08 June 2009

Euro results - do I not like these.

The results from Scotland haven't come in yet but I've got enough to be going on with anyway. I would have done a live blog on the Euro elections (like I did for the US elections last year, and I'll certainly do for the general election when it comes) but it's just hard to generate the same levels of excitement.

The results were certainly worth analysing, however. Labour is projected to get only just over 15% of the national vote. Given that various pundits were racing round before the weekend saying that if Labour got less than 20% it would trigger a move against Brown, this should mean Brown is in very serious trouble indeed. We will probably find out later today whether the rebel MPs have secured enough signatures to move against Brown, as he is due to address a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party this evening. Some of the top political journalists - including the BBC's Nick Robinson and the Guardian's Michael White - have been suggesting in recent posts that Brown is probably safe. I'm sceptical of that and it seems that if anyone is going to mount a challenge, today (or at the latest Tuesday) would be the best possible time to do it. We'll see. If no-one makes a move I'll be pretty scathing about it... but let's give them a chance first.

The Tories did well but not spectacularly, getting 29% of the vote. UKIP, like in 2004, was on about 17%. The BNP managed a marginal increase in their share of the vote to 6.5% but secured 2 MEPs because the Labour vote collapsed in the North West and Yorkshire. Hopefully once people have seen what Nick Griffin and his colleague are like in office, they will be a strictly one-term phenomenon.

The Greens increased their share of the vote more than any other party - now up to about 9% - and had it not been for the contraction in the number of MEPs allocated to the UK (due to EU expansion) they would have secured a couple of extra seats. In the East of England they were within 2 percentage points of knocking out Labour - a very strong result. The Lib Dems did adequately, on 14%, but no more than that, and must still be very worried about what the continuing lacklustre performance of Nick Clegg is going to do to their chances at the next Westminster election.

Across the EU as a whole some commentators were surprised that the centre-left PES parties did so badly, running way behind the centre-right EPP parties in most countries. Both groups ceded ground to the far right (in its various guises including fascist and 'libertarian'), the Greens and the far left. I wasn't that surprised by the centre-left's weak performance. The European economy has collapsed and they have offered pretty much nothing by way of remedy. It's the Tony Blair prospectus writ large. If you don't provide credible policies why should anyone vote for you? The centre-right parties are similarly clueless, but can cover it up a lot better with nationalist bluster and garbage about being a 'safe pair of hands' which European voters simply seem to have disbelieved less than the crap being talked by the centre-left, who have been exposed as clueless converts to neo-liberalism at precisely the wrong time. It was a choice between honest morons and deluded morons.

If the PES had taken the far left and Green agendas on board a lot more, rather than being stuck in Tony Blair appreciation society mode, they'd have certainly done a lot better. In France for example the Greens actually moved into second place. There's a lesson there somewhere for the Labour party - but only Jon Cruddas (who inexplicably endorsed Gordon Brown on Sunday) is listening.

In Italy, the result defies analysis. Berlusconi, a cross between Rupert Murdoch and Benito Mussolini, actually increased his share of the vote. It's as if Dick Cheney had run for President in America in 2008 and received a landslide. Ludicrous.

Meanwhile, in Poland, a comforting setback for Dave Cameron's homophobic friends in the League of Polish Families - I'm happy with an advance for the centre-right any day of the week if it means a kick in the teeth for these imbeciles. But, to repeat the message from an earlier post, what does it say about Cameron's progressive credentials if he's prepared to jump into bed with reactionaries like this in Europe?

No comments: