Did the right get it right in Europe?

flag375 million voters, 736 seats: As the results for the European  parliament elections came in yesterday the far-right seemed to be gaining more ground.Here in the UK, the BNP picked up two seats in the EU parliament.
The far-right Jobbik party, participating in the elections for the first time, finished third in Hungary with 14.74 per cent of the vote and will get three deputies.

geertIn the Netherlands Geert Wilders’ PVV party won 17 per cent of the Dutch vote in the election and will send four deputies to the EU parliament.The ultra-nationalist Ataka party in Bulgaria also expects three seats after getting 10-12 per cent of the vote.

 So did the right get it right in Europe? given that most voters either deserted mainstream parties or stayed at home in protest at the state of their economies.

It’s not often that we look at exclusively European issues on the programme, but these EU elections say a lot about the state of mind of nearly half a billion people.

Jonathan Freedland, a regular contributor to WHYS, argues from a British perspective that it’s time to vote Green.
In a time of economic downturn, do we search for the more radical answer? The more centrist parties will still be the the majority in Europe this time next week, but with a significant minority of extremists. Will that be better for Europe?

84 Responses to “Did the right get it right in Europe?”

  1. 1 Max
    June 2, 2009 at 12:47

    I believe this is like a new beginning for The EU!

    • 2 Zana
      June 8, 2009 at 19:22

      I’m reading for my master paper while listening to the BBC “World – Have your say!”
      What I’m reading now seems to me to be a very good response for the questions discussed in today’s “World – have your say!”. I’m reading Manuel Castells’s “The power of identity”, where he claims that the tendencies toward nationalism, fashism, or religio-fashism, are nothing else but a conceguence of losing legitimacy of the nation-states by the globalization. I quote:
      “The nation-state has lost much of its sovereignty ….Particularly critical for its legitimacy crisis is the state’s inability to fulfill its commitments as a welfare state, because of the integration of production and consumption in a globally interdependent system, and the related process of capitalist restructuring….The (re)construction of political meaning on the basis of specific identities fundamentally changelles the very concept of citizenship. The state could only shift the source of its legitimacy from representing people’s will and providing for their well- being, to asserting collective identity, by identifying itself with the communalism to the exclusion of other values and of minoritie’s identities. This is indeed the source of fundamentalist, nationalist, ethnic, territorial, or religious states, which seem to emerge from current political crisis of legitimacy. I (Manuel Castells) content that they cannot, and will not, sustain democracy (that is, liberal democracy) because the very principles of representation between the two systems ( national citizenship, singular identity) are contradictory”
      The rise of the roles of identities (Cristian, Moslem, Black, White or whatever) is seen in the Castells’s theory of the “Network society” as a consequence of the actual political crisis. The question we have to ask ourselves is if we can influence this process driven by the economic globalization, or we are just condemed to be object of the developments, and all our discussions are empty.
      There is no point to discuss if the far-right parties in Europe respect democracy or not, they are fascist and primitive xenophobic parties. We don’t have to proclaim the death of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is not an ideology but expresses nothing else than the peacefull coexistence, which is a elementar human value. We have only to say open the truth, that this is a consequence of the globalization, and that we have been facing for some times with a risk, which is to be avoded for the sake of humanism, not for the sake of immigrants. This means while we speak about culture, we mean nothing else then economy. (Its: economy stupid!—Again!) The urgent question is to deal with the challenges of the globalized economic world. Otherwise it is hypocrisy to commemorate the D-Day -s.

    • 3 Brad
      June 9, 2009 at 02:35

      yes. an orwellian one.

  2. 4 Tom K in Mpls
    June 2, 2009 at 16:29

    This kind of over reaction is common when people are facing hard times. The perception of ‘ anything has got to be better than this ‘ gets strong. Two extreme cases of this were Kentucky USA ~ 1875 in the coal mines and in Vietnam ~1953. Both resulted in killing and in Vietnam eventually resulted in adopting a very successful communist government.

    People need to remember with big change comes big personal gain or loss. Usually it is better to tweak the current system. This is cheaper on all levels because it maintains the basic support structures, socially, politically and physically. That is also why most major governments are designed to change slowly. But then again, sometimes you get lucky….

  3. 6 Peter sc
    June 2, 2009 at 16:33

    After the romance with multi culturalism , the honeymoon is over and the love is being tested. Will multiculturalism withstand the test of difference and time.

  4. 7 john in Germany.
    June 2, 2009 at 16:52

    The fact is that the Conservative Parties, with the Liberals in all European Countries have backed Globalisation, Greedy Bankers, and everything that believes that Finance will sort itself out, and when pushed to save the Greedy, they will use taxpayers money, and state bluntly it is to save the jobs. I would like to know how many top blue collar jobs will go in the Opel work out.

    Sadly the Socialist Parties-Labour and-Spd here in Germany have been dancing toward the low right for to-long. Just look at the Jobs they get when they retire from Politics.

    Wealth is flaunted in front of the poor daily……Film Festivals, Promi Weddings, In the Soaps, and so on.(even the cooking programmes are Gourmet) No wonder there are tendencies toward the radical ends, left or right. Two tier health services, where tax payers money builds Hospitals,in which if you can pay the extra you have a two bed room, and the head Doctors attention. (no deference towards the other Doctors, all professional and caring). But over worked.

    Europe does not allow ex pats to vote for the Parliament of his chosen Country- So most of us are straining at the lease to vote for the European Parliament. However no one bothers to solicit us i have not had one visit from any type of party, and i have been here a long time.

    No one will like me for this-it is time that the cock-sure lets do it in the Election Year Political People get a big shock to wake them up to reality. Then except for the extreme right, a lot of good ideas have been seen and heard in the election TV time.

