Thursday, July 06, 2006

In praise of General Franco?

It's rare that anyone ever notices or cares what happens in the European Parliament:
John Major did once say that if you want to keep something secret, announce it in Parliament. If you want to make sure the media will never spill the beans, announce it in Strasbourg.
But this week there was a surprise when Polish MEP Maciej Giertych spoke in praise of General Franco in a debate to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. He said:

Thanks to the Spanish army and Franco the communist attack on Catholic Spain was thwarted. The presence of such people in European politics as Franco guaranteed the maintenance of traditional values in Europe and we lack such statesmen today. Christian Europe is losing against atheistic socialists today and this has to change.
Does anyone know if the Pope agrees with this assessment?

Fransisco Franco is an exception to the maxim that history is written by the winners, and as he is still dead he hasn't been able to mount his own defence. And yet it seems there are those who still hold him in high regard. The readers' comments on the BBC story give a good mix of views. Personally I think that if Franco hadn't won the civil war then Spain would probably have capitulated to Germany faster than one could say "Vichy France" and that ultimately Franco's presence made winning the war easier. Victory for the Communists would have merely moved a defeat by Germany to 1941.

But there are a couple of very interesting comments there which have never really been adequately answered:

I don't get it. It's wrong for one MEP to praise a totalitarian hispanic dictator like Franco but right for another to praise a totalitarian hispanic dictator like Castro? What's the difference?

* * *

Will there be similar uproar in Brussels the next time some MEP praises Fidel Castro? And why is fascism always considered to be 'extreme right' when it has far more characteristics in common with socialism. After all, most of the 'founders' of fascism were themselves former socialists.

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