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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

UKIP’s new Europe of Freedom and Democracy group

The old eurosceptic Independence/Democracy group in the European Parliament was kept more or less respectable largely thanks to the influence of its former joint leader Jens-Peter Bonde, who stemmed from the relatively moderate lefty side of euroscepticism. Now, however, Bonde has retired and his old June Movement was wiped out at the European elections – along with its Polish equivalent – and the Ind/Dem group died with them.

But now, from the ashes, UKIP leader Nigel Farage (the former joint leader of Ind/Dem) has managed to salvage an alliance – with 30 MEPs from 8 countries (where the EP requires 25 MEPs from 7 countries for an official group to qualify for funding and committee places). But where the old Ind/Dem group was confined largely to criticising the EU and calling for repatriation of powers to the member states by the restraining influence of the left-wing anti-EU parties, this new group appears to be taking a decidedly more hardline nationalist approach, characterised primarily by strongly anti-immigration rhetoric.

UKIP dominates the new group with 13 MEPs, and for this we should be grateful – because they seem to be one of the most moderate parties in the thing.

Their major partners are Italy’s Lega Nord, with 9 representatives. What do these chaps – part of Berlusconi’s broad church right-wing governing coalition – believe? Well, let’s ask Wikipedia…

The party is often described as “xenophobic” and “anti-immigrant”. [Leader] Umberto Bossi himself, described African immigrants as Bingo-bongos, in an interview suggested opening fire on the boats of illegal immigrants who would disembark in Italy.

In 2002 Erminio Boso, a Lega Nord politician from the Province of Trento, proposed a separate train for immigrants and Italians. In 2003 he former Mayor of Treviso, Giancarlo Gentilini, while in office, spoke about those he called “immigrant slackers”, saying, “We should dress them up like hares and bang-bang-bang”.

Add to that the call by one of the party’s deputy mayors for “an ethnic cleansing of faggots”, and I’m sure you’ll agree that UKIP have chosen some regular charmers. But it doesn’t end there…

There’s also a couple of MEPs from the anti-immigration Dansk Folkeparti, whose leader, Pia Kjærsgaard, lost a 2003 libel action against a political opponent who accused the party of having “racist policies” – making the DPP an officially racist organisation. DPP politicians have also come under fire for comparing the Qu-ran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf (evidently unaware of Godwin’s Law), while others are on record as saying “In many ways, we are anti-Muslims”.

Slightly less mad is the MEP from the Dutch Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij – they just want the Netherlands to be reformed along strict Calvinist lines, with all laws to be derived from the Bible.

There’s also a couple of True Finns (Perussuomalaiset), who have also been involved with the Tories’ new centre-right eurosceptic grouping, one of whose party members is currently facing two years in jail on race hate charges for describing all foreigners as “criminals”, and asylum-seekers as “gang-rapists” and “parasites”.

Then there’s a couple of MEPs from the delightful Greek Laïkós Orthódoxos Synagermós – former members of Ind/Dem who have been repeatedly accused of anti-semitism (including their founder/leader, who is alleged to have called for a debate on “the Auschwitz and Dachau myth”, claimed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a reality, and blamed “the Jews” for the September 11th 2001 attacks.

The new group has already been described as being “far-right lite” – with UKIP accused of hoping to tone down some of the more overtly racist/fascist rhetoric of their new partners and repackaging the strongly anti-immigration stance that is the new group’s one binding ideology into a more friendly, populist package.

But will it last? The last racist group in the European Parliament, the short-lived Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty soon fell apart when its members all realised that the other members were, well, filthy foreigners. Could the same happen to UKIP’s new group? And is UKIP – a party that has striven hard in the last few years to shake off its past image as being xenophobic and anti-foreigner – really going to be prepared to be associated with parties with such unpleasant associations?

Yet here’s some confusion… While UKIP refuse to back the Conservative party in the UK thanks to the Tories being centre-right eurosceptics but – crucially – not withdrawalist like UKIP, they seem quite happy to do business with all these parties in their new group in the European Parliament – none of whom, bar UKIP themselves, advocate withdrawing from the EU.

