why is that? Because in education, what has been taken for granted was never discussed.

          • harold braun says:

            Absolute bull.Spend some time out in the no go areas…and they”ll beat your rose tinted glasses off your nose..

          • John Borstlap says:

            To Mr Braun’s reference to farm animals’ excrements:

            Of course these areas exist but they do not represent the entire problem of immigration. There are ‘black quarters’ in American cities where the police behaves as if in an occupied area, where you would not want to take a nice evening stroll, but the populations of such quarters are not immigrants but USA citizens. In East-Germany there are quarters where you better keep out if you sport a jewish yarmulke, and if you happen to have fled death and live in an asylum centre, you can still be burned to death by white locals feeling threatened by Islam. The problems of integration take-on different forms in different countries in different communities. And all immigrants are different as well. It seems to me that the core of the problem is, how to Europeanize non-European immigrants, and how to make Europeans better understand their own culture.

          • Sally says:

            I just bought some reading glasses and the corners are a bit rose-tinted, to match my new hairdo. Reading all these comments, yeah shocking, I begin to feel that it cannot be THAT bad, would it be my glasses?

            My grandfather was half Jewish, and he married my grandma who was a German refugee. Am I stemming from immigrants, then? But Jews are only procreated through the females, aren’t they? Now I begin to be worried…. I may be someone else from what I thought. I’ve to go back to the shop and get better glasses.

      • sl says:

        The ‘Clash of civilisations’ is no myth. It’s bitter reality. Wake up!!!
        What do you think is the reason for all the thousands of victims that this religious war has produced so far in just a couple of years?

        • John Borstlap says:

          Sorry to disappoint you, but that really is a myth. The clash is not between civilizations, or between religions, but between violent crazy extremists and the normal world. Muslem extremists attack other muslems without any consideration, and the Syrian fugitives flee those same psychopaths. A bit of reading will make all this clear.

          Pakistani immigrant friends of mine tell me about circumstances in their homeland, where one faction attacks other factions, because they don’t agree with their interpretation of ‘Islam’, in an endless circle of violence and senseless destruction, as happened in Europe’s 16th century. It is not religions and cultures defining people, but the other way around, it is all about interpretation. The difficulty of understanding Western civilization, is that to a great extent, it is a universal civilization where different cultures can exist within its context, hence the ‘Westernization’ of the East, and the attraction of enlightenment ideas even in the remotest corners of the world.

          • sl says:

            “It is not religions and cultures defining people” – Oh, yes, it is!
            Apart from that, the countries in the so-called ‘Western civilization” (What an old-fashioned idiotic term. We all do live in pluralistic societies nowadays.) have one common characteristic and that is the unimportance of religion in government and state. Religious groups don’t define laws anymore. They are important for the state’s culture and identity, but they are not allowed to make laws. In states that allow terroristic organizations it’s the other way round: Religion (that is the most recent interpretation of it) is put above government. Laws are defined by religious beliefs and not by common sense and equality.That is the basis of the problem.

          • John Borstlap says:

            To SL:

            “We all do live in pluralistic societies nowadays.” In the Western world, pluralism lives under the umbrella of a well-defined legal constitution, which forms an overall value framework within which different cultures can thrive – to a certain extent. It is like the metrical and tonal framework of a classical piece, offering variety within this overall structure. This is a great achievement of, indeed, Western civilization…. at least something to be proud of, for it has been achieved with enormous costs and efforts (read a bit of history…..). Independence can harmonize with other independent things, like in Bach polyphony. To see pluralism as a kind of multicultural smorgasbord where every group lives according to its own rules and laws, is ignoring the basis of Western society. There are, like in music, different levels of organisation and coherence, and head scarfs, black skin, tattoos, top hats and rolls royces, and torn jeans on unwashed legs, do not say very much about the endorsement of the constitutional framework (although tattoos, more so than head scarfs, should be wholeheartedly discouraged).

