Monday, 6 January 2014

Three eurosceptics in a boat - Trois eurosceptiques en bateau

EN: "Europe's Tea Parties", heads The Economist this week. The financial weekly writes about "Europe's populist insurgents" like the French FN, the Dutch PVV, the British Ukip and the Norwegian Progress Party.

Even though anti-EU populists of the left and right could take between 16% and 25% of the European Parliament's seat (12% today),  this won't "guarantee them lasting electoral success", according to The Economist:
The problem the populist parties face is that when this sort of protest gains traction, its themes can quite easily be grabbed by the mainstream right.
Moreover, "if euro-zone economics are not a full explanation (the populist right is nowhere to be found in austerity-battered Spain and Portugal) the crisis has been crucial to setting the scene for the potent new pairing of old nationalist rhetoric with contemporary Euroscepticism". Once the crisis is over, will these parties still gain seats? The Economist is sceptic and concludes —
Europe's populists may be near the height of their influence. Were the economy to recover and unemployment to drop, their message might fall on less receptive ground. Within the European Parliament, rivalry between them may thwart their hight hopes for influence.
Read more about Eurosceptics on Presseurop:

FR: "Les Tea Parties d'Europe", titre The Economist cette semaine, dans une de ces couvertures qui ont fait sa réputation. En dressant un parallèle avec le mouvement qui agite la droite du Parti républicain américain, le magazine londonien s'inquiète de la montée des "insurgés populistes d'Europe", comme le FN français, le PVV néerlandais, le UKIP britannique et le Parti du progrès norvégien.

Même si les les populistes de gauche et de droite pourraient obtenir entre 16 et 25% des voix aux élections européennes de mai prochain, cela "ne leur assurerait pas un succès électoral durable", écrit l'hebdomadaire.

De plus, ajoute-t-il, "si la situation économique de la zone euro n'est pas la seule explication (la droite populiste n'est pas présente en Espagne et au Portugal, malgré l'austérité), la crise a été déterminante pour faire le lit du nouveau couple formé par la vieille rhétorique nationaliste et de l'euroscepticisme". Une fois que la crise sera passée, est-ce que ces partis vont gagner des sièges ? The Economist n'y croit pas trop et conclut :
Les populistes européens pourraient bien avoir atteint le maximum de leur influence. Si l'économie devait se redresser et le chômage baisser, leur message pourrait atterrir auprès d'un public moins réceptif. Au sein du Parlement européen, les rivalités entre eux pourraient saper leurs espoirs d'être influents.
A lire sur le même sujet sur Presseurop :


  1. The far-left should not be associated with the potential success of these populist parties, mostly far-right oriented, as they have stricly nothing concrete to offer to Europe, apart from more debts and values that have proven to reduce a society to the level of an unproductive ants colony. This part of the political spectrum is not dangerous yet.

    I tend to disagree with the Economist conclusion as these populist far-right parties didn't grow on an economical opposition with mainstream parties but on xenophobia mostly. As long as the amount of foreigners with different skin colours and mentalities remain a subject of rejection and the free circulation of people inside the union enforced, these parties might keep on growing stronger. Populism hides anger and hatred with the particularity for followers not to question themselves and finding scapegoats with weaker defence mechanisms.

    Since the world has become globalized and production has shifted to other continents, scapegoats are like toys and populists like children in a toy shop, without the smile :-)

  2. Norway is not in EU, so it is quite confusing mixing it to the remaining countries.
    What this can instead tell us is that the troubles which are under the track of the so-called "populisms" are non tied only to UE. They are tied to the Long Depression we are stuck nowadays, which strikes also outside UE. It isn't a novelty: it is the third time in the contemporary era that Europe spreads his troubles alla around the world.
    And: "Were the economy to recover and unemployment to drop". Amazing! When this would happen, Mr. The Economist? Moreover you are a little politically confusing: European Tea Parties are those are at government today. Cameron, Hollande, Letta, Rajoy, and so on, are all affiliated to the right-wing of the GOP.

