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After Brexit and Trump: Austria, France, Italy and The Netherlands are swinging right

After Brexit and Trump: Austria, France, Italy and The Netherlands are swinging right

Geert Wilders with his wife Krisztina.

If you are in shock over Trump and Pence, please climb down out of your convenient bubble of decency and join me in today’s harsh reality.

The signs were there all the time. The American, uneducated, indignant and often unemployed white man is angry. He wasn’t at first but a certain opportunist billionaire told him to be. That man is Donald Trump.

And if you like it or not, he is the incarnation of the American Dream. Trump is affluent like no other and not controlled by statesmen or politicians. He is rich and free.

The only differences between him and Batman is that Trump lacks the gadgets and is actually of this world – although some might beg to differ on that last point. You probably need to be American to understand his hero status.

I’m quite convinced Trump isn’t right wing at all. Just a good marketer and ruthless when it comes to the kill.

He recognised the poor white majority was easy to target and had lost faith in the Republican Party. If the Democratic Party had been in as much turmoil as the Republicans were, he would surely have swung left instead.

As a businessman, he first creates demand and then subsequently offers a product. His product is Pence and the other lunatics – puppets that feed Trump’s megalomania. Oh, if only Shakespeare were still alive to see this.

Europe swinging right

Meanwhile, in Europe, right wing politicians are also on the rise. This Sunday Austrians will cast their vote for a new president. The far-right FPÖ party’s Norbert Hofer is in the lead.

On that very same day, Italians will take part in a referendum. Left-wing, pro-gay Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is asking Italy to get rid of the country’s elected senate in favor of an appointed one. The idea is to stop years of political log-jamming which stops the country moving forward.

But Renzi has also made the referendum about his own future as the country’s leader. If they say ‘no’, he will resign and the nationalist Northern League would most likely take over. If you don’t know the Northern League, think Silvio Berlusconi to the max. An Itexit – Italian Brexit – is not unthinkable.

On my door step, in France, president François Hollande has not delivered on many of his promises and his popularity has plummeted. His socialist party looks unlikely to present a viable candidate for 2017’s presidential election.

So the winner will either be the very conservative François Fillon or the extreme right wing Marine Le Pen. If Americans ever again complain about having to choose between two evils: try looking at France: it can always get worse.

Geert Wilders and The Netherlands

In my home country, The Netherlands, we elect our national representatives on 15 March 2017.

In our parliamentary democracy different political parties have to work together in a coalition. For the last four years, socialists and liberal conservatives held each other in a deadly embrace. The result has been a lot of disappointment for a large number of people.

Geert Wilders – who has likened the Quran to Mein Kampf – has seized this opportunity to build momentum for his Freedom Party.

The polls show Wilders now runs the biggest party, with 22% of all votes. In the Netherlands there are 13 different national political parties, all with their own agenda. Wilders’ agenda? Anti-Muslim and anti-Europe.

After Donald Trump won the elections, Wilders was the first person CNN called. He is an international celebrity with a questionable image.

But unlike Putin or Pence, who despise all they view as ‘left’ or ‘weak’, Wilders has never attacked the LGBTI community. Not that he’s pro LGBT – his entire electoral program consists of no more than one sheet of paper. LGBT is just not on his radar.

There is only a slim chance he will govern. Other parties are already ruling out the going into a coalition with his Freedom Party. No one is keen to work with Wilders.

It’s up to us to stop them

And the LGBTI community is not a fan of Wilders or his views. Why should we be bothered by him? The answer comes from the straight, Muslim mayor of Rotterdam. His name is Ahmed Aboutaleb and a few weeks ago I gave him the Winq Award.

He phrased it perfectly: ‘If a minority group lays a claim on societal freedom, it is impossible that they do not render the same freedom to other minority groups.’

When Aboutaleb came from Morocco to The Netherlands as a child, it was the LGBT community that welcomed him. And he hadn’t forgotten.

In countries where right wing politicians seize power, minority groups should not lay back and relax.

Mentally deficient middle aged white men (often it’s men) or those with extremist religious beliefs will crawl from underneath the stones they have been hiding under. They will smell change in the air and see the opportunity to bring others down. We must never give these rednecks that opportunity.

This storm will pass. Let’s hope they don’t break too much of what we’ve been building before it does.

Edwin Reinerie is founding editor on the Amsterdam based Winq magazine and managing director of the Media MANsion.

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