    May the best win.
    John in Germany.

  5. 8 T
    June 3, 2009 at 05:33

    A few quick facts about the States in economically rough times:

    In the early 1930’s (due to the Depression), socialism had lots of support. Roughly 100,000 Americans were ready to emigrate to Russia.

    Also, roughly 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were deported to Mexico. Simply for being Mexican when a lot of white people were out of work. And looking for a scapegoat.

    Neither of these facts are ever taught in U.S. public schools.

  6. 9 Anton
    June 3, 2009 at 08:15

    For many years our leaders preached free market policy, freeing themselves of the responsibility to lead and to develop vision so that they could concentrate on their declarations. As an obvious and predictable consequence they have lost all credibility. The public has lost confidence and negative energy has developed. Thethe political scene has become chaotic with extreme ‘parties’ taking large percentages of the votes. The problem is not immigration, economy or extremism, the problem is the emptiness of the ruling parties.

  7. 10 Anton
    June 3, 2009 at 08:29

    I forgot to mention the vast institutionalised corruption which allows faceless people in faceless “top” jobs to privatize our tax reserves. Directors of health institutions, building corporation, local council members take very high salaries and incredible benefits when they resign, regardless of the mess they leave behind. This should have been dealt with a long, long time ago. The fact that nothing or not enough is done fills the population with anger, envy and greed and has degraded the political climate.

  8. 11 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    June 3, 2009 at 11:14

    Socialism/moderate socialism and Communism might depends on what the EU voters wants to replace “Capitalism” but my fear is that Europe/West might end up like “snake with opposite heads” which has been reached by a firestorms resulting in its loss of life as well its failure to reach the promise land because heads are moving to different destinations for safety.

  9. 12 Jack Hughes
    June 3, 2009 at 11:33

    The Freedland piece in your link is a worthless pot-boiler.

    He waffles a bit then tells us to vote green.

    The gUardian newspaper itself is interesting: it makes a huge loss every year and is subsidised because the holding company also owns Auto-Trader – a car sales magazine. well how green is that ?

  10. 13 Roberto
    June 3, 2009 at 12:32

    RE “” main-stream parties quaking in their boots. “”

    ————– Mainstream parties will be doing more than shaking in their boots if no improvements are forthcoming.

    They have been part and parcel of global warming and global fraud, and as it all starts to unravel, say goodbye to cushy state pensions and squirreled away under the table monies as the very states themselves could be collapsing.

    The self proclaimed 6-7th economy in the world, California, teeters on bankruptcy with government unable to reign in bloated, incompetant bureaucracies as the tide of collapsed business washes over the landscape.

    People know when they’ve been misled and betrayed and will be vulnerable to fiery rhetoric by new parties. Everyone should be very scared. Phases of human history are very very scary and not subject to state or corporate regulation.

  11. 14 Jim Newman
    June 3, 2009 at 13:37

    Hello again
    As predictable I take exeption to your original premise. The European elections taking place this week are a massive excercise in deception and manipulation. Whether the left or the right has a majority in parliament is of no real consequence because the real power lies with the commission. And the commission headed by Barrosa and his cronies are THE anti-European party par exellence.
    People loose interest in a political system when they feel that the political system is not interested in them and that is what is happening and why the vote will be low.
    The present governement of Europe has nothing to do with Europe and everything to do with cosying up to the USA and it’s demands for the acceptance of Friedman economics and US military domination.
    I know Europe will succeed in the end but it won’t be in my life-time.

  12. June 3, 2009 at 13:45

    With immigration at an all-time high in Western Europe, high unemployment and economic recession, European Parliament will veer to the right. Pity really, because EU expansion could be a good thing if it took in Turkey.
    EU must come to grips with Russia, largest gas producer in the world and probably third or fourth oil producer. Beware nationalist and fascist elemensts.

  13. 16 Tom K in Mpls
    June 3, 2009 at 15:42

    In my first post, I was not really aware of certain details and gave a general, valid response. On reading these few posts, I see that with the exception of a war in Iraq, the EU faces the same issues that were/are hot in the US, starting about 4 years ago. I hope this will give some perspective to others.

  14. 17 Ilah
    June 4, 2009 at 15:08

    I’m English and I live in The Netherlands. I haven’t got the foggiest idea what party I’m supposed to vote for to represent me. Since I’m not allowed to vote in the normal elections I don’t take an interest in Dutch politics at all (don’t have a say so why bother). Comes the EU elections and suddenly I can vote for God knows what. Not that I don’t want to vote in the EU elections but I also don’t want to vote for anti EU, racist, foreigner hating, communist, christian extremist party by accident. OK I might have described Geert Wilders there but he’s the best I know.

    It would be very gracious in the EU website published ALL of the people and parties and they’re political standpoints that are up for election in all the different EU languages so all the people who are living and working around all of the EU can make well informed decisions. That’s democracy, not this guessing game of trying to pick through all of these parties in a language maybe you understand but not really in fine enough detail.

  15. 18 VictorK
    June 8, 2009 at 11:06

    @Jack Hughes: thanks for the heads up re Freedland. WHYS continues to take this man more seriously than his actual content deserves.

    Could the BBC avoid the always undefined labels ‘far right’ and ‘extremist’ for parties and politics it doesn’t like? Some of these groups are, indeed, far rightist extremists, but others are nationalists, libertarians, sovereigntists, Gladstonian liberals, religious traditionalists, etc. I note that you rarely ever refer to the ‘far left’.

    A broad victory for right wing parties isn’t that significant since, as Jim Newman pointed out, the Parliament is window dressing: power lies with the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. The real issue is the unaccountable centralisation of power in the EU, and what can be done to reverse it – including dissolving the EU and reconstituting it as a trading bloc and nothing more.

    btw, I wonder if anybody at the BBC, in the Labour Party, or in the Church of England will admit that they have played a role in the election to the European PArliament from the UK of two members of a reformed/moderate neo-nazi party?

  16. 19 Ann
    June 8, 2009 at 12:16

    As usual the far right exploit the fear, uncertainty, frustration and anger of voters in an economic crisis. Voters are justifiably disillusioned for all the reasons Anton describes in his lucid commentary above.

    Would more far right politians be good for Europe… more racial bigotry and ignorance, elitist superiority, fostering of fear and hatred, more divide and rule?

    Ghastly thought!

    June 8, 2009 at 12:26

    As a non European, I feel afraid to talk about this election since everything political these days is like a boil on your body. Its reaching to be touched but no one knows how. Am an African in Africa and it is itching here too; sometimes worse.

    The question might be asked is this election free and fair? You can only give an ambivalent answer given the heavy publicity and expensive campaigns behind the scenes to sway the public opinion if the recent US elections can be taken as a benchmark. When you have in mind who is supposed to win does democracy still apply? It’s like the democratic games of abuse that we play in Africa. We all use secret ballot after convincing our friends usefully who to vote for. However this delusion has not succeeded in negating reality.

    Have the Europeans got what they wanted?
    More ambivalence is the answer because even those who want to be correct know how to posture so that the can be seen to be correct.

    I agree with everyone who says that these are not normal times. Our structures for regulating societies and how they consume resources are really wanting. In this respect we now have democracy and capitalism since socialism and communism exist only as name tags representing nothing. There is split mentality on what to do and it is not hard to see the return to faschism and the world going bloody once again.

    Folks, we are back to the history of yore conflicts; that that turned from belligerence to bloody – But we know.

  18. 22 ZK
    June 8, 2009 at 12:27

    So, what happens if a BNP MEP denies the Holocaust in a European country where it’s illegal? Diplomatic immunity?

  19. 23 Noddy
    June 8, 2009 at 13:06

    In Britain,there is an open agreement between all the major parties and the media to blank the parties of the Right, specically the BNP.The only news that does filter through is steeped in the reporter’s opinion and preceded with a short history lesson in the past activities of the individual or the Party, some going back to the 1970’s or 1980’s. Everyone has a past, and every party has members whose activities would raise eyebrows – including the Labour Party. No attempt is made for the current issues raised by the BNP to be discussed, and it does have many ideas regarding the economy, employment, foreign affairs, the future of Britain and the EU and immigration. Instead a policy of denying a platform to the BNP exists – and this is not a conspiracy theory but a fact. Unlike the rest of Europe, the BNP find themselves denied the access they deserve as a legitimate party, and further more its members are targets for left wing thugs whilst they themselves are portrayed as a party of ‘thugs’ (to quote David Cameron) despite the majority of BNP membership having shifted to professional people, Pensioners and even the disabled. I find this practice of denying some 1 million British voters who voted for them the right to have a fair say a travesty of the democratic process.

  20. 24 N Jakeman
    June 8, 2009 at 13:30

    There is a presumption by the major parties that multiculturalism is here to stay. It is an ‘ism’,and like several other ‘isms’ will go out of favour one day. Whilst they offer no alternative, the Right will advocate an end to multiculturalism which is their democratic right enshrined as our right to freedom of speech. I have observed several blogs where people say that ‘their grandfathers never fought a war just to have the BNP get into power’. On the contrary, their grandfathers would be appalled at the fact that to oppose multiculturism is classed as ‘racism’ and is now a criminal offence. The attempt by the thugs of the Left who violently barred the BNP leader’s right to access a public hall is a greater slap in the face of those who fought for democracy as it denied a large proportion of voters their democratic right to be heard. The discredited Communists have equally radical viewpoints, some even supporting North Korea’s right to hold nuclear weapons. Why not leave it to the British public to hear the cause of ALL parties and to decide for themselves, or does the establishment fear the horse they are backing may start to lose the race?. Until the major parties revisit the concept of Britains multicultural lifestyle, which has never been endorsed specifically by the public, and recognise there is a genuine issue of denying the British people their voice, then the BNP will continue to get votes.

  21. 25 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    June 8, 2009 at 14:32

    I think the BBC and other commentators have not gotten the message the “far right” voters have sent.

    I live in Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, but I currently vote for the anti-immigration party here, even though I am a liberal on every issue but that one. Depending upon where you live in Switzerland, from one in six to one in three residents is non-Swiss. Far from being a racist, I am proud of my multi-racial family.

    But there is a limit to how many immigrants can be absorbed by small countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and others. So far as I’m concerned, the message is not racist or isolationist, it’s simply: “Full up, guys, you gotta find somewhere else to go.”

  22. 26 Chedondo, Johannesburg
    June 8, 2009 at 15:00

    The people that cast the ballots in the recent polls seem to think so. The BNP manifesto is public knowledge and I think they won’t accept you as a member unless you are white, not just British. For the first time in their history they were elected into the European Parliament. So it is not whether ‘The Right is good for Europe’, but Europeans think the Right is good for them. Nothing wrong with that – it is their home, they get the government they choose and feel they deserve

  23. June 8, 2009 at 15:11

    A perspective from across the pond…

    1. The EU is an infant in its political evolution, hence it makes sense (and parallels the US states’ devotion to local issues until after our Civil War – 84 years after our nation began its journey to self-realization) that state politics rather than EU politics will dominate election outcomes.

    2. The spotty “success” of the right in this EU election could serve as a blessing for the process of EU identity. Since the majority of citizens clearly value human rights and the longer view of fairness, the Right’s success might coalesce the majority to greater participation in EU elections and politics in general.

    3. The fact that the EU to this point is a regulating arm governing general practices, rather than a government whose decisions directly impact schools, streets and hospitals, its distance from Main Street also distances it from the passion of the electorate’s interest. It wasn’t until the US government directly interceded to protect local jobs against big business that citizens vested their interest in the national rather than the local government.

    4. Just as the fledgling US was created to combat Europe’s competition for international trade and land in North America, the EU has gained strength from US and Asian competition. “It’s the economy, stupid” still speaks to the issue of survival… Asia and the US aren’t going away, hence citizens of the EU will be forced to rally ’round the only tool they have to compete internationally.

    5. The present world recession might just be the keystone that demonstrates to the citizens of the states that the EU is the last, best hope for a competitive advantage in a global world.

  24. 28 Robert
    June 8, 2009 at 15:13

    I can’t speak for the rest of Europe, but in the UK the raise of the BNP is actual more to do with the decline of Labour and the proportional representation system of voting.

    The BNP vote in absolute terms declined. But Labour’s decline was more dramatic. Therefore the share of the BNP’s vote increased. PR gives smaller parties a greater chance of winning seats. Instead of coming top in the election, in some areas, coming fifth is enough to get you a seat. Under the current system of election the UK for Euro elections the BNP have a chance of getting seats. The same is true for all the right, its not that they have gained more support, its that their support has held whilst the left haven’t.

    The decline of the left in the UK at the moment is down to the lack of leadership being shown by the labour party. Its not that the right are giving people the right thing in Britain, its that the left are offering nothing at the moment.

  25. 29 Peter Gizzi UK
    June 8, 2009 at 15:28

    I can speak only for The UK. Being totally anti European Union I have been campaigning for The UK Idependence party. We came second and I am delighted. it has made all the foot slogging worthwhile.

    What our 3 major parties refuse to recognise is that The British People want a referendum on continuing membership of The European Union. They have been ignored for too long. Many have told me that UKIP are too soft! Like those who elsewhere blow themselves up in desperation the British Public no longer care or vote.

    Finally Marta Andreason one of our new MEPs, has written a book:-
    Brussels Laid Bare
    In it she exposes the gross mishandling of British and European Tax Payers money. They have not written off their accoutns properly for 14 years yet no Chancellor of The Exchequer has ever questioned this? Surely this is criminal? Do we have to wait for The Daily Telegraph to expose them too? The amounts “wasted” make Westminter’s recent “problems” look like small change by comparison.

  26. 30 deryck/trinidad
    June 8, 2009 at 15:30

    The right definetely got it right and that’s no surprise. They exploited issues such as the global melt down, high unemployment, terrorism and environmental factors that have converged in order exploit deep seething issues of xenophobia,job loss to non-nationals and migration. In short self- preservation and the tendency for the population to go to the right for protectionism.

    In the Caribbean region we are having some of the same problems and we might be moving to the right also.

  27. 31 Tom K in Mpls
    June 8, 2009 at 16:01

    Ok, I need to point out my second post and add this after reading the Peter Dobbie email. The far right platform is exactly the same philosophy and control that was used by Bush Jr here in the US. It is nothing more than fear. Fear is easy to spread. It limits thinking. Then it is easy to sell any legislation that superficially provides protection. That is how we were stuck with the ‘Patriot Act’.

    I very seriously hope the EU can see back for the past decade and learn from what has happened on both sides of the Atlantic and learn. Please don’t over react. Don’t let the newly elected get away with as much as Bush Jr did. I hope you are better than us.

    • 32 desertman
      June 9, 2009 at 05:25

      Bush was a natural reaction to Clinton’s failings. This fact may have not been noticed in the worker’s paradise of Minnesota.

  28. 33 Anthony
    June 8, 2009 at 16:06

    Isn’t this how it goes all aroung the world. We go left, and we get tired of it and think it would be better if we went right. We go right, and we get tired of it and think it would be better if we went left. It just keeps going that way, back and forth.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    June 8, 2009 at 16:09


    Its all clear now to every doubting Thomas that we are living in transition times. After the landing dust of the current chaos, the world will not be the same again or business as usual. For sceptics, it boils down to a call for politicians to reassert realistic goals. Fix the factories, market, guard national assets and listen to your citizens who are now running amock to purchase new ideas.
    There is no use for politicians to continue preaching international evangelism to jobless people whose pensions have been invaded by speculators. For those of us who listen to the BBC, we thought that the disenchantment was only restricted to the British Isles. The truth of the matter however from the results of this elections (not referendum?) the rot is scattered wide and for any establishment not prepared to listen to the client, well, the sound of the distant drums should is in the air although for some it is too to avoid being thrown out in order to save the boat.
    Behaving like third world despots who cling to power won’t work in Europe either.

  30. 35 VictorK
    June 8, 2009 at 16:27

    @Noddy: the BNP’s neo-nazi past is a matter of record. Pointing that out is perfectly legitimate. It’s moderated it’s platform since then, but only the very naive would claim that there isn’t still a deep current of racism underlying the party and attaching to some of its activists. And it’s impossible to tell how much of that ‘moderation’ (e.g. no-longer being ravingly anti-semitic or crudely racist) is genuine and how much is simply a better sense of media relations.

    But the BNP does campaign on issues of genuine public concern, and that most of the mainstream parties, & establishment media, address cursorily or not at all, such as immigration, multiculturalism, the Islamic problem, and British sovereignty re the European Union. The civilised, non-fascist, non-socialist (the BNP are better described as ‘racialist socialists’ than right-wingers) & non-racist way of voting on these issues is the United Kingdom Independence Party (the ballot papers, interestingly, seem to have been designed to rob UKIP of votes).

    The BNP’s success (such as it is) is not a surprise. Its origins are pretty clear: the refusal of mainstream parties to address popular concerns; popular revulsion at corruption in Westminster; an amount of sympathy for the BNP as underdogs(!) when people observe the bullying, abuse and frequent misrepresentation that they are subjected to from politicians, the police, Archbishops and the media – the BBC being a particular offender here (as if there weren’t fair and factual grounds on which to attack them); and increasing popular distaste for the antics of some British Muslims (July 7 & 21, the London ‘hate freedom & democracy’ march, the obsession with Palestine-Afghanistan-Iraq, ranting, anti-British & anti-Western mullahs, the Luton incident, the endless stream of Muslims appearing in court and being convicted of terror plots, etc).

  31. 36 ecotopian
    June 8, 2009 at 16:39

    I think you’re asking the wrong question. This isn’t a right or wrong situation. The questions that you should be asking is why and what. Why did the right do so well and what will the outcome in the EU because of it? We should also be asking how much a mandate they have when only 43% of voters turned out.

    This is a generalization, but when times are seen as bad or scary or whatever, people seem to vote for the right. If there is a scandal, then the party in power – rightly or not – gets the blame and the boot. The leaning of the party in the latter isn’t relevant. This is why the Democrats won in November here in the States and why the Tories will win in the UK.

    On a lighter note, the Pirate Party from Sweden now has a seat. It wants “… all noncommercial copying to be free and file sharing to be encouraged. The copyright system, it argues, is out of whack–rather than encouraging the spread of culture, the system now imposes severe restrictions.” (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10259048-38.html) The party is not connected with the website, The Pirate Bay, but does support it. Woo hoo! Unfettered downloads for everyone! Just kidding.

  32. 37 Dan
    June 8, 2009 at 16:57

    I think that like a pendulum politics swings back and forth. The EU have been “Left” for too many years and while I understand Akbar Javadi’s concern about Fascists rising to power, I think that fear has clouded European politics for too long while Fascists have arisen in other parts of the world mostly unnoticed.
    The “changing of the guard” in EU politics I think can only bode well for the people of Europe.

  33. 38 Peter Gizzi UK
    June 8, 2009 at 16:58

    It’s me again,
    I take slight exception with Jodie in Virginia. Many pro-Europeans compare The EU with The USA. This is quite wrong. We are 27 sovereign countries speaking 23 laguages, not disimilar to “The Tower of Babel” and we know what happened to that! The USA is 51 (53?) states and does all its business in English!

    If The EU continues as it is it is sowing the seeds of civil conflict and who will win? The Commission laughing all the way to their banks with our money.

    At the top of this blog I see mention of “the greens” Again I recently did my carbon footprint on “directgov” It suggests The British National average is 4.35 tonnes of carbon per annum. Mine is 2.09 with my target set at 1.99. The EU tells us we have to be “green” while they fail to practice what they preach! More hypocracy for which we have to pay. The reason mine is so low is, no car, and a small pension, but my helpful socialist government still taxes me!

  34. 39 Vijay
    June 8, 2009 at 17:05

    Did the right get it right in Europe?

    The European voters were either angry or apatheic,the low turn out
    meant that only the committed voters turned out who tend to be older and more right wing therefore the collective European right turn.

    I am having a seventies flash back ,the BNPs predecessor was the (there was and overlap) NF “The National Front is the White Mans Front” there opponents at the time were the Anti-Nazi League and they would say would say NF=No Fun ,No Future.

    It was the failure of the Conservatives,the Labour Party and the LibDems to address child poverty,social equality and the education of the white underclass over the last 40 years.

  35. 40 Steve Hicks
    June 8, 2009 at 17:21

    Does anyone who voted in a Euro Sceptic MEP really expect the person they voted in to then do themselves out of a well paid job by getting their country out of the EU?

  36. 41 Robert
    June 8, 2009 at 17:21


    Original the states were 13 independent entities where the states had the power and the fedural government was there only to decide foriegn policy, control of money and interstate disputes. The original plan was that the state would hold the power. Its only over time that the USA has become more like a country of fiftey parts than a union of 50 states.

    Therefore the parrellels with the early USA history and the current EU are easily drawn and probably applicable. The question is do we want our union to go down the same route of the USA or find another model to base it on?

    • 42 RightPaddock
      June 8, 2009 at 18:26

      @Robert – get real!

      Comparing the situation in twenty seven 21st century countries with a combined population of 500m that each has a contiguous unique history spanning an average of 1500+ years with a thirteen 18th century former colonies with a combined population of 2.5m with a contiguous common history of 150 years is ridiculous!

  37. 43 Dan
    June 8, 2009 at 17:29

    There will always be poverty, child or adult, underclasses and other social ills. Is it the responsibility of the Government to solve those? I think not as they are unsolvable by any Government. Government can only create the opportunity for people to climb out of the station they are in. Thus my point is that Government’s responsibility other than to protect and educate its citizens is to expand the economy opening opportunities for people themselves to solve the social ills of their society.

  38. June 8, 2009 at 17:45

    To Peter Gizzi UK… bone up on your American history. The only way our initial government (Articles of Confederation) was accepted was to refer to our divisions as “states” rather than “provinces”. Before the “United States of America”, “states” only referred to nations in the English language. All of the languages of the world have interacted on our soil to maintain communities and trade… the glue that let our various communities understand each other is English… just like in the EU today… and, in fact, around the entire world.

    My comments were not to equate the EU with the US, but rather to point out that political evolution is just that… evolution. As an example, the US took a LONG time to realize its nationhood. Hence, making predictions about the EU’s future on the basis of one election is only a small point of interest, since the result will depend on decades of cause and effect that cannot be predicted. The US experience can, however, illuminate some possibilities.

  39. 45 Dave in Florida
    June 8, 2009 at 18:00

    I agree with Anthony in LA. We go left… We get mad. We go right… We get mad. Etc, etc, etc… This happens all over the world — not only in the EU and the US.

  40. 46 RightPaddock
    June 8, 2009 at 18:02

    It is true that most “people stayed at home”, but to couple that with “deserted mainstream parties” is to create a totally, utterly false impression. It is precisely this sort of reportage that helps create the resentment that people feel towards the “establishment” – BBC, mainstream parties and the creme d’la elites – the EU. etc!

    The majority of people who did vote, did in fact vote for mainstream parties. They voted predominantly centre right, especially where centre left governments .hold national power (UK, Spain, Portugal).

    A major reason for the success of what the BBC refers to as the “far right” is that they are universally and unambiguously anti EU, whereas the major parties pussyfoot around the issue. In the UK Nick Falange boast of claiming 2m euros in expenses would have turned some away from UKIP towards the likes of the BNP.

  41. 47 Vijay
    June 8, 2009 at 18:04

    @Dan (I presume you are American)

    It is precisely the role of government to engage in social engineering and conditioning.There are countries around the world which have effectively dealt with most social ills,particularly the Scandanavians and Finland.
    I don’t think laissez-faire works in education,healthcare and promoting social equality (and mobility)

  42. June 8, 2009 at 18:12

    right wing is a right thing,as thirld worlder(immigrators) need to be limited from europe to build their own countries.

  43. 49 Tomas in NYC
    June 8, 2009 at 18:19

    Coming from a former communist country, I know very well what a disaster an overly leftist or socialist agenda can be and will therefore always support center-right parties.

    However, the problem is once one get too far to the right advocating xenophobe, racist and overly nationalistic ideas which have never brought anything positive to the human kind. Most of the major conflicts in the modern history arose from such sentiments, which is why I will always be highly suspicious of all far-right parties in the same way I am of all far-left or communist ones.

  44. 50 Chidi (from Minneapolis)
    June 8, 2009 at 18:19

    Any Political party and I stress “political” that does not allow blacks to join them is a RACIST PARTY!!! PERIOD!

  45. 51 Dan
    June 8, 2009 at 18:22

    Yes, I am an American but I must disagree with you. It is NOT the function of Government to solve social problems. When do people take responsibility for themselves and their neighbors? Do we abrogate that responsibility to Government? I think that when you do that, you have created a tyranny that cannot be removed and the world is a more dangerous place.
    It is the function of Governments to serve the people not rule them and we are our Brothers keeper.

    I loved “We go left… We get mad. We go right… We get mad” no one could say it better.

  46. 52 Vijay
    June 8, 2009 at 18:24

    On 06/06/09 DDay was remembered, on 07/06/09 the BNP had two MEPs
    elected(via PR) what a shame,the WWII generation knew what to do with fascists.

    Does the BNP “donut” its supporters in to Burnley ie.move people from around the country to live in Burnley so they can vote for local councillors.?

  47. 53 Brad
    June 8, 2009 at 18:27

    America has just gone though eight years of Conservative rule. It created war, recession, and the collapse of world financial markets, to mention just a few of its blunders. What was the EU thinking?????

  48. 54 steve
    June 8, 2009 at 18:31

    @ Brad

    And Europe has been ruled by the left, so they are taking out their frustrations of who was in power. The reason why Reagan won in 1980 was because things were so bad under Carter. This is how people react to bad times. Whomever is in power gets punished at the ballot box.

  49. 55 Valerio Chang
    June 8, 2009 at 18:34

    “Committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948.” The BNP also accepts white immigrants that are assimilated into one of those ethnicities.

    The BNP asserts that there are biological racial differences that determine the behaviour and character of individuals of different races, although it also claims that it does not regard whites as superior to other ethnic groups. The party claims that preference for one’s own ethnicity is a part of human nature.

    Unlike people say, I don’t think the BNP is racist, or white supremacist, I just think their policies don’t make sense:

    1) They are isolating Caucasians and non Caucasians, with no other logic than saying it’s human nature. What about mixed race babies, where do they fit in?

    2) Why 1948? Saxons come from south of Berlin, Normandy is in France, Vikings from Scandinavia

    3) What is a place of ethnic origin? Where in Africa do you place a ‘African’, does one go to Bagladeash, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or India? and what if they don’t speak the language nor have family ties there?

    4) Science and personal experience tell me upbringing and environment determine the behaviour and character of individuals, not race.

    5) Should Australians, Canadian and Americans come back to Europe?

    Not very well thought out policies in my opinion…

  50. 56 HansB
    June 8, 2009 at 18:37

    Have we all forgotten that this is how the Nazis came to power and what happened as a result?

  51. 57 Anthony
    June 8, 2009 at 18:37

    I remember thinking “Maybe the BNP has just gotten a bad name from liberals”, but now I think they are more racist than I had thought. The way the rep is talking, he sounds like 50’s America in the South and like some skin heads that I used to know.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  52. 58 Vijay
    June 8, 2009 at 18:44


    The US electorate voted for “change”

    If people don’t change how long can you wait for them, especially if they do not have the skills,resources or will to change,cooercion is necessary.

    Europe is aging and needs immigrant labour to keep it running(Poles,Bulgarians and Romanians go to the UK and NON EU labour come into Poland ,Bulgaria and Romania)

  53. 59 Verena
    June 8, 2009 at 18:45

    I think discussions about who is British, Dutch or whatever does not bring us anywhere. We are a union and should act united. The far right – although it does not want to be called that – divides Europeans. It is sad that so many people tend to blame those they know least for problems that exist for other reasons – it’s just a primitive reflex. Get to know those you are afraid of and do not let someone else tell you what other people are like. Most of us are too smart to think in these simple categories some parties are trying to draw. Talk to people, read about different standpoints, travel to other countries, be a stranger somewhere and I think you cannot think in the categories the far right is setting up to divide and rule.

  54. 60 steve
    June 8, 2009 at 18:45

    Notice that “banning” things only becomes problematic when it’s ideology? Britain banned smoking in pubs, which has destroyed many pubs. The Netherlands banned smoking in bars, but made an exception for marijuana smoke. Agenda, selective outrage over what things gets banned?

  55. 61 Albi
    June 8, 2009 at 18:48

    When the representative from the BNP talks of “the expansion of Islam”, and mentions Muslims, could he be more specific please?

    He says Muslim women are denied education, and that Islam discriminates against Christianity… but what kind of Islam and what kind of Muslim? Every single one of its 1.4 Billion members?

  56. 62 Tom D Ford
    June 8, 2009 at 18:49

    @ Dan
    June 8, 2009 at 18:22

    Yes, I am an American but I must disagree with you. It is NOT the function of Government to solve social problems. When do people take responsibility for themselves and their neighbors?”

    In a government of the People, by the people, and for the People, the People solve social problems by taking care of themselves and their neighbors.

    Get it?

  57. 63 Reverend L. McCormack
    June 8, 2009 at 18:49

    I agree with the gentleman from France who said religion is a private matter.

  58. 64 Vijay
    June 8, 2009 at 18:49

    There are one million Britains who live in Spain should they all be repatriated?

  59. 65 Chidi (from Minneapolis)
    June 8, 2009 at 18:51

    Thank GOD I’m an American and I live in America because Europe seems to be going crazy!

  60. 66 Colleen in US
    June 8, 2009 at 18:57


    Don’t kid yourself; we have many of the same problems in the US that they are having in England. We seriously need to revise our immigration and social service system. We also need to revise our unemployment systems. I didn’t hear details – but I like the name “workfare”. It would be a definite improvement to welfare.

    People need to learn that just because you exist; doesn’t mean you are owed anything. There is a difference between a helping hand up; and a handout.

  61. 67 Tom D Ford
    June 8, 2009 at 18:57

    When you know the history of how Fascism came into power and the conditions that made it possible, you have to be very worried about the rise of the Right in Europe. You have to prevent people like Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, G W Bush, and their ilk from actually achieving power.

    But if you don’t allow them a voice they tend to go underground and do their ugly business of promoting hate and divisiveness, rotting the body politic from the inside.

    So you have to let them have some very limited amount of public power and then ridicule them for their hateful and divisive Conservative views.

  62. 68 Emeka
    June 8, 2009 at 19:06

    I believe the win of the rigth wing, is all due to the economic slowdown. If there jobs for the white brits( so that they have more money to spend in the pubs) they dont worry about the doorman being black,arab or asian.
    Fix the economy, the electorate get back to their senses.
    However all this show that racism is in-bourne in almost everyone.
    An the people that voted for the right should remeber that America is the greates country in the world becuase it opened up its border no closing and thats why the brits are not even a close second. thanks.

  63. 69 Dan
    June 8, 2009 at 19:12

    Tom D Ford
    I am not sure we disagree. I canot believe that a Government 3,000 miles away from me can solve local social problems.
    Congressmen do not care what we think unless it is reelection time at which point multi-millionaire politicians beg money from ordinary citizens so they can get re-elected to further enrich themselves. Have you ever seen a Congressman that retired less than a millionaire?
    It is up to us personally and in coordination with LOCAL Government that we affect social change.

    People did not vote for “Change” as no one knew what that meant. Obama represented a new direction and a changing of the guard…nothing more and nothing less.

  64. 70 tim
    June 8, 2009 at 19:13

    I am dismayed but not surprised by this shift to the right. I consider myself American, but am much more accustomed to thinking from an immigrant-mindset. My maternal family left Germany in 1932, just ahead of Kristalnacht, because my grandmother was “ethnically Jewish”, albeit a practicing Quaker all her life. And, although my mother was born in Milwaukee, she was able to obtain German citizenship because she was born of a German MAN. I tried the same route, but because my MOTHER was the German side of my lineage, Germany denied my application. Why? Since 1974 applicants must be born of a German MALE citizen. This is just an indication to me of the hidden (but not so hard to find) patriarchal and Christian-leaning (Christianity/JudeoChristian Tradition) mindset at the heart of central Europe’s ideologies. I think one of the things we forget in the USA is that most countries around the world define their governmental policies with religion, appealing to the beliefs and traditions of the status quo. When will the EU takes their heads out of the sand? Just because it works in politics does not mean it is always fair and just. Oddly, centrist views should become the norm if the EU is to succeed, but it feels like nationalism will yet rear its ugly head before we get around to the middle again. Fear mongering and racial/national/religious appeal in politics will only swing this pendulum of unrest back to the other side, and as we all know, extremism (either L or R) will not do anything to help stabilize the economy. I blame the rampant eco. and military policies of GWBush for our current troubles, the world over, and would be happy paying 40% of my wages to ensure health benefits and merit-based education grants. YET, that won’t happen anytime soon as long as globo-corps try to hide and hoard their wealth.

  65. 71 Tom K in Mpls
    June 8, 2009 at 19:14

    After listening to the on air portion of this I need to say this. The fact that the right won is predictable and hopefully irrelevant. As for the predictability, times are very tough all over the world. When things are tough people want it to change. Unfortunately the worse things are, the faster people are to do anything, often without thinking, to place blame and make a change. The timing of this election was a death sentence to incumbents.

