Monday 5 December 2016

The Daily Mail howls of anguish that Norbert Hofer lost

The re-run of the 2016 Austrian Presidential election ended in a reasonably convincing victory for the left-wing candidate Alexander Van der Bellen over Norbert Hofer of the extreme-right Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs.

Van der Bellen stood as an independent candidate, but he's still a member of the Austrian Green Party that he was the leader of between 1997 and 2008. This means that he will be the first Green Party politician ever to serve as an elected European head of state when he is sworn in on January 26th 2017.

The defeated candidate Norbert Hofer represents Europe's growing extreme-right fringe. His Austrian Freedom Party was founded by former Nazis and the first two leaders of the party (Anton Reinthaller and Friedrich Peters) were both members of the SS during the Second World War. The Freedom Party is aligned in the European parliament with other extreme right-wingers like the French National Front, the Italian Northern League, Geert Wilders' Dutch Freedom Party and the absolute dregs of European politics like the (so corrupt she got thrown out of UKIP) independent MEP Janice Atkinson.

Hofer dislikes being called a fascist, but over the years he has done numerous things to appeal to fascists. One of the most famous examples of Hofer appealing to fascists was the time he wore the Nazi blue cornflower symbol in public. He regularly uses Nazi era language and terminology, he hangs out with extreme-right Greater Germany fanatics who deny Austria's nationhood as a fiction, and he refuses to endorse the longstanding anti-Nazi consensus in Austrian politics.

The fact that next President of Austria will not be a representative of Europe's extreme-right fringe has come as a relief to an awful lot of people. After the UK electorate voted for the chaos of a completely unplanned Brexit and then the American public voted for the chaos of electing a clearly unstable man-child as their President, the idea of Austria electing a fascist as their President didn't actually seem as utterly far-fetched as it would have done in the past.
It's understandable that a lot of people are relieved at this defeat for the lunatic far-right fringe, but the Daily Mail are bitterly disappointed at the failure of the extreme-right candidate they championed on so many occasions.

It should come as no surprise that the Daily Mail were backing the candidate for the extreme-right party that was founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s. After all, back in the 1930s the Daily Mail were enthusiastic supporters of another extreme-right fanatic from Austria called Adolf Hitler.

The Daily Mail reaction to Hofer's defeat was an extraordinary rambling tantrum of a headline accusing relieved liberals of "gloating" and mourning the loss of their fantasy that Hofer's election would have severely damaged the European Union.

Is Europe's Brexit revolution over? Gloating left-wing supporters wave 'Thank God' signs after far-right candidate LOSES Austrian presidential election which was set to deliver body blow to the EU the headline wailed.

The idea that a win for Norbert Hofer would have delivered a "body blow" to the EU is fantastical gibberish. Hofer knew perfectly well that he would stand absolutely no chance of winning the Austrian Presidency if he threatened to drag Austria out of the EU, so he repeatedly expressed pro-EU sentiments. He talked about a referendum on Austrian membership of the EU, but only if the EU introduces a new (and spectacularly unlikely) centralisation and federilisation treaty.

The pathetic efforts of the right-wing press in the UK to dress Hofer up as some kind of Austrian Nigel Farage were totally undermined by Hofer repeatedly saying stuff like "It would undoubtedly damage Austria if it were to leave the EU". But then when did gullible extreme-right fanatics like Daily Mail and Express readers ever let stuff like facts, evidence, or reality get in the way of their favoured political narratives?

The Daily Mail habit of trying to warp every bit of news to suit their anti-EU agenda was already preposterous, but trying to make out that a win for Hofer would have resulted in Brexit for Austria (Öexit) is totally fantastical rubbish. Even if Hofer had've won and then conducted a total U-turn on his EU stance, there's pretty much no chance that the Austrian public would have voted to quit the EU even if Austrian Presidents had the power to call a referendum, which they don't.

As for left-wing people "gloating", I'm pretty sure most of the celebrating Austrians were just mightily relieved to avoid the absolute embarrassment of having a far-right fanatic as their head of state.

On the other hand the piteous wailing from the Daily Mail at the defeat of their favoured extreme-right candidate certainly is cause for celebration.

The thought of some dejected Daily Mail hack crying into their keyboard over the defeat for their favoured Nazi iconography wearing extreme-right fanatic is enough to lift the spirits of anyone with the remotest shred of human decency.

The most up-voted comments beneath the Daily Mail article really are indicative of the putrid right-wing mentality that is infesting political dialogue in the UK. Several comments make the same feeble excuses for Hofer, pretending that he has no history of wearing Nazi iconography or leading a political party founded by ex-Nazis. As far as these Daily Mail readers are concerned, Hofer is apparently "only slightly right of centre". The Daily Mail readership adore Hofer because he shares the same vitriolic hatred of immigrants, and especially Muslims, as they do. Therefore Hofer can do no wrong, and anyone pointing out the fascist roots of his party is a "leftie hand-wringer".

Imagining the impotent rage of these bigoted Daily Mail mind-washed fascism apologists over the defeat of their latest extreme-right demagogue is another thing to brighten the day of any decent human being.

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