Though Russia has trumpeted its goal of fighting fascism more or less continuously since the Second World War, many in Europe have assumed such an ideology to be definitively outmoded. Today, the West must figure out how to speak to disenfranchised citizens in a meaningful way, to show them that dysfunctional democracies can be reformed, and that directing political frustration at society's most vulnerable members is never a constructive way forward.
Hundreds of column inches have been devoted to explaining how austerity economics, democratic deficits and mass immigration have helped bolster the continent's far-right fanatics and neo-Nazi nutters. Our politicians and pundits have been less keen, however, to discuss the Islam-sized elephant in the room...
If you believe Nicolas Anelka, his use of the 'quenelle' was a conscious and deliberate "up yours" to the French establishment in support of friend Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala. But, for many in this country, the 'quenelle' was almost unheard of, and many still argue that it is an apolitical rejection of the state and Zionism. However, it is a ghastly reminder of modern anti-Semitism.
Farage himself predicted an "earthquake" while other prominent right wingers envisage "the liberation from the European elite, the monster in Brussels". So are they correct? Their success would certainly send a shockwave across the continent but are we really about to find ourselves at the mercy of the most anti-EU, combatively euro-sceptic European Parliament to date? No.
Oxford and Cambridge Universities have an awful lot in common. And last week was no exception. By inviting polarising political figures from the left and the right - George Galloway and Marine Le Pen, respectively - both institutions reaffirmed what is at once perhaps the most sacred and the most imperilled of all our values: the freedom of speech.