THIS week saw another nail hammered securely into the coffin lid of open-minded tolerance and respect, as another far right racist party stole votes from both socialist and conservative established, liberal, centre ground. This week Sweden was engulfed by the right wing tide sweeping across Europe.

Across the Atlantic, president Trump has successfully ridden the crest of the anti-immigrant, totalitarian wave tweeting and promoting populist racism. In the UK, the only measurable Brexit dividend so far has been in the rise in race hate crime, as far right fanatics become emboldened on seeing their once-considered unacceptable policies are adopted by the mainstream.

Be in no doubt, once Brexit exacts its full economic toll, the country’s veer to the right will become more pronounced; someone will have to replace our current European scapegoats. Language once considered offensive and derogatory and beyond the realm of honourable politicians is now redefined as ‘colourful’ or ‘direct’ or ‘telling it like it is’. Those whose rampant appetite for power obliterates any vestige of moral scruple cynically corral the dispossessed in their efforts to claim legitimacy and mandate.

We have, of course, seen it all before. The growth of fascism in Europe between the wars, when the far right stole the clothes from mainstream parties and successfully seduced unsuspecting voters with simplistic nationalist solutions culminated in the ovens of Auschwitz.

The Sweden Democrats replaced their combative flaming torch logo with a pretty blue flower in order to disguise its neo Nazi links and roots and woo voters with its reasonableness. Their efforts were rewarded with 18 per cent of the vote. The far right bandwagon continues unchallenged on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, as I despair of the world of international politics, I come home to find that my son has made a new friend at his new school. He’s from overseas, newly arrived in this country; he tells me. English is his second language. They are discovering their new school together, united by their struggle with timetables, classrooms and the unfamiliar. He’s met his parents and informed me that he told them that they would all be welcome at our home any time. My son is far from exceptional. Like most of his peers, he is free from the older generation’s taint of prejudice and self-interest; young people’s understanding, tolerance and compassion is a lesson to their parents. I felt more proud of him for that, than for any exam result or academic success that might await.

Hope for the future lies not in us oldies learning the lessons of the past (of which we seem congenitally incapable) but in our children’s innate freshness, idealism and open hearts. Pray God the fear, anxiety and narrowmindedness of their parents, or the sausage machine of education doesn’t extinguish their humanity and compassion before it has a chance to save us all.