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False prophets will ruin us

Connexion reader Norman Longworth explains how Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen's message is false.

France and Britain are moving along parallel lines.
In France a resurgent Front National wins seats and towns, and in Britain an equally odious demagogue is winning the hearts and minds of the British.

It isn’t easy to give reasoned arguments when debating with clever, articulate and, ultimately, dangerous demagogues. Le Pen in France, Berlusconi in Italy and Farage in the UK appeal to the latent xenophobia and chauvinism of the more gullible people by presenting spurious arguments based on resentment, negativity and the illusion of “specialness”. Reason is powerless against such emotive argument.

The world is not at all as they say. It is a highly competitive, globalised trading machine in which only the strong and the outward-looking will win. In the cold light of reality, Britain is a small island off the north west coast of Europe and France its larger neighbour.
They both have glorious pasts based on colonisation, military power and manufacturing exports, most of which have disappeared for more than 60 years.

Britain especially has lost 80% of its manufacturing base since the Second World War and yet has increased and, like France, diversified its population.

For relatively small countries like Britain and France, their only chance of remaining prosperous is to work with the other nations of Europe. In this way they can stand up to the power and financial clout of Asia, north America and an emerging South America.
Alone, they cannot possibly afford the investment in research, development and innovation needed to survive in the modern world, and must share this effort. They cannot deal with climate change alone.

Contrary to the propaganda from Right wing politicians, neither Britain nor France are prevented from interacting and trading with other nations in different parts of the world. Mr Farage’s and Mme le Pen’s message is false.

They prey on people’s emotional insecurities by demonising immigrants, politicians, industrialists, bankers, foreigners and any group which has a wider view of the world than their claustrophobic, selfinterested vision of the future.
Yes, the EU is not perfect. There is corruption, though not on the scale described by its opponents in the tabloid newspapers.
Both Britons and French would be better served by opening their minds and hearts to other cultures, to the financial and life-enhancing benefits of diversity and above all to the nature of the real 21st century world, rather than listening to the false prophets who would close down minds, hearts and, eventually, the country.

Norman Longworth, by email

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