AFTER many days of entirely bogus allegations of fascism we finally caught a glimpse of the real thing this week – and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
It happened during an international football match in the Bulgarian capital Sofia when a section of the home crowd started giving Nazi salutes and chanting obnoxious racial abuse aimed at black English players.
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To those naïve enough to believe the European Union is the fount of all that is good in the world this must have come as a terrible shock.
But to anyone with even a passing interest in European politics it was no surprise at all, because racism and overt fascism are commonplace in many EU countries.
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And we are talking about real fascism here, not the “Anyone who disagrees with me is worse than Hitler” sort that we hear constantly from the woke Left. No, these guys strut around giving straight-arm salutes and wearing swastikas and other Nazi insignia. They venerate Hitler, Mussolini and Franco and espouse the sort of vile anti-Semitism that has become so fashionable in the British Labour party.
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And they are hardly fringe elements. The Hungarian neo-fascist party Jobbik gained 19 per cent of the vote in 2018 elections, and in Greece the similarly aligned Golden Dawn was at one point the third largest party in the country, although it has declined more recently.
The truth is the Continent has a long and shameful history of popular support for fascism that, in Germany for example, has sometimes ended in disaster for its people.
And, as recently as the 1970s, Spain, Portugal and Greece were ruled by military dictatorships. The veneer of democracy is exceedingly thin in places.
The contrast with the UK couldn’t be starker. From Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in the 1930s to the present day, extreme far right parties have found little political traction and have attracted a vanishingly small degree of popular support. Surveys have found the British to be among the most tolerant and least racist people in the EU.
It is worth noting that many in the British Asian communities see the EU as institutionally racist. This is because the freedom of movement rules discriminate against people from countries populated mainly by black and Asian people, in favour of people from countries populated mainly by whites.
So, for example, the EU decrees that the orthopaedic surgeon from Kenya and the software engineer from India have no automatic right of entry to the EU, but the unemployed Bulgarian fascist can go where he pleases.
Indeed, any of those Nazi thugs we saw on our television screens this week could stroll into Britain spreading their poison and we are obliged to welcome them with open arms.
Wouldn’t it be better – and much fairer – if we based our immigration policies on talent and qualifications and sought to attract the brightest and best from across the globe, regardless of skin colour? Of course we can only do that once we have cut ourselves free from the European Empire to become an independent, self-governing nation once again as Boris Johnson is attempting to do with his new Brexit deal.
Elsewhere in the wonderfully tolerant EU, a Spanish court handed down jail sentences of between nine and 13 years to nine activists. Their crime? Demonstrating peacefully for Catalan independence.
The result has been several nights of rioting in the Catalan capital Barcelona. If you stop people from getting what they want through democratic means, you are asking for trouble. The UK should take note.
Back in Bulgaria the England team had the perfect response to the abuse they received – they thrashed the home team 6-0 with black players among the goal scorers. They conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism despite the extreme provocation they were subjected to. Their behaviour was exemplary and we should be immensely proud of every last one of them.
As we do in football, we should do in politics. We should be allowed to pick our own team without interference from anybody else and we should compete against other nations in a spirit of friendly rivalry.
We should no more allow our laws to be decided by an unaccountable and unelected bureaucracy in Brussels than to allow Jean-Claude Juncker to pick our national football team.