The manhunt dividing Belgium

Belgium’s leading virologist is in hiding, holed up with his family in a government safe house. The reason? A right-wing Flemish soldier. Jürgen Conings disappeared from his home on 17 May, leaving behind a booby-trapped car and a series of letters laying out his grievances against ‘the regime’. In a goodbye letter to his partner, Conings wrote: The so-called political elite, joined now by the virologists, are deciding how you and I should live… I don’t care whether I die or not, but I will live my last days the way I want. The muscular 5ft 9in former corporal is now officially a grade-4 terror risk. But that hasn’t stopped

Why the far-right flourishes in East Germany

A spectre is haunting Germany — the spectre of the AfD. Having come to prominence on a wave of anti-migrant sentiment, most German commentators believed that the Alternative für Deutschland was now a spent force. The party had been able to attract centre-right voters following the 2015 migrant crisis, many of whom may not have agreed with its entire manifesto but sought a political outlet for their scepticism of Merkel’s handling of the crisis. But last year, its national polling dropped to just over half the level of support it enjoyed in late 2018. The pandemic has brought to the surface many of the AfD’s most extreme members and activists,

Germany’s growing extremism problem

On 2 June 2019, a German politician was found lying in a pool of blood outside his home in Hesse. He had been shot in the head at close range with a .38 Rossi revolver. Walter Lübcke, the 65-year-old leader of Kassel city council, who had been a vocal supporter of Germany’s immigration policy, had been assassinated by a German member of the British neo-Nazi group Combat 18. On Tuesday, his killer was sentenced to life in prison. Lübcke’s murder is the most extreme example of Germany’s increasingly alarming relationship with immigration, anti-Semitism, and fanatical politics. Last year Armin Laschet, the chancellor candidate for Lübcke’s CDU party, dispatched a veiled

Poles apart | 19 May 2016

Bono has a new opponent: Liroy, a tattooed Polish rapper whose hits include ‘Jak Tu Sie Nie Wkurwic’ (‘How can I not get pissed off?’). He was outraged when the U2 singer recently claimed that Poland is succumbing to ‘hyper-nationalism’. In an open letter Liroy wrote: ‘Your knowledge on this subject must be based on a rather questionable source and is far from the truth. Both as a musician and a Polish MP I would like to invite you to Warsaw to discuss the subject… and see for yourself the current vibe of Poland.’ It’s obvious where Bono got the idea. Everyone in western Europe seems convinced that Polish democracy

Pitching at the centre will do the Tories no good

Gosh, it’s depressing watching the natural party of government committing slow-motion suicide. It’s depressing even if you’re not, as I am, an instinctive and more or less lifelong Conservative. What it means is that Britain is on the verge of losing its most effective, tried-and-tested prophylactic against the misery of socialism. Sure, there are lots of other parties competing to perform this function: Ukip; the Brexit party; the SDP; For Britain. But will any of them be able to do enough to avert the dread possibility of a regime led by Jeremy Corbyn? Let me first explain why I know that the Conservatives are doomed. It’s not so much to

Is Le Pen really ‘far-right’?

What is ‘far-right’? With the progress of Marine Le Pen to France’s presidential run-off, the term has been liberally used — as it has been over recent years across the West. Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, and the Sweden Democrats are all said to be far-right, to name but three. The fact that the first two of those groups engage in intimidation, racism and overt displays of political violence would ordinarily distinguish them from a peaceful democratic party opposed to mass immigration like the Sweden Democrats. Yet everywhere there is the same name creep. The website Breitbart is frequently called far-right, as is the administration of Donald Trump.

A meeting with Britain’s most hated man

‘Christ, I would be shot for buying this if people knew,’ says an anonymous fan in the comments below Amazon’s unlikely bestseller Enemy of the State. Which sums up how I feel before meeting the book’s author, Tommy Robinson. What if he turns out to be not nearly as bad as his reputation as ‘Britain’s most hated man’? What if, as some familiar with him have warned, I turn out to like him and want to plead his cause, and end up being tainted as a far-right thug by association? We meet in a gastropub in a pretty Georgian market town. It’s only ten minutes from the ‘shithole’ of a

