I’m in Crikey yesterday on the results of the European parliament election (see preview here), which are being spun as a big victory for extremism and Euroscepticism. While that’s certainly not without foundation, I don’t think it’s as bad as people make out. Here’s my conclusion:
It would be idle to deny that the EU has some major problems, and if these results force the established politicians to take those problems more seriously — as promised yesterday by French president François Hollande — it will be a good thing.
But although the barbarians may be restless, they are not yet climbing over the walls.
To substantiate that, I’ve compiled this table of the results for European parties that could be described broadly as “far right”. They’re broken down into three categories: those that are members of the Eurosceptic parliamentary group, Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD); those that sit further to the right and would be plausible candidates for a new National Front-led group; and those on the extreme right that can fairly be called neo-Nazi.
|Denmark||Danish People’s Party||26.6%||+11.8%||4||+2|
|Greece||Popular Orthodox Rally||2.7%||-4.4%||0||-2|
|Lithuania||Order and Justice||14.3%||+2.1%||2||0|
|United Kingdom||UK Independence Party||26.8%||+11.0%||24||+11|
|Conventional far right:|
|Netherlands||Party for Freedom||13.2%||-3.5%||4||0|
|Romania||Greater Romania Party||2.7%||-5.9%||0||-3|
|Germany||National Democratic Party||1.0%||n/a||1||+1|
|United Kingdom||British National Party||1.1%||-4.9%||0||-2|
It’s a mixed bag. The far right parties have certainly had some good results (Britain and France are the standouts, which might account for the intense media attention), but they’re hardly sweeping all before them. Even on the rare issues where the above parties would all agree, they can only command 79 seats in total – just over 10% out of a parliament of 751.