Originally Posted by Guestfellow
I'm not sure that's an accurate historical analysis. If nothing else it varies considerably across different countries, which follow different patterns, and I don't really think you can look at Europe as a whole. Nationalism, generally, in Europe is far less across Western Europe than in the previous century, not least in France!
In the UK the (extreme) right wing is as irrelevant as I have ever known it. The old 'National Front' of the 1970's and '80s was far more significant than today's British National Party which the vast majority of British voters consider a complete joke. Those with xenophobic tendenies are far more likely to vote for UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) who are an anti-EU party, not a discriminatory one. Racial prejudice still exists, and there was actually a pretty worrying piece on the radio today regarding the number of ethnic minority students admitted to Oxford but, again, overall it is no longer the huge problem it was. Likewise, in general, religious prejudice is far less than it was. Islam, though, is an exception at present, I must admit. I don't claim it to be justified
, by any means, but an awful lot of that can be linked to the incidents of 9/11, 7/7 and the perception of 'Islamists' being almost synonymous with 'terrorists' - link that to biased reporting or propaganda as you wish.
France has always had huge issues with both religion, and race, but principally just general xenophobia (Jean Marie Le Pen actually isn't actually racist per se
). The far right there has been a notable presence right back to, and even before, the Algerian War. In all honesty the burka ban is nothing compared with the policies of the Front National
in the past, although Le Pen's daughter is softening them up somewhat.
In Germany the situation is totally unique regarding far-right politics and their supression, for obvious reasons.
And in Eastern Europe bigotism is rife in many places, and presumably was just as bad before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Religious conflicts there are well known, although most are ethnically based, and it's only the east of Europe where you still tend to get racist taunts and chants at soccer matches for example, thirty years ago that was routine in England, France, Belgium, Holland and Italy.
Overall, I think the situation is hopeful. Attitudes do change, but sometimes it takes a new generation for that to happen. White british kids aren't racist because they go to school with with, talk with, and play with black and asian kids. In their grandparents, and in somne areas even in their parents day, thye could go months without seeing a black or asian person, and so such people stood out and did 'not belong'; it's still the old tribal instinct. It will be the same with religious prejudice in time. That's one reason I do support 'multiculturalism'. That sort of integration is made much, much harder when communities are kept isolated, particularly in relation to children.