The Meaning of the European Elections

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


20140524_EUP002_0A series of stunning election results for the European Parliament have rocked the continent’s political establishment. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) scored its first victory in a nationwide vote over both the center-right UMP and President François Hollande’s ruling Socialist party. In England, The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) also notched its initial triumph, beating the Labor and Conservative parties. Both victories were indicative of a surge best described as an anti-EU, anti-mass immigrant wave aimed at establishment politicians and the apparently untenable status quo.

Le Pen minced no words in describing her victory. “The people have spoken loud and clear… they no longer want to be led by those outside our borders, by EU commissioners and technocrats who are unelected,” she declared. “They want to be protected from globalization and take back the reins of their destiny.” 

The National Front garnered 25 percent of the vote, outpacing the UMP at 21 percent, and Hollande’s Socialists at 14.5 percent. The defeat marks the second in a row for the Socialists, who lost dozens of town halls last March.

The news was just as good for UKIP, which captured 27.5 precent of the vote, with Labor at 25.4 percent, and the Conservatives coming in third with 24 percent. UKIP, founded in 1993, gained 23 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) compared to 18 for both the Labor and Conservative parties, and their victory marked the first time since 1910 that a national election was not won by either the Conservatives or Labor. UKIP’s charismatic leader, Nigel Farage, predicted this victory would act as a springboard towards mounting a serious challenge in next year’s general election. “We will go on next year to the general election with a targeted strategy and I promise you this – you haven’t heard the last of us,” Mr Farage said. That targeted strategy includes mounting a challenge in 20 to 30 constituencies next year. 

Farage explained the genesis of his triumph. “The political establishment will be terrified by this. They will all have to do a very large amount of soul-searching and realize that the usual platitude ‘We’re listening’ isn’t enough,” he contended, adding that Labor and the Lib Dems suffered the greatest losses as the result of UKIP’s triumph. “It is going to be disastrous for Ed Miliband, disastrous for Nick Clegg and a poor night for David Cameron,” he added. 

He also echoed the sentiments of Le Pen. “The whole European project has been a lie,” Farage said on a television link-up with Brussels. “I don’t just want Britain to leave the European Union, I want Europe to leave the European Union.”

Other EU nations realized surprising outcomes as well. In Denmark, the anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People’s Party won its country’s EU election, garnering 26.7 percent of the vote and four of 13 MEP slots. In Sweden, the Feminist Initiative Party won 7 percent of the vote and representation in the EU Parliament for the first time, while the Green Party surged from percent from 11 percent in 2009 to 17.1 percent, and the Sweden Democrats rose from 3.3 percent to 7 percent over the same period.

In Greece, the left-wing anti-austerity and Euro-skeptic Syriza party captured  26.6 percent of the Greek vote, pushing the current governing party, New Democracy, into second place with 22.8 percent. The extremist Golden Dawn party, a former neo-Nazi organization whose leader and members await trial for crimes including murder, arson and extortion, captured 9.4 percent of the vote, giving them three MEPs. In Austria, the Freedom Party, which ran on halving the nation’s contributions to the EU, a referendum on the EU’s crucial bailout fund, and yet another anti-immigrant platform, gained 20 percent of the vote.

These results were partially offset by other outcomes. In Italy, Premier Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party won about 41 percent of the vote, marking its best performance to date. The anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, led by former comedian Beppe Grillo, garnered 21 percent of the vote, down four percent from its spectacular win in the general election last year. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives claimed victory with 35.3 percent of the vote, but the center-left Social Democrats made strong gains, and the Alternative for Germany, a new anti-EU party created in 2013, gained 7 percent of the vote and first-time representation in Brussels. And in the Netherlands, the right-wing Euro-skeptic Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders surprisingly lost an MEP, dropping its total to four. Nonetheless, Wilders released a statement saying his party looked forward to working with France’s Le Pen, referring to her as “the next French president.”