        • Peter says:

          The clash of civilizations is wanted and provoked. Primarily by entities that operate from the US.
          Look at the destabilization of the Middle East by the US fro decades now.
          The blowback is called for.
          And war is a racket, and the biggest money maker ever.
          So here we are.
          The US of A, the biggest threat to the peaceful future of this world. In fact…
          A failed state, as we could witness last Tuesday.

          • EricB says:

            That’s a rather short-sighted view of History. The “clash of civilizations” clearly predates the involvement of the US, and even of the European countries in the Middle East (mostly for the control of oil and other ressources, during colonial times).
            Islam certainly has not waited for these foreign involvements nor the creation of Israel to expand beyond its “borders” (the Arabic peninsula) to conquer the world during 13 centuries, and become a majority power in all the Middle East, all of Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and so on (not forgetting Al-Andalous…)… But as Wafa Sultan explains it so well, it’s not so much a clash of civilizations, as it is a clash between civilization and barbary….
            And those countries and cultures who refuse to acknowledge the lessons of History will suffer the same fate as the original Indians of America.

        • Sally says:

          That’s what I asked our refugee tennants last week and they drew-up a list of possibilities, that was a long one. But they could not agree upon which were the real causes, and they quarrelled a lot about this, we had to calm them down.

      • Dave says:

        I do find Mr. Borstlap’s comments entertaining. When he throws around the terms ‘ignorant, racist’ etc. what he really means is, don’t these lower class people know who their betters are? These people should leave it up to the well educated, upper class to decide things. Unfortunately these upper class twits didn’t understand the Brexit vote or Mr. Trump’s victory.

        The underclasses are tired of unfulfilled promises and lies. These people rolled the dice and are willing to try another avenue. Some people like Borstlap will never understand how the other half live and feel.

      • Gonout Backson says:

        “These voters don’t deserve to vote if…” “…should be protected againts themselves?” Wow.

        What comes next ? Something about “false consciousness” ?

        IfIt’s extremely painful to hear it from you, of all people.

        • John Borstlap says:

          What is the point of people voting against their own interests? And helping a buffoon to power? Is the tyranny of a self-destructive majority democracy? What if democracy and freedom can cancel themselves?

          • Gonout Backson says:

            The point is democracy. You know : the worst of them all, except all the others. The “against their own interest” formula is marxist to the core. You cannot give some people the right to vote, because they vote against their best “class interests”. A classic, I’m sorry to say.

            It’s really quite simple : either ALL the people vote as they deem fit, or no one does, and you have abolished democracy. It has been done before, and will probably happen again, since so many people still think there is “right” and “wrong” there. There isn’t. No vote outcome is “right” or “wrong”. It’s just numbers, and THEN we think again what WE have done wrong to provoke this outcome. This is how it works. And if we consider people have voted AGAINST their best interest, let’s try to understand WHY they thought it was IN their best interest to vote so, because that’s what people do.

            Maybe it’s too early, but I’m still waiting to hear something along these lines after Trump’s victory.

            As for Mrs Le Pen, I’ve been observing the rise of the Front National from the 16% in a small, provincial town in the mid-80s, to the full grown 30% on the national level. 30 years of hard work from all concerned. And still no one asks himself in France how it could have happened, what have we done wrong, and what we should do to stop it.

          • John Borstlap says:

            To Backson:

            If a marxist claims that 2 + 2 = 4, that does not make the observation a marxist one.

            If a population cannot vote for the ‘common good’ of which they are themselves a part, democracy is in structural trouble. In the American constitution is written a safety measure against the tyranny of the majority, and one can only hope that it works.

            The french problem is, as far as I see it, their principle of keeping religion and race out of state discussions. This makes it very difficult to help disenfranchised groups who cling together because of religious, cultural and ethnic background, to see them as a ‘group’ with special needs. The alternative view of multiculturalism understood as group thinking (the individual is first and foremost representative of his group and not an individual as such) did not help, and thus there does not seem to be immigration/integration programmes in France as there are in Germany.

          • Gonout Backson says:

            I’m sorry but I would like to get it right : what is the “2+2=4” here? That “some people shouldn’t have the right to vote because they vote against their best interests?”.

            If that is your thinking, you have two problems : to define the “best interests” (there might be some controversy there), and to define the “some people” (some of the some might not agree, and consider the attempt as – look at that! – tyranny).

          • Dave says:

            Interesting. Instead of a buffoon we should have chosen Mrs. Clinton. A person who gloated when Gaddafi was sodomize with a metal instrument. Mrs. Clinton, a true globalist if there ever was one. She was waiting for the coronation that never happened. Thankfully we have seen the last of the Clinton royal family.

  • Will Duffay says:

    I can see both sides of this, but le Pen’s mob isn’t going away, and only last week she said that ‘not a hair’s breadth’ separates the Front National and UKIP. So we need to hear and address the specific points of these far-right parties, because let’s be clear: they’re not going away. Trump is here, the right-wing Brexit nutters are in charge in the UK, the Daily Heil is trying to subvert the processes of justice. We need to hear, understand, fight back.

  • harold braun says:

    Bullshit…..Mr.Leberecht should know better about A.H.Personally,as a jew and child of Hitler refugees,I find those idiotic and tasteless comparisons an insult to the victims of Hitler.Makes me sick….

  • L.F. says:

    A bit of Googling would show increasing Jewish support for the French National Front. Read Michel Houellebecqs “Submission” to find out why: In a future Muslim dominated France Jews would have no place. Same for Germany. Houellebecqs diagnosis is European suicide (while the politically correct cry fascism). Its very safe – and may I add cheap – to lecture the European continent on how to deal with Muslim mass immigration from the relative safety of Brexit shores…

    • John Borstlap says:

      Houellebecq is a crazy, untidy and unkept person, and his book based upon nonsense, just exploiting the fear of readers to get a bestseller on the rails, he should be ashamed to pour oil on the fire. But that is the type of many contemporary writers…. because they grew-up in the sixties and therefore never fully understood their own culture. European culture has always been absorbing ‘foreign’ influences and they integrate and become European, except where they are discriminated against. It is not so hard for muslems to become Europeans, and most of them do that already for years, and that is not depending upon not wearing headscarfs or not visiting the mosque.

      • L.F. says:

        John Borstlap, if you dont like Houellebecq there is the Algerian writer Boualem Sansal who independently says the same in “2084 the End of Europe” or the German Theo Sarrazin who was ostracised for saying the same in “Deutschland schafft sich ab”. Not speaking about a problem does not make it go away.

        • EricB says:

          How can he like (or dislike) Houellebecq since it’s obvious he hasn’t read even one line from him ?

          • John Borstlap says:

            If you carefully read the lettering on a tin in a supermarket, explaining at length the composition of the content, which tries to tempt the consumer to acquisition, there should be enough information to also include the possibility of rejection. Reading the extensive reviews of H’s ‘Submission’, watching a really awkward interview with the man, gave-off enough signals to protect any literate person to avoid the book – unless one would be interested to enter polemics with H, whose book is a satire, not a political pamflet. Adam Shatz, writing for the London Review of Books, states that it “is the work of a nihilist not a hater – the jeu d’esprit of a man without convictions”. The idea that an entire nation would gradually and without protest surrender to a traditionalist muslem society, is grotesk – that is what satire means: it turns reality into a joke.

            The failure to help immigrants to become french, in both a cultural and political sense, and simply ignoring and neglect whole communities who definitely needed some support to integrate, has created the french problem. What is ‘french’? Loving Napoleon and the Louvre? That should have been the discussion, instead of simply pointing to those communities with an accusing finger – which is merely increasing the problem like a self-fulfilling prophecy. People like H do not seem to believe in ‘frenchness’ or ‘Europeanness’, so of course they see merely dark, dead-end streets and make a joke of it.

          • EricB says:

            See, he even confirms. Mr. Borstlap is a living joke.

          • John Borstlap says:

            To EricB: the joke is in H’s satire…. you should read more carefully before exposing yourself.

          • EricB says:

            To John Borstlap :
            “you should read more carefully before exposing yourself.”… says the guy who admits he has not even read it !
            Don’t make yourself any more ridicule than you are !