  3. La Norvège n'est pas dans l'UE, il est donc un peu bizarre de la mêler aux autres pays. Cette histoire nous dit plutôt que les problèmes qui sont à la base des soi-disant "populismes" ne se limitent à l'UE. Ils découlent de la Longue Dépression dans laquelle nous sommes plongés il y a six années, qui frappe aussi au dehors de l'UE.
    Ce n'est pas une nouvelle: c'est la troisième fois dans l'histoire contemporaine que l'Europe répand ses problèmes dans le monde entier.
    En outre: "Si l'économie devait se redresser et le chômage baisser". Rigolo! Et quand tout ça devrait se passer, M. The Economist? Et vous vous trompez politiquement: le Tea Party européens sont ce qui sont au pouvoir maintenant: Cameron, Hollande, Letta, Rajoy, etc. ils sont tout des affiliés à l''aile droite du GOP.

  4. So, is being a “populist” a bad thing in the EU these days? Are we nasty, low and rather brutish? Do we smell bad? Are our accents and jokes crude? Is our taste in music deplorable? Are we getting above our stations these days?

    I believe I am what the Economist has in mind when they say “populist” but I like to style myself as a libertarian democratic-republican who finds much to like about the Tea Party. On a good day we libertarians are about 7% of the electorate here in the US and the Tea Party accounts for another 15% or so. But another 30% of the US electorate consider themselves “Independents” and we think we have something to offer them and if we do, we can swing the next election cycle here in the US.

    What is it about our political principles that make us so objectionable to the governing class? We believe that the people are sovereign and that they express their sovereignty through their freely and democratically elected representatives. We believe that the constitution is the agreement between the people and the government they created. We believe that governments lose legitimacy when the constitution is violated and when the constituencies of our popularly elected representatives rise much above 50-100,000 people.

    But what shall we call the non-populists: Aristos, grandees, the elites, the better sort of people, the oligarchs, commissars, apparatchiks, your honor, master, sir or madam?

    1. John, don't compare the US with Europe as actually if you're a populist there, you would be an aristo here. You respect your institutions, our populists don't. For example, they're crying out they're not being listened to by their leaders but when it comes to boat peoples trying to get to Europe, their solution is to shoot at them, in the name of sovereignty. Do you agree with such solution? Populism in Europe implies blood, it doesn't imply dialogue, knowledge of situations or simply a global vision of this world, in terms of what can be done or not to reamin part of it. It implies pure selfishness, racism, ignorance in economic matters, closure, fear and rejection. In brief, nothing coming from reason but rather from affects. There is no need to be a populist to critisize governments and to vote according to your believes. Our democracies rely on dialogue not on guns and our populists want guns, whether real or virtual. Our populists are impatient and therefore dangerous losers.

    2. Niels Farage want shoot immigrants? When the police in London made a raid in the immigrants suburbs asking for papers, and expelling them when they were unable to fulfill the request, he wrote a vehement article against such a practice, defining it as a shame for Great Britain, and protesting against a practice for which immigrants and GB citizens were dealt in two different ways. In GB police is not used to ask people to show papers.
      None - conservatives, labourists, liberals - wrote nothing similar in defense of immigrants rights.
      Considering that being against deregulated immigration, i.e. against the modern slave market, means necessarily to be against immigrants as persons is only a common place.
      PS: I'm leftist, I'm not a supporter of far right nor simply right ideologies.
      For this reason, I don't appreciate false criticism, and the use of propaganda against persons who have a different ideology. And against the use of propaganda in short. Propaganda is not typical of right nor far right, it is typical of tyrants.

    3. I am, of course, a secular republican in the way all modern English, Irish, French, Spanish and American republicans were republicans. (Why can I not think of a single German republican after 1814?)

      The problem is that this kind of republicanism arises out of culturally cohesive communities that have adopted sound constitutions which affirm that all men are created equal and that no one should be deprived of the their just rights and liberties except by way of laws that they have enacted.

      The thing is that all of this assumes a common culture. It also assumes that immigrants are not purely political or economic migrants but rather people who are sincerely interested in becoming one of us and whom the community is prepared to accept. Here in the US, the model for this kind of immigration was established by John Winthrop in the Massachusetts Bay Colony beginning in 1630 and continued until about 1890 when the federal government stopped relying on the several state governments to manage matters associated with immigration.

      Using the power of a fundamentally un-representative national government to require long establish communities to accept migrants who have no interest in the community beyond making some money at the expense of those who were born there and for the ultimate benefit of shadowy internationalists is a formula for disaster. It might amuse you to call them racists but they are, in fact, fighting for their own economic survival.

      If you think that perhaps 50% of the population of France should have no better prospects than 90% of the population in some third world hell hole, then take that message out on the hustings and see how well you do.

