I agree with Tom’s post from yesterday about the result of the European parliamentary elections, in which the U.K. Independence Party and the National Front won a plurality of seats within their own countries. As he says, it’s important not to read a decisive left-right economic shift into an election where much of the support was lost from leftist parties. This was indeed a large scale protest vote.
However, I think it is worth pointing out that these parties, which are unfairly lumped into the underhanded label “Far Right” in company with Greece’s Golden Dawn, actually represent and favour remedies to the public’s discontent. So it is not a protest vote in the sense that the public is simply voting for any party that is not presently in power; rather, it is supporting parties who share the very concerns that it rightfully has.
People’s lives have been changed transformatively by the steady replacement of sovereignty and democracy with centralization, judicialization, and bureaucratization that is the European Union project. Many of their communities have been changed beyond recognition by the twin poisons of mass immigration and multiculturalism. The forces of culture, national character, and political accountability which once provided stability through times of economic and security crisis can no longer be relied upon. And the force of political correctness which wrongfully labels all scepticism of this project as being tinged with racism in xenophobia, has served to effectively disenfranchise people who are none of these things, but who very much dismay at the withering away of their own political power at the expense of faraway managers.
It is significant that this protest has happened in Britain and France—countries which are unmistakably liberal and pluralist. Even the most outwardly open-minded and multiculti of people can only be pushed so far. Being a free people is contingent not only on sovereignty, but on a sense that the prevailing national culture is one’s own. That isn’t a left-right thing, it’s a human thing. This should have been understood by the undertakers of the EU project in the first place, who ignored that Europe’s peoples are very different from one another in terms of politics and custom, and that the equation of national identity and self-governance with war is a simplistic canard. Their project deserves to fail. Hopefully these election results are a sign that such a failure is beginning to materialize.