          • John Borstlap says:

            To EricB: There exists an ‘art work’, by concept artist Piero Manzoni, called “Merda d’Artista”:


            The tin’s outside clearly indicates its content. I don’t know if anybody has ever opened it to see whether the information is correct, but it seems quite reasonable to refrain from such investigation, without being ‘ridiculous’.

          • John Borstlap says:

            “The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.”

            Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms

          • EricB says:

            Well, fortunately for the Germans of the 30’s, they had a Goebbels who decided for them what the Good and Bad books were (as well as Good art, and “degenerate” one…). Fortunately the catholics of all times have had the Vatican decide for them what they shoud read and not. And today, we’re so HAPPY and LUCKY, on slippedisc, to have a Borstlap telling us what is “shit” reading and what’s not….. Would we ever know without him ?

        • John Borstlap says:

          The problem is not: how to get rid of those immigrants, or: how to protect our civilization against destructive influences from other cultures, or: how to keep our population white, but: how to Westernize non-Western immigrants. There are many ways to solve this, but creating schisma is not one of them. If Sarrazin (whose immigrant pedigree is french, not German) had said: ‘How to Germanize immigrants’, his observations would have been understood in a different, better (= more workable) context. The differences are often not between cultures, but between developed and underdeveloped people, so education is the keyword here. With all those immigration and populism problems bubbling to the surface, it appears that what Western / European society really is, in cultural terms, is for many people a profound mystery and this void is then quickly filled with irrational, aggressive, instinctive fears.

          The hooligans who put fire in fugitive homes are not defending European civilization.

      • EricB says:

        About Houellebeck, it doesn’t seem that everyone with a sensible mind agrees with you :


        “Les lecteurs ont compris que le livre n’était pas du tout une attaque contre l’islam. Le livre a été un constat terrible et désabusé sur ce que Michel Houellebecq imagine être le futur français, c’est-à-dire un pays soumis qui abandonne son identité et qui composent avec des habitudes et des goûts culturels qui ne sont pas les siens. Donc, c’est plus un livre sur la France que sur l’islam.”
        But, of course, the best, to understand a book (and furthermore to talk about it), is to read it…..

        • Sally says:

          We discussed the matter here in the kitchen and sent-out one of the Syrians to buy the book. (He was a scholar in Damascus so he would know to find it.) Ordering it through internet is too tricky, he would find-out. He should not comment on books he did not read, it’s crazy indeed! (Last week he warned us for the Old Testament which I guess he had not read either, explaining the misprint in ‘thou shalst commit adultery’). Only thorough reading and digesting things, indiscriminately, leads to well-considered judgement. I will never forget the trouble I had with working through Mein Kampf, which was given to me by the grocer in the village, dictionary at hand – took me 8 months – but then I do now know that Hitler was a bad man but now, supported by understanding instead of mere instinctive impressions. There’s still a bunch of things I have to read but who has the time?

  • Ting Wong says:

    Lebrecht needs to stop inserting his own political views in these posts, most are anti-Brexit and anti-democratic. Democracy cuts both ways, get it?

  • George Porter says:

    What is the classical music angle on this subject? There are plenty of other fora in which we can rage at one another.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The classical music angle is obvious: the more extreme rightwing parties get power, the more classical music will be threatened, because it stands in opposition to the populist world view. State support of culture is seen by populists as a leftwing hobby, and since it does not serve a nationalist cause but is transnational in its practice, it will draw hostility and thus, will have to face funding cuts.

      • Christopher Culver says:

        I can see someone making that argument in the 1990s, but that just isn’t how things have panned out since. The ascendent far-right parties in Finland and Denmark have supported funding culture, and in regard to this and the welfare state they are often hardly distinguishable from the establishment parties(observers from outside of Europe tend to see these parties as leftist or center, just with an extreme angst over immigrants). DPP ideologues even speak of music as transnational. Of course, far-right politicians often call for funding only some classical music funded, namely traditional repertoire, while denying state support to modernism and other niche artistic movements. But that’s exactly what John Borstlap calls for in post after tiresome post here, so his objection to their policies is a bit odd.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Obviously, political populism is a complex problem. The classical music culture can be annexed for ideological ends, and it seems to me that it is important to distinguish between the motivations. When the nazis supported performances of Beethoven, Wagner and Strauss, was that a good thing? And when radio stations and the state supported ideological postwar modernism, was THAT a good thing? For whom?

  • Dennis says:

    Not only is it absurd to implicitly compare Le Pen to Hitler, but in response to the question: Yes, the BBC should have interviewed Hitler in 1932.

    In 1932 he was no different form a vast array of opposition parties in Germany and throughout Europe. He should have been interviewed and treated no differently by the media from any other politician vying for power in that era (And in 1932 most people would have given him very little chance of ever gaining power.) In fact, had he lived and had they had the opportunity, they should have interviewed him in 1945 too!.

    To interview someone who is prominent politically or culturally, and thus newsworthy, is not to endorse that person’s views. To refuse to interview him or her on grounds that their views are “out-of-bounds” would be to impose the BBC’s own political views on the news (and we know the BBC and their presenters skew far Left).

    • Gonout Backson says:

      I absolutely agree with Dennis. The role of free media is not to define what is or is not “out of bounds”. This is a fundamental principle, not open for debate. You never know where the “no freedom for the enemies of freedom” stuff ends. Or, rather, we DO know.

      • John Borstlap says:

        I don’t agree with Dennis. The reasons that the BBC did not want to inverview AH in the early thirties is probably because by that time, his ambitions were already clear, the nazis marched already in the streets, frightening and terrorizing citizens, and his rambling rhetoric predicted an attack upon any common sense and political equilibrium – as far as it existed. Whatever can be said of interbellum Brits, they formed a quite sober type of society, keen on an ordered life. At the time, just a couple of years after the bank crash of 1928, most countries were getting into a spiralling instability, especially the German-speaking countries which had lost WW I. Giving a podium to agitators would have been considered unwise, and rightly so. Treating people like MlePen as mere politicians like any other, is ignoring their attack upon society…. giving them a podium is a predictable mistake resulting from an egalitarian world view: all views are equally valid.

        Of course the problems of the banlieus have been discussed extensively, already from 2005 onwards (the Parisian riots). The problem was that it appeared to be very difficult to find a workable solution, and ms LePen won’t offer any either.

        If nobody had listened to AH, there probably had not been WW II. His crazy rants were laughed away in twenties’ Berlin, full of intellectuals, artists, cosmopolitan, modern; it was in rather backward Munich, with large populations from the peasant communities who gathered in beer cellars, where his theatrical speeches struck a chord in the nebulous, alcoholically-marinated minds of frustrated, simple folk. The comparison with Mr T-Rex is clear, although I think in the USA, alcohol was not necessary at all, voters were already drunk of their leader.

        Where tolerance bumps into intolerance, and freedom of expression into its opposite, the limits of both concepts are reached. There does not exist something like complete freedom of speech, nor complete tolerance. Media have to be very careful which sources they think worthwhile to expose to the public. That does not mean censorship, but exercising responsibility. There will always be filtering of information, and the wiser it happens, and by as many different independent channels as possible, the more chance that a more or less objective picture may arise.

  • David Osborne says:

    I’m 110% with NL on this.

  • John G. Deacon says:

    A totally fatuous mailing and one that is irrelevant to the purposes of this blog. The downside of the interview was the subtitling. In French she’s enormously articulate and sensible and expresses views that are most acceptable to a vast range of people, French and otherwise. This has sweet FA to do with AH !!

    • John Borstlap says:

      “In French she’s enormously articulate and sensible and expresses views that are most acceptable to a vast range of people, French and otherwise.”

      The same can be said of Goebbels and Hitler in the thirties:

      “In German they’re enormously articulate and sensible and express views that are most acceptable to a vast range of people, German and otherwise.”

  • EricB says:

    This article clearly shows that some people still didn’t get the hard lesson of the Trump election.
    No, Marine Le Pen is NOT another Adolph Hitler, no matter how hard some people are trying to make her look that way. And YES, thanks mostly to articles such as this one, she doesn’t even have to open her mouth to draw electors, they are all sent to her !
    It’s about time for some people to understand that indistinctively calling “fascists” all the people who have questions and issues not adressed by the “acceptable” policial parties, will not solve these issues. MLP has “grown up” because the left and right parties have refused to adress for the last 40 years the scaring issue of rising islamism in France (and addressing this issue cannot for 1 second be compared to the “jewish solution” by the nazis); because the people have felt insulted and betrayed by the policians who organized a referendum about Europe and then turned around the people’s verdict and dismissed it with contempt (like they are now trying to do with the Brexit).

    • John Borstlap says:

      MlP may not, as yet, be a Hitler, but she stands for just the things that easily produce fascism. It may be instructive to read this analysis:



      “According to the polls, Trump’s most devoted supporters aren’t the very poor but the lower middle class – the class traditionally most attracted by fascism.”

      • Mike Schachter says:

        Clearly the answer is to put the lower middle class in the gulag and impose a government under the all-wise leadership of Mr Borstlap. I am the son of Holocaust survivors and I find his patronising exaggeration ridiculous. If Jews in France are indeed increasingly backing Le Pen this sort of attitude is a major factor. It was not FN members who killed Jewish children in Toulouse or Jewish shoppers in Paris.

        • David Osborne says:

          It was not all, or even a majority of Muslims either. Thank heavens for enlightened Jewish people who understand that two wrongs don’t make a right and see in the attitudes of the far right to people of the Islamic faith, something very much akin to traditional anti- semitism.

        • John Borstlap says:

          It is not very difficult to see that LePen’s agitations offer the best possible fuel for jihadists to recrute disenfranchised, violence-hungry young men. The rant: ‘You see? they put you down’ from jihadists is very atrtractive for a certain kind of people. What is really patronizing, and dangerously so, is to consider non-french, non-European people as second-class citizens, at best, and to let them rot in the banlieus. Unintentionally, miss LePen and jihadists collaborate to disrupt society and create mahem.

          • EricB says:

            “What is really patronizing, and dangerously so, is to consider non-french, non-European people as second-class citizens, at best, and to let them rot in the banlieus”

            Your comment clearly shows that you know NOTHING of the real situation, except for what is presented from a very biased and self-victimizing point of view.
            Have you even EVER been to France ?
            No, the “non-French and non-European” have not been left to “rot in the banlieues”. There are many other “non-French and non-European” who have immigrated to France after WW2 and the economic reconstruction of the 60’s. Surprisingly (ah, ah…) only the Maghreb/muslim migrants are still showing a reluctance to integration, contrarily to the other spanish, portuguese, polish, italian, romanian, vietnamese and chinese migrants who never complain today of “being left out” of the social ladder, nor of “rotting in the banlieues”, nor having their rights or their religious freedom trampled by “racist France”. Only a fringe of the muslim community, supported by foreign and Arab based interests, are claiming that. So get your facts straight, read something else than Liberation, before you come and deliver your science here !

          • EricB says:

            “It is not very difficult to see that LePen’s agitations offer the best possible fuel for jihadists to recrute disenfranchised, violence-hungry young men.”

            As if these “violence-hungry young men” had been waiting for Ms Le Pen’s “agitations” to act and kill !

          • Gonout Backson says:

            So, once again, let’s have facts and figures.

            Dreux, 1983 : Front National, 16%. National drama.

            France, European elections 2014 – 25%
            France, Regional elections 2015 – 27%
            France, polls 2016 – 26%-30%

            If I understand you well, instead of asking ourselves WHY it happened, and what we’ve been doing awfully wrong during these 30 years, 25% of French voters should be deprived of their voting rights.

            As for your “there will always be filtering of information”, you seem to have missed something. Yes, this : the screen you’re reading right now. The plethora of completely irresponsible and unfiltered information this gaping hole has been vomiting on the world for almost two decades. The paradigm has changed. More than ever, you must fight lies and nonsense with arguments, because in any case they run around free, with a “anti-system” badge of honour.

