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Coffee House The Spectator Podcast

The Spectator Podcast: who are the real far right?

16 August 2019

2:21 PM

16 August 2019

2:21 PM

Is Europe overrun by fascists? To read some mainstream coverage of election results in Italy, the government in Austria, and the main opposition party in Germany, you might very well think so. Matteo Salvini, Sebastian Kurz, and the AfD are all among politicians who have been dubbed ‘far right’; and indeed, Britain’s own Jacob Rees-Mogg has had the Nazi label thrown at him, by fellow MP David Lammy, no less. But are these politicians really in a league with Hitler and Mussolini? If not, what is the far right, today?


In this week’s cover article, Douglas Murray draws the red lines that should mark the true far right. There is no doubt, he argues, that the neo-Nazi Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece, both of which oppose democratic institutions and are willing to use violence to get what they want, belong to the far right. But the dangers that they pose are watered down, hidden, when the slur of far right is also flung at Eurosceptic and nationalistic parties across the continent, like Ukip. On the podcast, Douglas is joined by someone who doesn’t quite agree – Anne McElvoy is senior editor at the Economist, and points out that it seems the tables have turned:

‘The media of the right… went banging on for years calling anybody who had redistributive policies ‘hard left’, or ‘far left’, or ‘loony left’. And The Spectator will not be able to entirely say it was not part of that…’

Ouch. We move swiftly on to our second topic of the week – No 10’s own anti-democratic power grab. In this week’s political column, Katy Balls reports the sleek war machine that Downing Street has been turned to, where ministers are loyal to the ‘grid’ – a spreadsheet that determines who has the limelight, for what policy, and when, to avoid any off-message stories – at pain of their own special advisors snitching on them to Dominic Cummings. She joins the podcast, together with Jonathan Haslam, former Director of Communications for John Major, to discuss.

And last, would you take your dog to church? Melissa Kite visited an animal blessing last week, where her working cockers Cyd and Poppy were blessed by Reverend Lindsay Meader, at St James’s Church in Piccadilly. On the podcast, Lindsay tell us exactly what’s involved in a service for animals, and we ask Melissa how her dogs got


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