The Right Has Nothing to Lose But Its Chains
Ted Malloch and Felipe Cuello, authors of GEO DEUS: Trump’s World
Eurosceptic parties gained seats in the recent European elections. How can they coalesce and work together now that they have done so well?
For some reason, they always seem to win the battle while losing the war.
The reason Euroscepticism remains on the fringes in Brussels boils down to the party system in the European Parliament.
United they amount to about 150 votes, enough to edge out the Socialist group as the second biggest – with all the attendant parliamentary privileges that affords, from speaking time to staff positions and presidencies of important committees, to say nothing of the really big jobs.
Sadly, they remain split into three incoherent subgroupings.
Even the mainstream hasn’t decided which is more Eurosceptic than the other. Despite this, they are often lumped together in that snooty centrist hand-wavy way we all know and love.
Nigel Farage presides over the EFDD group, which is mainly composed of the 8-week old Brexit Party and the Italian 5-Star Movement. M5S – cinque stelle – is the only party that can claim to be truly un-ideological.
Their party positions are decided by intraparty votes and can be quite left wing on environmental and foreign aid issues.
Nigel’s Brexit Party is similarly heterodox, with MEPs all over the political spectrum. Nigel’s own Thatcherite core will always be a part of whichever movement he incarnates, but the presence of far-left figures from UK contexts should be noted.
David Cameron’s ECR has seen better days. Having tried out various Blairite labels (“euro realist” sadly never caught on) the idea was to position a reformist, free-market impulse as a counterweight to the French dirigiste tradition of statist plumage.
Having lost Syed Kamall, the president of the group – and seen a once-numerous Tory membership dwindle to just 4 seats – the future of the ECR is in flux.
Poland’s PiS is committed to drawling the line between constructive Euroscepticism and “Europhobia”.
Having put two former PMs on their MEP list, Poland means business in this session, but has so far not distinguished itself with any brilliant manoeuvres other than the formation of the ECR itself.
They should repeat the trick by allying with the Eurosceptic super group.
On the “far right” – by European standards anyway – the ENF has Salvini, Le Pen, Wilders, and the works.
The ENF officers aren’t quite as high profile as Farage but they are a formidable lot who have weathered the hardest part of the storm in opposition as their countries saw a withering economic depression and a migrant crisis.
ENF party members can be surprisingly left-wing on traditional political questions like taxation and redistribution.
Salvini has emerged as the one person who is able and capable to pull all the ends together – the rare Eurosceptic actually in government.
Another Eurosceptic that actually governs their country is Viktor Orbán of Hungary, who –inexplicably – remains in the EPP.
To be fair, defection is a lot to ask of a small party like Fidesz (13 seats). Leaving aside that Fidesz should defect precisely because the EPP is spineless enough to keep him around is a moot question.