Editorial: Voters across Europe again show that they want immigration fears to be taken seriously

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News Letter editorial on Monday June 10 2024:

​France’s president, Emanuel Macron, last evening recognised the defeat of his preferred candidates in the European elections: "I've heard your message, your concerns, and I won't leave them unanswered.”

Mr Macron said that only a snap election would underscore his democratic credentials.​ This is a bold move, because it could further boost the hard right in France. The National Rally party of Marine Le Pen dominated the election results, just as in Germany the anti immigrant party Alternative for Germany came second.

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Whenever such parties have had success in the past there has been plenty of hand wringing and talk about the threat to democracy from unsavoury political movements and so on. What about taking the concerns of voters seriously? And acknowledgement of the fact that it is the UK, the country sneered by European elites, is the one in which the hard right has not taken hold. But leaders in Britain and across Europe have ignored concerns about immigration, about woke extremism, about policies decided by judges who think they know better than the people, about Islamic extremism. Re the latter, people know intuitively that the liberals who rail against Islamophobia are then scathing about traditional Christian values that are invariably more moderate and tolerant than the Muslim varieties.

Will anything change? Both Labour and the Tories have vowed to be tough in immigration in this campaign, but it is too late from both: too late from the party that has held power for 14 years and too late from the party that wanted an even more liberal immigration policy than the Conservative one.

Amid huge immigrant numbers across the continent it is reasonable for voters everywhere to be concerned about their impact on their culture and the impact on the job prospects of the poorest paid workers among the existing population.