    As for hope, I hope in the ongoing daily politics that people of the EU will not allow what we in the US did. It was about five years ago that the economy looked pretty shaky to many in the US. This combined with the fear on terrorism allowed Bush Jr to enact many policies we are all too familiar with now. One focus that became twisted was immigration viewed as terrorism. Now the EU faces the same thing and calls it ‘Globalization’. What I am hoping for is that the ‘people’ of the EU will not allow the ‘politicians’ of the EU to do to them what Bush Jr did to us. Be careful of extreme change.

  66. 72 Stephen Chewe
    June 8, 2009 at 19:15

    Europe cannot survival on its own. It needs the help of Africa and other continents. A Zambian in Nairobi

    • 73 N Jakeman
      June 10, 2009 at 15:16

      Oh please! How possibly can Africa help Europe? Since Europeans left Africa to their own devises the continent has gone to pot, the latest two examples being Zimbabwe and now South Africa. There is not ONE case of an African country managing itself properly and not winding up a dictatorship/bankrupt/genocidal and generally requiring aid.

  67. 74 Stephen Chewe
    June 8, 2009 at 19:18

    I agree with the guy from Florida. It is rights that we a balance.

  68. 75 Stephen Chewe
    June 8, 2009 at 19:23

    I do not think laws are more important than our humanity. Its high time we learn to live together and have tolerance towards one another.

  69. June 8, 2009 at 21:05

    Europeans will bring upon themselves heaps of woe. By the way, there was plenty of apathy with this election.

  70. 77 kagaka
    June 9, 2009 at 09:15

    The press seems to be touting a continent wide conservative victory. I followed the election in the Czech Republic and a little bit in France. In the CZ I noticed little campaigning as the major parties are saving their ammunition for an upcoming parliamentary election. The party of the right (ODS) claimed victory in very light turnout. And this when compared to their main rivals the Social Democrats. In fact if you sum the communist and social democrat share of the vote it’s more 5 points higher than for the ODS. Again in France UMP did well when measured against their traditional rivals the PS. Where did all those PS voters go? They didn’t go for Sarkozy but for the Ecology party and parties of the more extreme left.

    Many traditional Socialist voters feel abandoned by the parties of the PES who continent wide have crept away from traditional socialist values.

    The first striking aspect of this election is the apathy. The second is not the ‘victory’ of the conservatives, they held together and gathered their typical share of the vote. It is more the splintering of the left into third way socialists, the green socialists, the radicals and more.

  71. June 9, 2009 at 09:41

    i dont see the difference in this parliament of yours whichever side they are.there is still more protectionism as the first ideal.the idea of the world as one global village seems to be millions of years away in these lands of yours….anyway,the pros could be more than the cons regarding your affairs in these lands of yours.


  72. 79 globalcomedy
    June 9, 2009 at 16:24

    Sadly, when the economy is bad the right wing works hard to manipulate peope’s fears. It’s funny to hear some BNP people in the U.K. say, oh no, we’re no racist. We just think that all non-white Brits should be expelled.

    And then, when the presenter naturally presses them on their absurd statement, they try to fight back. And then make themselves look even more ridiculous. It’s the same thing with the neocons here in the States.

  73. 80 SOR
    June 9, 2009 at 16:43

    I believe that the EU is doing well in terms of the way they elect prime ministers and how these ministers do their job. Even though previous ministers have done unfavourable things I believe their system is much, much better than “our” system where ministers set up the system to suit themself so that when they are worng they are right. Worst, they have there allowances to be much more than their salary. An average person’s salary (citizen in our country)is about 500us, but one minister is complaining that 623us (one of numerous allowances) is not enough to purchase his grocery. Our country will never move forward because ministers think of their own benefits.

    The people of EU I believe will do a good job as to who they want to elect. The question is will that person do what the people want’s to be done.

  74. 81 wendy houstoun
    June 9, 2009 at 23:14

    i don;t really understand how the BNP are a legal organisation. I thought incitement to hatred was a crime – and a lot of the language the BNP uses on their sites always uses ” US” and “THEM” as its premise and encourages partition rather than unity.
    I also don;t understand why opposers of the BNP are being attacked by the media. I thought we were meant to have learned our lesson from Nazi Germany- and to have realised that the price of democracy was eternal vigilance.
    I think it our duty to make life for the far right unpleasant and impossible.
    The right will always have got it wrong because what they want is divisive and has resentment at its heart.

  75. 82 mdspatsy
    June 11, 2009 at 09:42

    Dear Sir,
    The recent European Members Parliament, elections results are unexpected.
    We have been facing ,a worst economic crisis,job losses,major companies had started clsoing or minimising their business.
    The reason for this crisis is wellknown.
    Now ,Rightists had enlarged their bases to these european nations.
    In later years, there will be a problem of reopening the sick undertakings,creating jobs to youngsters,adults.
    I do not know,how are they going to control racial prejudices,local issues,and for gaining confidences from their own people.
    After thorough readings, now is a chance Conservatives will capture power in forth coming British elections.
    We want mixed economy with human touch.

  76. 83 bbrooks
    June 12, 2009 at 03:25

    Mass immigration of foreign peoples nearly always incites a negative response, but it takes an economic downtown to be reflected in the voting. Immigration needs to be carefully controlled so that local workers are not displaced, immigrants aren’t exploited and ghettos don’t develop. Immigrants need to be screened so that polygamists, political extremists and criminals cannot enter. Ideally, each immigrant family should be linked with an NGO or church and have a host family to protect them from exploitation and help them understand and adjust to their new country. Every immigrant should be required to take classes on the law of the land, safety and hygiene, and appropriate social behavior. While it costs a little more to do things this way, it prevents a hateful backlash against immigrants, preserves employment for locals and helps prevent deep divisions in society. The many law-abiding immigrants are paying the price for the uncoordinated, overly-permissive immigration policy of the past few decades.

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