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Far-right policies don’t become palatable just because mainstream politicians adopt them | Kenan Malik

The normalisation of ideas once confined to the fringes is cause for concern, not complacency

Far right? Hard right? Radical right? Or just plain right? The success in the recent EU elections of parties such as Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, or RN, (the rebadged Front National), and Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), has generated a debate about whether the label “far right” should be retired because, as Spectator editor Fraser Nelson argues, many parties that carry that moniker are “now mainstream in a way that wasn’t the case 15 years ago”.

Such parties are, for Nelson, better categorised as “new right”. Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, whose party the Brothers of Italy is descended from a fascist organisation, has shown in practice that “she is centre-right, not radical”. It is “nonsense”, Nelson insists, “to call Meloni’s party ‘post-fascist’ ” or to suggest that the disparate “new right” parties all belong to a single “ ‘far-right’ or radical-right lump”.

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