Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Europe is drifting to the right & this week’s EU elections will prove that

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HOLD on to your seat, but this weekend’s European Union elections are actually going to be interesting – how often has anyone been able to say that?

When we were in the European Union most Brits didn’t bother to show up to vote in the EU elections.

The upcoming European Union elections will show a clear lean to the right
Jordan Bardella has given a spark to Marine Le Pen in the polls in France, helping to reach young peopleCredit: AP

And today, turnout across the continent is similarly low.

Many people across Europe see Brussels as a broken, immovable object.

Many use the elections as Americans do their mid-term — as a way to kick the ruling class in the goolies.

But this election looks set to provoke a proper upset.

Because in country after country the polls are being led by parties which were, until recently, dismissed as “fringe”, “far right” or otherwise “unacceptable”.

Visible failure of Europe

The most glaring example is France. For many years politician Marine Le Pen’s National Front party has been tarred by its far-right origins.

But after much purging (including of her own father), a name change and a concerted image transformation, her party finally looks like it might break through.

The National Rally, as it is now called, is leading the polls in France.

At the head of its list is a charismatic 28-year-old called Jordan Bardella.

The young party president has used social media to connect with parts of the French public that Le Pen could not reach.

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As a result, 36 per cent of people under 24 are supporting Bardella.

It is just one sign that it is not only the continent, but the next generation, who are on the move politically.

In Italy it looks like Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party will dominate the polls.

Only a few years ago Meloni was routinely described as “far right” and “beyond the pale”.

Today it looks like her party will dominate not only Italian politics, but European politics.

It is the same story almost everywhere. Since the Dutch elections in November, Geert Wilders leads his country’s largest party in his native parliament.

Polls now show that his Party for Freedom will come first at the Brussels elections too.

Not bad for someone who was stupidly barred from even entering the UK 15 years ago.

Geert Wilders has seized the opportunity to move into a position of power in the NetherlandsCredit: Splash

Until recently it seemed as though the expected results would lead to a fundamental reorganisation at the Brussels parliament.

But there is one snag. The problem — as so often — is Germany.

The nation looks set to cause a similar upset at the EU elections level, with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) likely to come out top.

But the AfD is a complex beast. It has risen in the past decade (like most of these other parties) because of the mass illegal migration and the security problems that brings.

Everywhere, voters in Germany, as in France and every other country, can see the visible failure of Europe’s immigration and integration models

The recent stabbing and killing of a policeman in Mannheim by an Afghan immigrant is just one example.

Especially because voters have been told all these years that there is nothing to see here and that if they are worried about illegal mass migration they are bigoted, racist or “conspiracy theorists”.

Everywhere, voters in Germany, as in France and every other country, can see the visible failure of Europe’s immigration and integration models.

They are fed up with being told not to notice them or not to object.

Alternative for Germany (AfD) party’s rise has brought along with it some worrying questions, above co-leader Bjoern HoeckeCredit: AP

Yet while most of the parties which have risen up in this period are perfectly respectable parties, the AfD does have a serious problem.

Some of its leaders and members are people who would be regarded as reasonable, centrist conservatives in any country other than Germany.

But a certain number are also something else entirely.

Recently recorded remarks by one AfD party leader appearing to downplay the guilt of SS soldiers during the Second World War is a classic example of this.

There seem to be a number of people near the top of the party who are on what we might actually call “the far right”, even though that term has been wildly over-used in recent years.

Kick politicians in the teeth

But the sense that there is something nasty in the AfD has pushed Le Pen, among others, to avoid further talks of coalition with them after this week’s elections.

Nevertheless, the direction of the continent is plain.

The actions of lax, left-wing, open-border governments across Europe have now caused a backlash.

The direction of the continent is plain

Where it goes, we will see. But it does raise the question of whether something similar could happen in Britain.

We no longer get a vote at EU elections, but when we did we enjoyed using it to kick our politicians in the teeth.

Remember that overwhelming victory for the Brexit Party a few years back? Could it happen at home?

Could we actually elect a party some day that stops the open-borders policy and actually gets tough on illegals in the way France does?

It seems unlikely from a Labour government or a Conservative one (if we ever have one again).

And Reform? Well, if there is one thing we can say from the political movements on the continent, never say never.

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni’s party dominates the country’s politicsCredit: Getty

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