Hours after the ISIS attack on Paris in November 2015, Marine Le Pen, whose right-wing party was competing in regional elections, called a press conference to announce that “France and the French are no longer safe.” She blamed refugees and called for more restrictions on immigration. “Islamic extremism must be crushed.” The Guardian said her National Front party made political gains after the attack.

But Le Pen’s attempt to exploit the tragedy failed. National Front didn’t win a single regional presidency that winter. And despite massive publicity of her bluster and popularity in the national elections, her appeals to hate and fear failed again in May. The French have no use for her version of safety.

As I write this, 22 people, including children, have died so far at a teen pop concert in Manchester, England. Almost nothing is known about the attacker yet — he or she could’ve been mentally ill, like Adam Lanza, who also murdered children — but conservative Prime Minister Theresa May has already called it an “appalling terrorist attack.” Nigel Farage, of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party, went on Fox News and, in a conversation with Tucker Carlson about “Islamic terrorism” said “I’m not going to rush to judgment about who the perpetrator is, but…” And then he continued comparing the attack to ISIS strikes on France and Belgium.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t mention terrorism in his statement because he doesn’t know that it was.

The only reason you mention the word terrorism right now is to make scared white people run toward the false security of galvanizing statements about a foreign enemy at the gates. There is no other reason. May and Farage want votes on June 8 to shore up domestic support for Brexit, and they think they can benefit politically from the new “post-Manchester” narrative.

Watch in the coming weeks as the British right tries to cash in on the deaths of children. I hope it backfires like it did for Le Pen. More people are beginning to understand that the politics of hate only plays into the “caliphate’s” hand.

Be good to each other these days.


Ben Wolford
Ben Wolford is editor of Latterly. His reporting has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere.