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Could French, British domestic politics account for the difference?

Reader comment on item: Weak Brits, Tough French

Submitted by Joshua Truax (United States), Jul 22, 2005 at 13:41

It occurs to me that the French political establishment may have a secondary motive for their tougher stance against France-based Islamic supremacists: to steal the thunder of the French far right, such as Jean-Marie Le Pen and his followers.

The reasoning: If we don't at least appear to be cracking down hard on Islamists, we risk losing votes in future elections to ultra-nationalists and/or cultural conservatives like Le Pen, whose staying power as a third-party politician over the years puts America's Ross Perot and Ralph Nader to shame.

Britain, on the other hand, has yet to see a cultural-conservative movement or politician in the same vein as Le Pen or Holland's late Pim Fortuyn emerge as a serious threat to the balance of power in Parliament. Indeed, Britain's most prominent minor-party MP is none other than George Galloway, who has clearly thrown in with the Islamists.
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