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Monday, September 24, 2012

Meanwhile, in the Far North

One of the consequences of the eurozone crisis is that media, pundits and market analysts have been forced to become experts of what previously would have been seen as the most obscure political events. Thus, the Finnish local elections now have international significance (although they are still not making any headlines) as they serve as a barometer for the extent to which "Europe" as an election issue can trickle through to the local level. The theory being that the closer the issue gets to citizens, the harder for EU leaders to sell more integration.

An opinion poll for Finnish public broadcaster Yle puts the anti-bailout (True) Finns party at 17.2% - three times higher than in local election in 2008. Compared to 2008, all parties except for the Green party and the (True) Finns party would lose voters.

With a majority of voters from all Finnish parties - apart from the small Swedish People's Party - seemingly opposing more eurozone bailouts, expect Finland to remain assertive. Starting with the rumoured leveraging of the ESM.


Rollo said...

Finland has a fine record of fighting off unelected dictatorships that wish to dominate them. The comparison of Politburo/Kommissars and Commission/Comissioners wishing the same thing is calling for the Finns to repeat their brave actions; and for the rest of us to avoid being Finlandised.

Rik said...

On the other hand it is a bloody shame that semi- to complete weirdo parties are necessary to get normal issues for a democratic society on the agenda. The bigger and more powerful these parties are the more issues like: Europe, and immigration get on the agenda. Where they should have been years ago and cannot be ran away from anyway. Apparently first things have to get out of control or a LePen or Wilders (and in the UK the UKIP) have to show up before justified demands by large parts of population are taken seriously. And often at least part of the rationality already has been lost and basic emotions have become paramount.

Rollo said...

I do not know if Rik is trying to draw a parallel between the Front National, the PVV and the UKIP. But if he is, he is grossly wrong. The first 2 are fascist leaning racist parties. UKIP is pure democracy. If the UKIP wants to control immigration, it is uncontrolled EU immigration, not Commonwealth immigration that is the target. We treat all British subjects as British subjects. Our membership cuts across racist divides.

Rik said...

1. The current FN can hardly be called fascist and the PVV certainly isnot. It is the biggest advocate of referenda in Dutch politics. They are also both moving away from the racist stand. It is at least as much the image that particularly English media create as it is reality.
Basically both are anti-non Western immigation parties. The PVV I have read recently is apparently the largest party in the Dutch former Indian community. Wilders however has clearly a problem with Muslims.

2. That was however not the point I was making. My problem with these sort of parties has 2 sides. First they never can come up with proper people when they get elected.
Second they have usually completely unrealistic ideas on a lot of issues. FN or PVV proposing sending people back simply doesnot seem realistic. Furthermore I simply think their rhetoric is counterproductive. I fully agree I can also get into it with a bit of a stretched leg but I am not representing a political party. The platform is completely different.

3. Re the UKIP basically I have roughly the same problems. I simply donot see them coming up with proper MPs or ministers. The average quality of MPs is pretty poor imho, but usually these new parties bring it in another league.
Second this is 2012 and whether you like the EU or not you have to find a modus to live together. Very unlikely that many countries on the continent will leave the EU. Good or bad, doesnot matter that is the way it is. In a way the EU-discussion is done by the UKIP is not much different from the way Wilders discusses most immigration issues. One side shouting yes the other shouting no and in the end no workable solution. They are simplynot looking at a solution that is realistic and workable.
As said earlier I simply think it is completely unrealistic and very dangerous to leave the EU from one day to another and have a) no idea of the consequences and b) no idea of the economic fall out.
So the topic is different (nicer) but the set up and methods are very similar and in my view even counterproductive.

4. That was however not my point. I could have mentioned a whole range of parties all over Europe. Pirates (lefties) in Germany for instance.
The point is via these kind of parties things get on the political agenda while the traditional parties simply refuse to put them there, nbeglecting their own population and their own voters.

5.Take the EU the issue how the relation UK/EU should be, should have been on the UK's political agenda already for 1 or 2 decades.
It first requires a new party (new in the way that it becomes an electoral force) to come up and force via its potential in elections for the traditional parties to pay attention to it. While the signals were clearly there and not to be missed.

6. Anyway. Lets call it populism. This is a trend you see al over Europe. And btw I donot think a guy like Hollande is less populist with his electionpromises than LePen. Only different. Imho they are both completely unrealistic equally populist if you like.
But people ll over Europe are not happy with their current political leaders and often take the opportunity to show that by voting for outsider (a more neutral term) parties.
However they have influence. And have a useful function in my eyes. UKIP is simply putting the EU issue on the agenda.

But I am happy they put things on the political agenda. But that should be as far as it goes. having them in government is simply most of the time counterproductive as history shows.