    4. " It might amuse you to call them racists but they are, in fact, fighting for their own economic survival."

      If I can perfectly understand your views, you're totally wrong quoting the above. It's not as simple as that. First, they are racists, openly, they call arabs with vulgar slangs and blacks, monkeys at best. They even throw bananas at our justice minister which happens to be black. Also, a non-neglectable part of these people I call populists and racists also come from immigration, Italy, Spain and Portugal, mostly. And don't think that most of these people are experiencing economic suffering because it's not the case. Only a few, freshly coming from the far-left syndicated world to the far-right are really in jeopardy due to some of our industries poor performances.

      Then, most of these immigrants coming from Africa are given jobs such as garbage collection and street cleaning, not really the kind of jobs locals are keen to do. Even if some of them do get some some subsidies from the state, they cost far less than placebo pills eaters and actually the balance, in 2005, was positive and still is today. Migrants, born in a foreign country got 68 billions in subsidies but brought back to the state 72 billions in various taxes. If deficit there is, it comes from including the second generation, sons and daughters of immigrants, born and raised in France.

      Now, there is a problem with no real studies on its impact yet (to my knowledge) and it comes from EU citizens being able to work in 28 countries like it was theirs, the story of the polish plumber. I work in Prague for example and I am far from being alone as a non-Czech EU citizen. The road has two lanes, let's not forget it.

  5. I have said this elsewhere but I will repeat it here.

    The US's current experiment with open immigration began in 1965. Its experiment with free trade began in 1980. In the last 50 years both have added about 50 million people to our population. In that time, the US government has become increasingly un-representative as each House member now stands for 700,000 people and it has become increasingly oppressive. The government has been captured by wealth and economic and military imperialism for the benefit of those who flock to Davos and Aspen has become the reason d'être for the US.

    In 1970, 61% of all US households were in the middle economic class [2/3- 3/2 of the average annual household income], defined benefit pensions were common and municipalities had no difficulty finding people to work collecting trash and cutting grass. Periods of unemployment were short, usually less than a few weeks if one was seriously looking for a job. Wage and hour laws were seriously enforced and most employers who required skilled and semi-skilled workers developed them in-house.

  6. Now, the middle economic class accounts for only 50% of the US households and both the low and high economic class are increasing. Defined benefit pension plans exist chiefly in the civil service, municipalities have "out sourced" trash collection and other functions to private contractors who have cut wages and offer at most defined contribution pension plans. Major employers all over the US have either moved manufacturing operations to other countries to take advantage of cheap labor or have use cheap, often undocumented, labor to break unions and drive down wages. Wage and hour laws are not often enforced.

    Our loving liberal economic internationalists have placed an enormous selection pressure on the US workforce and it is crumbling. It seem as though they don't at all care about the one half of the population that cannot graduate from a college before age 30. Rather, they encourage young people who have no chance at all of completing any sort of higher education to assume on average $30,000 of student loan debt on the off chance that something good might happen. [US student loan debt is like Spanish mortgage debt - it follows one to the grave and an average student who begins his or education at a community college has a 1:15 chance of completing four years of college education after 8 years.]

    I read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" in high school in the 1960s and I wondered how such conditions could be ever have been tolerated. I re-read it a few years ago and realized that all of the old practices had crept back. Sinclair even described a homeownership scam in 1903 that was indistinguishable from the homeownership scam that caused the banking crisis of 2008.

    Predatory capitalism merely rebranded itself as economic globalism and is now resurgent as never before. I think Preda pointed out to me that the current wave of economic migrants in the EU is being driven by the same two forces: cheap food and cheap consumer goods. This is the model the US has been following for 50 years. Free trade with Latin America involves exploiting cheap labor for manufactured good that are then imported into the US and flooding Latin America with cheap food that makes local food production uneconomical and drives the people off the land. Then, international agribusinesses take over the best land.

    You and I ended up on the right side of things but you cannot argue that things are likely to get better for any of us if we keep on as we have been. Governments have become increasingly totalitarian and the US looks very much like the old DDR and has certainly become a very dangerous, very self-rightious police state. Economics has replaced religion as the chief prop of repressive governments and just as in "the Jungle" debt, lack of work, low wages when work is available and rigorous enforcement of draconian laws are beating the people down.

    I offer this because all of this was born in the US 50 years ago. The European experience will be no different, you seem to be about 20 years behind the US.