The voting began last Thursday in Britain and the Netherlands, but the majority of the 28 EU member states voted on Sunday. Turnout was relatively light. Of the 388 million Europeans who were eligible to vote, only 43.1 percent exercised that right, barely higher than 2009’s all-time low of 43 percent. Turnout was lowest in Slovakia at a record-setting 13 percent, and highest in Belgium at 90 percent where voting is compulsory and a general election was held on the same day. But the overall results were stark: while the combination of pro-EU center-left and center-right parties will keep control of the 751-seat EU legislature, the number of Euro-skeptic MEPs will more than double.

Writing for Breitbart London, James Delingpole explains that despite every effort by the political establishment to downplay or deliberately misconstrue the results of the elections, it marks the beginning of a revolution “which will completely transform the face of politics across Europe and which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the European Union.” 

Furthermore, he explains why in terms that should resonate deeply—with the American public. “What these election results symbolise is the depth of disgust felt across Britain and through continental Europe at the remoteness, incompetence, complacency and dispiriting saminess of the political class (and its amen corner in the mainstream media, in the corporations, in the bureaucracy and the judiciary),” he writes. 

It remains to be seen if Americans will reject our own version of top-down bureaucracy populated by a tone-deaf ruling class, determined to embrace such dubious initiatives as comprehensive immigration reform, or global warming legislation–championed by the mainstream media echo chamber and various members of the corporate class. For the longest time, the American left has yearned for our nation to emulate Europe. If this rejectionist avalanche is any indication, the November mid-term election may indeed see that wish fulfilled in a way that the Left hadn’t expected.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • Ellman48

    “Both victories were indicative of a
    surge best described as an anti-EU, anti-mass immigrant wave aimed at
    establishment politicians and the apparently untenable status quo.”

    Let us hope that the pendulum of history has started to swing away from degenerate socialism and globalism towards conservatism and nationalism. Let us hope that what happened in Europe is a good omen for what will happen in the US in Nov 2014 so that Obama’s Marxism and Islamophilia is finally neutralized, that the country’s direction can be altered towards free markets and prosperity and away from big government incompetence and national malaise.

    • wildjew

      I find all this interesting; the use of political terms (labels) and their meaning. The consensus in the media is the “far right” or “extreme right-wing” nationalists, etc., have made terrific gains in France and other European countries. Israeli news sites are likewise characterizing the results this way. My guess is NRO editor Jonah Goldberg author of “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change” (I’ve got the book) would take issue with that characterization? Fox News says: “Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant parties make big gains in European Union elections.” The title of this piece: “The Meaning of the European Elections.” No “right” much less far right to be found.

  • Texas Patriot

    The meaning of these elections is that people are beginning to wake up and realize that globalization is a formula for disaster.

    • BS77

      The bottom line: Millions of Europeans are SICK of the leftist liberal agenda….allowing a flood of hostile ingrates immigrate into their countries….then allowing them to go on welfare….the super high taxes, the bureaucracies, the endless rules and PC demands placed on the citizenry. SICK OF IT ALL>

      • laura r

        where were they 25yrs ago?? i was sick of this in the US way before the 1990s.

    • IronMaidenaregods

      Bollocks. Globalization is good, free trade is good.

      Protectionism and localization is false and irrational.

      • Texas Patriot

        Globalization and free trade are fine so long as you have something to trade and you don’t end up buying much more than you are selling. Unfortunately, in the spirit of free trade and globalization, Great Britain, America and most of the rest of Western Civilization have “outsourced” most manufacturing jobs and manufacturing industries to the Third World with the net effect that we no longer have any tradable commodities to sell. Instead being nations with positive trade balances and net trade surpluses, we have become consumer nations living on borrowed money. It’s been an absolute formula for disaster, and there is no end in sight. And if you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, just watch this video. It’s Dr. Robert Atkinson introducing his new book Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (Yale University Press 2012).

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWM08DzTuhY

        If you can watch this video and still think the form globalization being practiced in the West is a good thing, I will be very surprised.

  • UCSPanther

    It was inevitable that people would get a clue once the bills came due and the crisis hit, and now they want change. A wise woman once said something about what happens when socialists run out of other peoples’ money…

    The closest parallel to today’s society that I can see is the Weimar Republic: A period of reckless spending, debt-fueled decadence, the attitude that tomorrow never comes, mindless hedonism and the explosion of “Progressive” ideas that did much to weaken an already weak nation. It inevitably went into its crisis in the 1930s and collapsed…

    We are currently at the crisis stage…

  • Chezwick

    “Writing for Breitbart London, James Delingpole explains that despite every effort by the political establishment to downplay or deliberately misconstrue the results of the elections, it marks the beginning of a revolution “which will completely transform the face of politics across Europe and which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the European Union.” ”

    “Inevitably”….???

    Nothing would make me happier, but let’s try to contain the to hyperbole. These results are indeed hopeful, but the process has a long way to play out….and there are a myriad of potential outcomes, one of which is the rapid decline of this movement after its meteoric rise.

    Reality check.

    • nimbii

      These people are politicians and will do what works for them to get reelected once the music stops.

      Once Europeans feel the financial pinch of the relative value of franks, pounds, marks, etc., they will come back to the Euro.

      • Patriot077

        Didn’t the Brits reject the Euro and retain their pounds?

        • nimbii

          Sorry, you’re correct. Got carried away.

          • Patriot077

            Thanks for reply. I thought maybe my memory was flawed – it wouldn’t be the first time! :)

  • Hard Little Machine

    I am not thrilled with Far Right Redux. But with barely a million Jews left in Europe and perhaps only half that who would ever move it’s certainly a more manageable logistics problem for when the time comes for them to leave.

    • wildjew

      Interesting, you are calling this a “far right” redux. See my comment below.

    • edlancey

      You’re out of date – the threat to jews is from muslims. The people voting for your “Far Right” are the only ones who have the guts to recognise that reality.

      • Hard Little Machine

        Those Jobbik and Golden Dawn loons have little worry about being called out on their antisemitism. One way or another, the far left and the far right will join hands and decide another holocaust is in both their interests.

        • Drakken

          Wrong, the right and the left will be at each others throats soon enough and then the muslims will be dealt with.

  • nimbii

    The VA scandal is a telling story. Big government is not effective, not responsive and not accountable. It tells us what Obamacare will be like in 5 years and people don’t like it (at least those not exempted from Obamacare).

    The media should be humiliated in supporting all of this, but they aren’t.

    Somehow, they figure to have a ride on the train. But what about the oncoming train coming of Americans who are sick of tax payer funded political elites and beltway affluence.

    • fiddler

      They still have the racism charge. Apparently that trumps all.

    • BS77

      Investigative journalism is on life support. The mass idiot media has become an Orwellian system that promotes, protects and bolsters the Democrat party…..is an organ of the Democrat party

  • antisharia

    I don’t like the EU, but I don’t think much will come of this. These populist uprisings never last very long. The anti EU parties didn’t win a majority, or close to it. And since they are nationalist parties it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to form a coherent opposition. In the next elections these parties will see their share of the vote plummet.

    • Hktony

      funny I don’t like America and not much will come of Obama ! These populist voters never last long. In the next election ……
      You maybe wrong there is a feeling the eu politicians are out of touch and unlike America we have an alternative party to vote for.

    • stringman

      I hear that! I distinctly remember when Bill Clinton announced ‘The era of big government is over.’ We see how that worked out….how quickly and massively government was able to regroup. The voters occasionally wake up…but always and immediately go right back to sleep. Mark my words….Don’t hold your breath.

    • Atheist Aardvark

      If we sent all the Muslims back to the desert and closed out borders then things might go back to the way they were. But these issues are not going to just go away and violence is coming to Europe that will make the Balkans look like a picnic.

