Shortly after the recent general election in Spain, a French journalist friend sent me a message: "Spain now has a far-right party in Parliament; it’s no longer the exception in Europe". Yesterday I could have replied: "Spain is, once again, the exception in Europe: the far right has an accepted, normalised presence in the institutions, without the rest of the right or even the socialist party doing anything about it".
Spain has gone, therefore, from apparently being the exception in one sense to being the exception in entirely the opposite sense. From not having a far right to having it sharing the vice-presidency of Parliament. Nevertheless, I don’t see them as two contradictory exceptions, but rather two manifestations of the same exception.
In Spain, the far right is not situated outside of the system, but rather inside it, in an entirely normal, accepted way, especially when it clads itself with the flag of patriotism. Until a few months ago it was invisible if one looked on from afar, since it existed inside other political parties. Now it is visible, even from afar, since it has created its own party. But the ideas remain the same. And it has exactly the same agenda as the rest of Europe’s far right. It already existed, for sure. The novelty is that now Europe knows. We’d known all along.