Those out there on the alt-right share one clear trait: paranoia. Someone, somewhere is coming to get them. Worse, someone else is coming to take away their freedom of speech. So it was that a number of alt-right alumni converged on Brussels to show the world that they were an endangered species, holding a conference titled “Free speech in the age of censorship” at the European Parliament, which they all hate.
Janice Atkinson. Claims to be an MEP
But they do not hate the EP enough to refuse an offer to use its facilities. Thus it was that Janice Atkinson, the MEP who was too poisonous even for UKIP, and her group “The Europe of Nations and Freedom” hosted the bash. The thought occurs that talking of “freedom” while removing the same freedom from every citizen of the UK might come over as slightly hypocritical, and that the freedom of speech complaint fails by default.
Viewers may still want to look away now
After all, if the so-called establishment wants to take away the alt-right’s freedom of speech, then what is the most establishment part of Brussels doing providing them with, er, freedom of speech? The lineup wasn’t exactly inspiring, either, including Stefan Molyneux, a backer of the White Genocide conspiracy theory, and Lauren Southern, last seen pushing a similar idea about white South African farmers.
Fascist fringe leader Anne Marie Waters was on the bill, as was Imam Mohammed Tawhidi, which would provide a shield against accusations of Islamophobia, were he not so badly discredited, and indeed nowadays widely characterised as a Fake Imam.
The far right gathering has also attracted James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingople, reduced to a prop for pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins. It has been so wildly successful that, apart from those already identified, very few have talked about it, promoted it, or even said anything about it. The exercise has been an expensive flop.
Why that should be can be deduced from the antics of Ms Hopkins, who cheerily strolled around the EP building videoing Herself Personally Now and telling anyone out there “Disregard the bolshy press lines. In truth, The European Parliament is a deeply nervous place. The end of British cash will leave a huge hole … Bureaucrats are scrabbling about like syphillitic crabs for budget, positions & jobs”. Yeah, right.
How many “bureaucrats” does she thus identify? None. How many does she question? None. What figures does she use to back up her claims? None. But she is labouring under the delusion that the EP doesn’t know how it will manage without “British money”. She also predicts that what she calls “populists” - for which, read others with a tendency to fascism - will win big in this year’s EP elections. Because she supports them.
What Hatey Katie and her pals really need to look to, though, is that apart from a BuzzFeed report that shows how dreadful even the organisers’ research has been, there has been very little coverage of the conference. But then, being reduced to getting co-sponsorship from a group whose figurehead is best known for sticking her fingers up at those who oppose her means you’re probably out of other options.
If that’s how popular “populism” is across Europe right now, it won’t be going anywhere in those upcoming elections. And nor will this ragbag of fascists. Good thing too.
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