Right wing? Perish the thought.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front in France, is seeking to engage in a semantic debate about even-handedness in political ideology. Those who think that hers is a party of the right “are making a total analytical error”. Nor is that all. She is not satisfied with changing the meaning of words established – in French – since the National Assembly first arranged itself with supporters of the king on the president’s right and those of the revolution on his left in 1789.
She wants the law changed, so that the term “extreme right” is recognised for the defamation of her party that she thinks it is. She has worked hard to try to present the National Front as a respectable party, expelling overt racists, selecting ethnic-minority candidates and trying to repudiate the anti-Semitism that coloured the party under her father’s leadership. Unfortunately for her, Mr Le Pen recently dismissed suggestions the party was becoming more moderate under his daughter: “Nothing has changed, even if Marine is a young woman and I’m an old campaigner.” Perhaps he was making a total analytical error.