Let me start off by stating clearly that this article does not attempt to answer the question of racism and alt-right resurgence. In fact it is the opposite, it attempts to understand the problem.
From the National Front in Britain, to Marie LePen in France, Geert Wilders in Holland, Sweden, Austria, Germany and now Italy, the Alt-right is on the rise. The first thing to note is that the National Front pre-dated its European counterparts by decades and now is not seriously wide-spread as problems go.
Is there a lesson to be learned there? Sadly, I think not. To understand why Britain went through it before everyone else, I personally believe it had to do with the shrinking empire and the number of (British) immigrants from abroad that were trying to relocate to the United Kingdom in the 60s and 70s. Eventually the government shut down this flow and the natural 'brotherhood' of people simply accepted the ones who were already there and assimilated them into their own society. Bear in mind that this was a time when terrorism conjured up images of IRA, Red Brigade in Italy and Baader-Meinhof from Germany. The term Islamic fundamentalism hadn't even been thought of. Britain didn't solve the problem, they had merely suppressed it.
Since there weren't enough incidents to confront this problem in parliament, it just lay dormant raising its ugly head every once in a while. It is my belief that Brexit gave these right-wingers the excuse to raise their head; and since they were also considered as brothers at arms by the traditional conservatives and Brexiteers who just didn't want the EU, they got away with it for a while.
Meanwhile in Europe we have a different problem. Or is it really different? The growth of liberalism and socialism was very tolerant to this group of people that many people felt sorry for. They saw them as people that were suppressed, not only by their rulers but even in their own families. From illegal homosexuality, the subservience of women, fixed marriage and FGM, the liberals and the left felt sorry for them and at first welcomed them when they walked across borders or sailed across the Mediterranean in dinghies.
From 9/11 to the wars in Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria, the interference of the West in their internal politics; not to mention supplying both sides with guns, has turned the whole of the Middle East into one great big war zone. Refugees started to leave by the millions and came into Europe. To these numbers, thousands of economic refugees from other countries like Libya, Somalia and Ethiopia joined in the flow. When Merkel let in one million refugees in 2015 she only just managed to dodge the rightist bullet. However, two years later she was to pay for this 'mistake' in the next election.
Now the problem: I remember in 2015 watching a BBC documentary about the life of the refugees fleeing Syria. They escaped in inflatables and crossed the Mediterranean. Those that made it landed in Lesbos ( A Greek island) first. Turkey, that was accused of not caring for their plight had actually taken in millions by then that were camped just inside their border. Unsurprisingly they were beginning to kick back.
The documentary was shown about the same time that the photo of the corpse of a boy (around 10 years old) washed up on the shore. The BBC went to Lesbos and videoed a boat as it approached the island and dozens of refugees disembarked. The first thing to note was that there were no Greek authorities. By then the poor old village bobbies had given up trying to control the flow. The BBC crew interviewed the travelers and walked with them as they made their way to the nearest village. As they walked, it was noted that the groups had separated, and the men had gone on ahead leaving behind the women, children and luggage to bring up the rear.
This next bit is the crucial one that has stayed with me till now. The BBC were interviewing a pregnant woman accompanied by her children and dragging suitcases. Bear in mind it was mid-summer and anyone that has holidayed in Greece will confirm that it is HHOTT mid-morning We are talking easily 50°C in the sun. The crew had handed them water but still the lady felt weak. So the crew gave her and her children a lift in the car. When they got to the village they dropped them off.
Next thing we know the crew is reporting that the husband of the woman is beating her up for accepting a lift from strange men. And therein lies the problem! While eventually the man was restrained, those who interfered to prevent this act of violence were accused of interfering in the culture of the refugees and their family affairs.
What do you do when the culture and family customs that the refugees bring with them are at best frowned upon in your society and at worst are illegal? What do you do when the acts of violence (honour killings, FGM, are not even reported?) What do you do when you discover 450 illegal schools, where the children are forced by the parents to attend and you find out that they are teaching them things like homosexuality is a sin and women should never refuse sex to the husband?
Sadly, this isn't even a generational thing. It won't go away with time because it is being taught by some, to their children. Is it any wonder that almost all Western societies have this problem, the raising of home grown terrorists?
Until we in Britain and in Europe come up with a homogeneous solution, that puts aside OUR emotions and tackles all these problems for what they are, whether or not they are officially reported, we will never put this problem to rest.