Kids’ stuff | 6 October 2016

When a new TV channel calls its flagship food show Fuck, That’s Delicious, we might surmise that the Reithian ideals are not foremost in its corporate philosophy. You probably haven’t heard of Viceland. You certainly haven’t watched it. It seeped on to the airwaves with little fanfare and few viewers. Viceland is the new 24-hour TV channel of Vice Media, the Canadian-American outfit that describes itself as the ‘world’s preeminent youth media company and content creation studio’. Vice began in 1994 as a magazine but now encompasses a news division, a record label, a film studio and myriad digital ventures. It prides itself on being ‘alternative’, ’disruptive’, sticking it to

Sweden’s refugee crisis

 Stockholm For a British boy to be killed by a grenade attack anywhere is appalling, but for it to happen in a suburb of Gothenburg should shatter a few illusions about Sweden. Last week’s murder of eight-year-old Yuusuf Warsame fits a pattern that Swedes have come slowly to recognise over the years. He was from Birmingham, visiting relatives, and was caught up in what Swedish police believe is a gang war within the Somali community. Last year, a four-year-old girl was killed by a car bomb outside Gothenburg, another apparent victim of gang violence. Fraser Nelson and Ivar Arpi discuss the Swedish model for migration on this week’s Spectator podcast:

Can a nutter also be a terrorist?

When is a nutter not a nutter, but a politically motivated terrorist? And are those two states of being always mutually exclusive? Or are they always the same thing? That first question was asked, in a fairly gentle manner, by a Muslim mate of mine on a social media site. The thread had been about the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox — and my friend was a little surprised to note the ease, if not eagerness, with which other commentators were ready to describe the alleged murderer as being simply a ‘loony’. I do not know, and will not pre-judge, the state of mind of Thomas Mair, the

Why I left

[audioplayer src=”http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/thedeathoftheleft/media.mp3″ title=”Nick Cohen and Fraser Nelson discuss the death of the left” startat=32] Listen [/audioplayer]‘Tory, Tory, Tory. You’re a Tory.’ The level of hatred directed by the Corbyn left at Labour people who have fought Tories all their lives is as menacing as it is ridiculous. If you are a woman, you face misogyny. Kate Godfrey, the centrist Labour candidate in Stafford, told the Times she had received death threats and pornographic hate mail after challenging her local left. If you are a man, you are condemned in language not heard since the fall of Marxist Leninism. ‘This pathetic small-minded jealousy of the anti-democratic bourgeois shows them up for

UKIP: The First 100 Days, Channel 4, review: a sad, predictable, desperate hatchet job

Just three months into Ukip’s shock victory as the party of government and already Nigel Farage’s mob are starting to show their true colours: morris dancing has been made compulsory for every able-bodied male between the age of 30 and 85; in ruthlessly enforced union flag street parties, brown-skinned people are made to show their loyalty by eating red-, white- and blue-coloured Battenberg cakes until they explode. And what is that acrid smell of burnt fur now polluting Britain’s hitherto gloriously carbon-free air? Why it is all the kittens that Nigel Farage and his evil henchmen are tossing on to beacons from John O’Groats to Land’s End in order to

Hug a hoodie: can there really be a kinder, gentler Ku Klux Klan?

 New York Without the unifying force of anger and the excitement of violence, the Klan is falling apart The Ku Klux Klan is rebranding. It’s less lynchings and cross burning these days, more novelty kitchenware (fancy an ‘Original Boyz N the Hood’ mug?), family barbecues and children’s TV shows. The traditional dress code — white robes, hoods, cone hats — still applies, by and large, but the rest of the Klan is having a makeover. ‘White supremacy is the old Klan, this is the new Klan,’ says John Abarr, a KKK chapter head from Great Falls, Montana. ‘The KKK is for a strong America. We’re not about violence. We’re about

It’s OK to mention anti-Semitic attacks – but not who commits them

I was attacked by a swan the other day, as I walked along the bank of the River Stour in Kent. The creature climbed out of the water and lunged towards me, wings puffed up, making this guttural and hate-filled coughing noise. I kicked out at its stupid neck and told it to fuck off and the bird backed away towards the river, still making that demented hissing, like a badly maintained boiler. At first I was mystified as to how I had gained its enmity. I wasn’t near its mate and still further distant from its sallow and bedraggled idiot children. Nor had I advanced towards it, or even