Scapegoat Politics

April 17, 2018 Europe , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

AFP photo



Tom Arms



The recent electoral success of Hungary’s Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party is living proof of the success of scapegoat politics.


What exactly is scapegoat politics and how do they work? For a start, they combine fear and prejudice. They are an over-simplified solution to a country’s problems. They work by charging an easily identifiable target – usually a race or religion – with being the root of all problems and then adding the claim that the scapegoats are on the verge of a terrible victory.


In the case of Hungary and Viktor Orban the scapegoats were Muslim refugees fleeing for their lives from a war-torn Syria. They were, according to Orban, threatening to destroy Hungary’s Christian culture.


Scapegoat politics is the major tool of the Populist or Alt-right parties. Steve Bannon during a recent European tour told a Front National conference in Lille: “Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honour. Because every day, we get stronger and they get weaker.”


The Front National lost the French elections, as did Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and the Alternative for Deutschland in Germany. But Orban’s victory in Hungary proved that the extreme right in Europe is far from being a spent force and the over-simplified message of scapegoat politics and the fear and prejudice at its roots will be with us for some time yet.





Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and email[email protected].

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