• December 2, 2023

A surprising win in the Dutch General election for the far right Freedom Party of Geert Wilders. It’s a trend across Europe of the right making gains by peddling a populist message and trading on people’s fears – real or imagined.

National parties in the Cetic countries tend to be orientated towards a left leaning social democratic agenda or in Mann here a republican socialist agenda. However in the past there have been rightist groups such as the extreme right Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and others in 1940s Ireland that enjoyed brief limited success.

For now the Dutch electorate are being promised a toned down version of Wilders previous stance which was strongly anti-Islam and tough on immigration but it will be interesting to see if they do form a government how soon it will be before the old extremism returns.

One of the ‘party pieces’ of the extreme right in Europe is Koran burning. I’m no fan of religion whether it comes wrapped in a Bible or a Koran but its as well to be mindful of the warning of the 19th century German – Jewish philosopher and poet Heinrich Heine;

“Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men.”

It’s as relevant today as it ever was!


Video on ‘Ailtirí na hAiséirghe’. A curious mix of policies on partition and the Irish language gained it initial support then it sank without trace, Nearest equivalent these days in Ireland is the National Party which hardly registers.

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (23rd November 2023)

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