The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged
Women’s autonomy and reproductive rights must be upheld as far-right ideas gain ground
Fri 6 Sep 2019
The speech on Thursday by Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, praising the fertility of Hungarian women as a bulwark of Europe’s survival appealed to dangerous and atavistic myths. That isn’t a reason to ignore it. In fact it needs meeting head-on, for it marks a further irruption into mainstream politics across the rich world of “replacement theory”: the belief that the nature of Europe is threatened by demographic change. This fear has become central to politics in the United States and Australia, as well as many European countries, whether or not they have large immigrant populations themselves. It was one of the drivers of the result of the Brexit referendum, in which hostility towards European immigrants served as a cover for wider xenophobias.