Leader: The Norwegian way

Our answer," said Norway's prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, in response to the horrific attacks of 22 July, "is more democracy, more openness and more humanity. But never naivety". The calm but clear-eyed statement encapsulates the Norwegian reaction to the terrorism of Anders Behring Breivik. Yet it would be an error to see this as an isolated incident. The anti-Islam, anti-immigrant ideology that drove Brei­vik is on the rise across Europe and it has helped far-right parties enter the political mainstream. How we act now is important: politicians, including our own Prime Minister, who think they can draw the sting of the far right by adopting elements of their rhetoric are dangerously mistaken. We must follow Norway's lead.

This article first appeared in the 01 August 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The rise of the far right