The next session of the forthcoming European Parliament needs to be ready for a change in the demographics towards the right. Of that, most experts are certain and no amount of memes, love EU photos or videos of Guy Verhofstadt pontificating will stop it, but we shouldn’t be so surprised, because this was long overdue.
While populism and the concept of far right politics have been lurking about for ever, their rise in the mainstream political sphere really gained momentum with the economic crisis that affected the entire world in 2008, and despite the fact that time and again they failed to gain big majorities in elections across Europe over the last coupe of years, it seems that the harvest is now coming in with the big one in May.
Europe looking right
We all know the sordid story of Brexit and what the fallout has been for Britain. The impact has been catastrophic for the traditional right party, the Conservatives, who have been split in half, while UKIP still staggers on, but now facing a rejuvenated Nigel Farrage and his newly formed Brexit party. Britain is on the cusp of a right wing soft coup whatever the outcome of the next few years, with an increasingly unlikely chance of it remaining in the EU.
In France, National Rally under the leadership of Marie Le Pen is of course thriving, while Macron feeling the pressure of the recent gilets jaunes movement is leading experts to predict that sooner or later France will have a far right President. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but either way, the right are not considered a minority anymore there.
And while Italy is dealing with Matteo Slavini and his crusade of intimidating every scapegoat immigrant he can find, while trying to figure out how to actually run a government, the danger is that he can still convince those on the street that he is doing a good job.
So as we head into the election at the end of May, it is most certain that across the continent there will be gains for the right in almost every country. There will be a few exceptions, such as Ireland, but overall it will look bad to the liberal who never had it so good over the last ten or so years.
The next five years are going to seem like a nightmare in Strasbourg and Brussels with all kinds of anti-liberal agendas being pushed through, but there is still hope on the horizon, and contrary to what most may think, it probably won’t come from our so-called saviours in the EPP, ALDE or the S&D, it will come from the system itself.
Here comes the system
The upside is that modern politics is such a bureaucratic quagmire that any extreme views tend to be squashed down by the daily grind of running a country. Once the right wing crowd get in, they will be smothered by endless sessions of discussions, arguments, stalling, filibustering and downright deviousness by the opposite sides that they will be exhausted at the end of each sessions and just too distracted to enforce their petty little views.
As much as they try, historically, the right find it difficult to unite properly, because by the very nature of their ideologies it is something that they don’t like to do. Every right winger I know wants to be the loudest in the room and when they all come together, what they have in common will be their own worst enemy – their nationalism – their sense of own self will clash as they struggle to protect their own interests.
So yes, indeed, they will be in Brussels like never before, but this is a valuable lesson that is overdue and the likes of the EPP, S&D and ALDE national party members have only themselves to blame. But thankfully, there is a system of democracy already in place that will most likely strangle them before they can truly do any damage.
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