Best columns: Europe
Why Brits now lean to the left
The Daily Telegraph
“Socialism has turned out to be this year’s surprise hit,” said Fraser Nelson. Ever since Jeremy Corbyn was selected leader of the opposition Labor Party two years ago, members of the ruling Conservative Party have treated the Palestinian-hugging, nukehating far-left politician “as a historical burp, a blast of foul air from the ’70s creating a temporary stink in Westminster.” But Corbyn has not gone away and his fringy Marxist ideas are now widely accepted as reasonable. New research by a rightleaning think tank has revealed that three-quarters of voters strongly back Corbyn’s plans to nationalize the U.K.’s water, gas, and electricity companies. Even among supposedly free market–cheering Conservatives, two-thirds support renationalizing the railways. Half the country would be thrilled to have the state take over the banks, something even Corbyn hasn’t proposed, “so if anything, he’s to the right of the mainstream” these days. Voters too young to have seen images of Soviet bread lines have found themselves priced out of homeownership and want the government to do something. “Capitalism is proving unpopular among those with no capital,” and so the Conservatives are now trying to appease voters by adopting Labor policies. That’s a losing strategy. The party must “make the moral case for small government and lower taxes”—or risk ceding Britain to socialism.
Germany’s neo-Nazis terrify us
Those of us who remember the Nazi occupation of Greece are appalled at the outcome of Germany’s recent election, said Pantelis Boukalas. The far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD)— made up of “the bigots, the migrant-hunters, in short the 21st century’s Nazis”—is now the third-largest bloc in the lower house of the German national legislature. Its adherents, many of them young, “refuse to feel any historical guilt or sense of responsibility” for their country’s horrific crimes during World War II. Instead, they “take pride in what the German soldiers achieved.” AfD supporters aren’t Holocaust deniers: They’re worse. They acknowledge that Hitler committed genocide in killing 6 million Jews, but they shrug it off as just one of those things that happens in war. If these Germans “treat Auschwitz as a detail, one does not want to imagine what they think of the Distomo killings,” the 1944 massacre of 214 Greek civilians, when SS soldiers went door to door in the village of Distomo, slaughtering civilians, even bayoneting babies, as punishment for Greek partisan resistance. Greeks are now gripped by “chills and fear” as we once again see the basest nationalism spreading across Germany. If the AfD imposes its leadership on other far-right parties across Europe, the cancer will only spread. “We cannot afford to drop our guard.”