Front national leader and French Presidential candidate Marine LePen has caused controversy over comments that she intends to remove free education for the children of migrants. The hopeful for the may 2017 elections noted that foreigners should not expect their children to be educated for free.
The leader, who is currently very much the outsider in the race for president against François Fillon the leader of the Conservatives and Manuel Vallis who stepped down as prime minister so that he could run for president.
The attorney turned politician is the daughter of long term Front national president Jean-Marie LePen, and in 2012 she came third in the presidential race taking 17.9% of the national vote. But in an uncertain political climate and a discernable shift to the right in western politics, it’s not inconceivable that LePen could take power. The country has recently suffered from terrorist attacks in Nice and Paris, and the far right leader will be certain to take advantage of this opportunity to push the country towards the far right.
She may be buoyed by recent wins by Donald Trump who garnered significant support by harnessing anti immigration feeling in the country to sweep to an unlikely win in the US presidential race. Also in the UK highly persuasive arguments were made against immigration and were seen as a major reason for the unlikely result of Britain voting to leave the EU.
Even Angela Merkel has stated in the last few days that she would support a ban on the full face veil worn by some Muslim women known as a burqa. This is a departure for the liberally minded Chancellor of Germany, and may be a clue that she believes that Germany may revolt against the large tide of immigrants that it has received in the last year.
Further moves to the right will be troubling for those on the left, as they seemingly become an isolated majority. Most European countries lack a strong left wing opposition, and this is also thought to be a particularly large part of the problem.
Even here in the UK a previously strong Labour opposition is currently in turmoil since the election of leader Jeremy Corbyn, as he struggles to unite the party behind him. Indeed many on the left have floated the possibility of breaking up the labour party in to two separate entities, indeed looking forward it may be necessary in order to save the left wing.
The future of immigration and progressive politics looks more under fire than ever, and with weak opposition this will only get worse. While LePen may not win, she may certainly be closer than many imagine.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.