The EU’s latest immigration crisis

by Douglas Murray for Unherd, 14 May 2021

Over the past month, while the British press busied itself with stories about the type of wallpaper in the Prime Minister’s apartment, France has become embroiled in a crisis that threatens the legitimacy and future of the entire Republic.

Predictably, it all started with a letter. Published in Valeurs Actuelles last month and signed by around 1,000 servicemen and women, including 20 retired Generals, it warned President Macron that Islamist extremists, and the existence of the banlieue ghettos, have the potential to tip France into civil war.

The contents of the letter were disturbing. But so was the timing, coming as it did on the 60th anniversary of the failed generals’ putsch of 1961, when generals of the French Army attempted to topple President Charles de Gaulle. Indeed, it’s hardly surprising that it sparked an extraordinary scandal, with government ministers threatening to punish all the letter’s signatories.

Over the past month, while the British press busied itself with stories about the type of wallpaper in the Prime Minister’s apartment, France has become embroiled in a crisis that threatens the legitimacy and future of the entire Republic.

Predictably, it all started with a letter. Published in Valeurs Actuelles last month and signed by around 1,000 servicemen and women, including 20 retired Generals, it warned President Macron that Islamist extremists, and the existence of the banlieue ghettos, have the potential to tip France into civil war.

The contents of the letter were disturbing. But so was the timing, coming as it did on the 60th anniversary of the failed generals’ putsch of 1961, when generals of the French Army attempted to topple President Charles de Gaulle. Indeed, it’s hardly surprising that it sparked an extraordinary scandal, with government ministers threatening to punish all the letter’s signatories.

Undaunted by these threats, the warning was repeated this week in a second letter, this time signed by 130,000 members of the French public. Once again the French government condemned it. Elsewhere, their reception has fallen along predictable political lines: mainstream politicians of the Left and Right have criticised the letters, while Marine le Pen has been careful to express support for the signatories.

This is, of course, to be expected. Le Pen will seize on whatever embarrasses the rest of the political mainstream, while the rest of that mainstream will continue to resist anything which could be seen to provide ammunition for Le Pen.

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