            P. S. I have to agree with EricB : you don’t seem to know France’s political landscape very well, the FN’s current status, its program, its rivals. They hate Europe, Germany and the US much more than they hate Muslims. They love Putin, who finances them. Mlle Le Pen, Marine’s niece, has just declared France should switch its alliances in Moscow’s favour. Moreover, they share these passions with some of the “traditional” Right (there’s a very strong “Putin” faction in the Republicains party, with at least two serious presidential candidates in the running) and with the Left (Mr Mélenchon’s – 13-15% in latest polls – idols are Chavez and Putin, and his anti-German pamphlet is full of ultra-nationalistic rage).

          • David Osborne says:

            Eric B. “As if these “violence-hungry young men” had been waiting for Ms Le Pen’s “agitations” to act and kill ! ”

            So the spike in hate crime in the aftermath of both Brexit and the Trump election, as acknowledged by law enforcement in both countries, is sheer coincidence?

          • John Borstlap says:

            To EricB: The difference between non-muslem immigrants in France and Algeriens, Moroccans, sub-Saharan-Africans etc. is their skin colour and their coming from much less developed areas. If the state had made such categorisations per group, it could have done something about it when giving citizenship, but they did not, because of the taboo on ‘labelling’ people according to culture, race, background. Now the extreme-right tries to correct that but in an entirely negative way. Not so difficult to see that. (And by the way, I lived in Paris for a year and know something of french culture and history.) Read Alain Finkielkraut’s.”La défaite de la pensée”, Gallimard (1987).

          • Gonout Backson says:

            @John Borstlap
            Do you evoke Finkielkraut as “racist” or “anti-racist”? Because in some circles on the left he’s considered as close to FN. One example of many : a socialist MP declared even that “were he not Jewish, he would be the spokesperson for FN”.

          • EricB says:

            To Gonout Backson :

            “were he not Jewish, he would be the spokesperson for FN”.
            It’s not very difficult, these days, to be accused of being a FN supporter. You just have to voice any slightest criticsm of Islam, and you’re tagged as the worst fascist/racist. But this approach is increasingly hard to justify as there are many voices from all political/cultural horizons who point out to the dangers of the rising islamofascism (without putting the blame on the whole muslim community), who cannot by all means be tagged as FN : Celine Pina, from the Socialist party, Boualem Sansal, Kamel Daoud, Zineb El-Razhoui and a few others from within the muslim (or ex-muslim) community, such intellectual figures as Natacha Polony or Michel Onfray, and finally this group of muslims who recently issued this statement :

            For those who still doubt that the rise of extremist islamism in France, they should read this, and then make up their own mind.


            And for those who insist in instauring a fascism trial to Marine Le Pen, I’d like them to show the FACTS and proposals in her program supporting such a trial. There’s certainly nothing close to a wall (even though, rightfully she advocates for a better control of national borders), nor to the deportation of millions of migrants. Nor has she planned to install a creationnist supporter as the head of Education…. Many people are trying to confuse her with her father (indeed a bigoted racist) or her niece (a dangerous Sarah-Pallin like catholic extremist), but she’s neither of them.

          • Gonout Backson says:

            What is particularly disturbing in Mrs Le Pen phenomenon, is the all-too-classical association of nationalism (anti-UE, anti-German), authoritarianism (admiration for Putin, and/or his money) and a socialist economic program, concocted by Mr Philippot, her ideological guru of chevènementist extraction – an origin he shares with Mr Mélenchon. Those ready to vote FN to counter the islamist threat could wake up in a very curious Republic.

          • EricB says:

            I wouldn’t go as far as saying that there’s noting to criticize in MLP’s program. But again, many people are making strange shortcuts in their analysis to suit their anti-fascist ideology. The comparison with some ideas that led to the rise of Nazism are easy to make, but most of them are, in my opinion, totally unfounded : Anti-Europe and anti-Germany ? Her desire to bring back France’s sovereignty on its own affairs can’t be compared to a Hitler desire for a “Great Germany” (like we now have with Trump for a “Great America”. And certainly there are LOTS of facsist out there in Europe who want to regain their country’s sovereignty that Europe is n ow denying them for the interests of international corporations, but not the interests of the peoples. And her “anti-Germany” attitude is not made of a racist ground, like Hitler’s. It’s mereley refusal to let Germany reap the greater benefits of the idea of Europe, while France is left behind not having a word to say on any matters.
            As for Putin’s money, she got it LEGALLY where she could find it when there was a blockus for the FN to get any funds. Oh yeah, the Republicans can bring that on table and we’ll remind them of the illegal suitcases of black money from Libya, ahem…..
            Well, yeah the FN voters could “wake up in a very curious Republic”. But we already all are in a very curious Republique, where secularism (laïcité) is being sold to the best offerer (from Vatican to Saudia Arabia)… Where deals are made not with Putin maybe, but with all the others, including China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran…. Where a national referendum about Europe is disregarded because its result didn’t fit the expected answer…. Where electoral campaigns are organized in a totaly illegal way and funded by dictators compared to which Putin is an altar boy… Where education has been going down the drain for the last 40 years… Etc, etc, etc….
            Again I’m NOT saying MLP and the FN propose only ideal and workable solutions to the many problems France is facing (but France is indeed facing them mostly because of the ineffective solutions proposed by all the others in power since WW2, and assuredly because of their refusal to see realities that the FN has been the only one to denounce for the last 40 years), but that most of the accusations of fascism she’s facing are total bullshit.
            And one last little video of ex French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin (Socialist Party) :

      • David Osborne says:

        John I get that, but it’s also important to remember that elections in western democracies are decided by that relatively small contingent of swinging voters. The few that don’t have a fixed position. Don’t underestimate the influence in this case of disenfranchised blue collar workers fed up with the failure of the soft left but predominantly neoliberal governments to deliver anything of substance that improvestheir lives.

  • John Borstlap says:

    To Backson’s Finkielkraut references, whether F is racist or anti-racist:

    From his ‘La défaite de la Pensée’ it appears that he defends the unique properties of the individual being, and is against labelling people according to ethnicity, culture etc. as a group. If people think he is a racist, they have either not read this book or not understood it. Labelling an individual first and foremost as representing a group, is pushing him back into the collective, assuming a priori he has only group character, and missing any potential that may be there to take action as an individual. The result is, in practice, that people being treated thus, shrink back into their group – indeed, and act out a self-fulfilling prophecy. Finkielkraut is against the multicultural idea that people are merely representing groups and cultures, and appeals to individualism and indivitual responsibility, which should be supported. So, that is the opposite of what Ms LePen is ranting about.

    The french difficulty is – as far as I have understood, that if you consider every single (legal) citizen as an independent individual first, that means ignoring any difference his/her background may have with other people, and according to the constitution that seems to be right. But in the same time, this prevents developing special programs for underprivileged groups, because such programs have to first acknowledge and categorize such groups and THAT is seen as racist, culturalphobic, etc. etc. and it is here where the PC culture comes-in: well-meant to prevent discrimination, but in reality supporting it. To compensate for the underdevelopment of groups, the law has to be changed, and that touches all the sensitive spots of french history: the revolution, enlightenment, Code Napoléon etc. etc.

    The best way of treatment of the problem seems to be the German one, where both groups are signalled and the individual is treated ‘equal’, a difficult balance act which will not always be successful, but it seems to me that it is still the best approach.

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Since you read French, and the subject seems to be of interest to you, let me recommend three books by Malika Sorel, born in France of Algerian parents :

    Le Puzzle de l’intégration : Les pièces qui vous manquent, Éditions Mille et Une Nuits, 2007
    Immigration, Intégration : Le langage de vérité, Éditions Mille et Une Nuits, 2011
    Décomposition française : Comment en est-on arrivé là ?, Fayard, 2015

  • Gonout Backson says:

    I have neither compared Marine Le Pen to Hitler nor called her “fascist”.

    • EricB says:

      No, not you. But that’s the point of the whole article. So I was responding to your arguments as well as to those who do.