  • Pepe Turcon

    The one and only message is to stop once and for all the communism disguised as socialisms or EU’ism or whatever means creating a useless shapeless burocracy just to feed the useless dogooders. Europe said: enough is enough and back to freedom to the individual. Your earnings are YOUR earnings and you don’t have to feed anybody less the foreigners.
    And don’t forget….this is the very last chance to solve things peacefully. Plan B is war and people will be ready for it. Have been for over 3000 years.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    Or maybe the upsets were about tribalism. Europeans have always fought with each other, often to the death.

    • Drakken

      The Europeans no matter how much they were at each other throats, will inevitably come together to fight a foreign invader, especially the dreaded muslims. It is too late to expel the muslim invader, it will have to be done the good ole fashioned way.

      • UCSPanther

        The Balkan peoples hate each other with a passion, but they are united in one thing: Hatred of the Turks, stemming from the Ottoman Empire…

        • Drakken

          Ever wonder why Vlad “The Impaler” Tepish is considered a patron Saint in the Balkan area and is celebrated to this day?

          • UCSPanther

            The Turks feared him, and for very good reason.

  • rebaaron

    Reality has peeled away the leftist fraud that is the European Union and its policy of bringing the Arab enemy into the heart of Europe’s cultures and countries.

  • Rosasolis

    Although the European Union is based on a coelition of winning parties from
    28 countries, the winner in last week’s election was the united Christian parties of
    Europe, with the largest wins in Netherlands (the CDA) and in Germany (the CDU).
    We are happy that these moderate conservative parties, whose constitution is
    based on teachings from the Old and New Bible Testaments are still supported by
    young and old together. Europe can no longer allow mass immigration of
    illegals into Italy, France, and then further to other countries! Our detention
    centers are now overfull, and in Netherlands we have no more beds left over!
    We can longer provide shelter, food, medical care and clothing for hundreds
    of thousands of illiterate immigrants, most of whom are Islamists! Many of
    these illegal immigrants have pregnant wives and several young children!
    The socialist government of Hollande in France has not done anything
    to stop accepting so many illegals during recent years. This is why France
    voted for the extreme right government of Marine le Pin. I’m sure that the
    conservative (Christian) governments of Europe will soon get together
    to change the current law of accepting so-called “refugees” as standard precedure. These people have forced Europe into terrible recession,
    I hope that Americans will also wake up and realize that we in Europe and
    North-America cannot keep on supporting enormous populations of
    illegal immigrants….
    Over-population of humans is killing this world!

  • Hktony

    What has happened at least in England , did Wales vote?, is that the greedy middle class are getting a taste of the loony left hitting their pocket. The working class have had to deal with the immigration issues,poles affecting the ability of locals to get work, it has been reported that jobs where advertised in Poland, the increase is Muslims into poorer areas, and so on. But now there is a sudden interest in this by the so called middle class who find that jobs, housing have become impossible for their dear darling graduate children to buy due to immigration . Cost of living has hugely increased and they are also subject to the decline in living standards . Also they also get a taste of Islam as they are forced to see muzzies spreading into towns, and cities and destroying social cohesion. These greedy fakers now don’t like it! As I said many times things don’t change until the middle class are ready for change. I think that is why the govts are trying to weaken them so they cannot fight back! Nevertheless there is a pushback but not for the right reasons, justice and democracy. It is because of personal salvation and greed! They, the middle class have ignored the problem saying to me how things aren’t really that bad, they know a muzzie and he is so nice, blah blah. These soft core liberals are the reason why there is this mess. I hate them more than muzzies. These middle class don’t care that their country is being destroyed until they are affected. Bastards! Just remember they turned a blind eye to people from poor areas being raped by muzzies. Young white girls, children! They said nothing but called those who spoke out racists. I sometimes wonder if it wasn’t for some decent people in the uk should it be saved at all?