So what is it that makes UKIP think that they have more in common with these European parties than they do with the Tories in the UK? Because the only thing I can see that ties these parties together beyond the standard centre-right euroscepticism that would see them as good fits for the Tories own new group is precisely the hardline, frequently (allegedly) racist approach to immigration.

13 Comments

  1. Funny old world; the EU parliament is designed to force national parties to join groups made up of members from several states, with the carrot of extra money and influence, the smaller parties then get pilloried for trying to meet the conditions.

  2. Wake up Nosemonkey: These EP groups are meaningless other than as a way to secure funding. No voter in the UK cares tuppence for which British party sits in what group in Brussels, which is just as well for Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Nobody even cares who there MEPs are which is just as well for the Labour and Liberal Democrats too, or they might suffer in the real elections to Westminster for the antics of federalist nutters in Brussels such as Andrew Duff and Richard Corbett.

    The EU Parliament represents no interest other than that of its members in increasing their own power and perks. The most damming indictment against it is that increases in its power are accompanied by the growing feeling that the EU is undemocratic. No federalist has been able to explain this apparent paradox, because to do so what be to admit the failure of federalism itself.

  3. “the smaller parties then get pilloried for trying to meet the conditions.”

    No, they get pilloried for allying themselves with with groups a lot more extreme than they claim to be.

    And if you think UKIP are a small party, think again.

    And even if they are just a small party, you can hardly the say the same about the Tories, who got pilloried in a similar fashion.

    “These EP groups are meaningless other than as a way to secure funding.”

    So UKIP are only allying themselves with a bunch of fascists and extremists because of the monetary benefits? That’s much better then.

    Godwin’s laws already been violated on this page, so I feel I can say that it’s good to know that if Hitler was an MEP, Nigel Farage would have no problems joining up with him for their own financial benefit.

    “No voter in the UK cares tuppence for which British party sits in what group in Brussels”

    Well I’m a voter from the UK, and I certainly care “tuppence” (more so actually). Oh… you were exaggerating. You were saying that most people here don’t care. Well so what? That “people don’t care” is not a valid defence of immorality. It amounts to argumentum ad populum.

    “Nobody even cares who there MEPs are which is just as well for the Labour and Liberal Democrats too, or they might suffer in the real elections to Westminster for the antics of federalist nutters in Brussels such as Andrew Duff and Richard Corbett.”

    Well for starters, Richard Corbett isn’t a MEP anymore.

    Andrew Duff though, is an MEP, and he does seem to be a federalist (I’d never heard of him before you mentioned him). However, federalism isn’t the Lib Dem platform (or Labour for that matter) so the fact that they have a member who supports federalism means nothing compared to the fact that the extremist views of UKIP’s allies that nosemonkey mentions, are the stated beliefs of those parties, not the anomalous beliefs of individual members.

    Regardless, if you truly think that federalism is in any way as nutty as, say, “the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a reality”, then you’re an idiot. Criticize federalism all you want, but doing so does not in any way exonerate racism, xenophobia or antisemitism.

    “The most damming indictment against it is that increases in its power are accompanied by the growing feeling that the EU is undemocratic. No federalist has been able to explain this apparent paradox, because to do so what be to admit the failure of federalism itself.”

    Oooh, a growing feeling, eh? Perchance this growing feeling is created by the eurosceptic media? The fact that there’s a growing feeling of the EU being undemocratic (not actual evidence that it is undemocratic) accompanied by (fabled) increases in its power, means nothing. You’re complaining about it being undemocratic, on a blog post about EU political parties forming a new group, just after having had an election where voters voted them in. I don’t know why you can’t find the democracy, because it’s staring you in your face.

    And how would a federalist explaining your “paradox”, “admit the failure of federalism itself”? The EU isn’t a federal state, so how it operates can’t be a failure of federalism!

  4. The position with the True Finns is a bit more complicated, the quotes you have all come from one notorius blogger and now Helsinki councilman. He stood on the True Finns ticket but wasn’t even a party member at the time, although I think he is now. Nevertheless, this seems like a very good group for them – they are rather like the Danish People’s Party, a populist anti-immigrant, anti-establishment rightwing party, but one that comes from a popular movement rather than the neo-fascist milieux of the BNP or Front National sorts.

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  9. @Alex and his attempted fisking of earlier comments:

    Alex: ‘Well for starters, Richard Corbett isn’t a MEP anymore.’

    So what? He has spent his whole adult life trying to create a federal Europe and (alas) has had a huge influence on the way the EU has turned out. It was Corbett, for example, who was chiefly responsible for making it harder for small parties to form blocks, which is what we’re discussing.

    Corbett was an MEP for more than a decade and, before that, worked for the Parliament for fifteen years or so as a technocrat and political advisor. Umberto Bossi, Erminio Boso, Giancarlo Gentilini, Pia Kjærsgaard and Nosemonkey’s unnamed Greek antisemite have never even been MEPs. Are you going to rule them out of the discussion too?

    Alex: ‘Andrew Duff though, is an MEP, and he does seem to be a federalist (I’d never heard of him before you mentioned him). However, federalism isn’t the Lib Dem platform (or Labour for that matter) so the fact that they have a member who supports federalism means nothing compared to the fact that the extremist views of UKIP’s allies that nosemonkey mentions, are the stated beliefs of those parties, not the anomalous beliefs of individual members.’

    The extremist beliefs that Nosemonkey mentions are not ‘the stated beliefs of those parties’. He offers quotes from individual members, an unWikipedic ‘often described as’ from Wikipedia, a lawsuit and a ‘have repeatedly been accused of’ of his own. Some people might consider the beliefs of the Dutch Calvinist party to be extreme but (at least as summarised by Nosemonkey) they are not racist or homophobic.

    Alex: ‘Regardless, if you truly think that federalism is in any way as nutty as, say, “the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a reality”, then you’re an idiot. Criticize federalism all you want, but doing so does not in any way exonerate racism, xenophobia or antisemitism.’

    Straw man.

    Freeborn John: ‘The most damming indictment against it is that increases in its power are accompanied by the growing feeling that the EU is undemocratic. No federalist has been able to explain this apparent paradox, because to do so what be to admit the failure of federalism itself.’

    Alex: ‘Oooh, a growing feeling, eh? Perchance this growing feeling is created by the eurosceptic media?’

    Even Corbett accepts that there is a democratic deficit in the EU (when it suits him). He has, for example, claimed that one of the main benefits of the Lisbon Treaty is that it would reduce the DD.

    Alex: The fact that there’s a growing feeling of the EU being undemocratic (not actual evidence that it is undemocratic) accompanied by (fabled) increases in its power,’

    Fabled? How can the Lisbon Treaty ‘streamline’ the EU if not by taking more powers from the member states? And why, if the structures of the EU have not become more powerful, do we not have a simple trading bloc?

    Alex: ‘means nothing. You’re complaining about it being undemocratic, on a blog post about EU political parties forming a new group, just after having had an election where voters voted them in. I don’t know why you can’t find the democracy, because it’s staring you in your face.’

    Elections don’t prove anything. Some democracies are more democratic than others. If the EU’s True Believers aren’t worried about the EU’s remoteness from its electorates and the lack of a popular mandate for the Project then why do they spend so long crying into their beer about how unloved they are and what was Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate all about? (Actually, it was all about manufacturing amnesia, but let’s forget about that.)

    Alex: ‘And how would a federalist explaining your “paradox”, “admit the failure of federalism itself”? The EU isn’t a federal state, so how it operates can’t be a failure of federalism!’

    At least I can agree with that. The EU isn’t a federalist state. It’s a corporatist tranzi enarchy with some pretensions to both statehood and federalism. Or something.

    Whatever it is, it isn’t working. The solution? Do less. If the EU did less it would find that what it does do is doable. And – who knows? – the people it currently does doo-doos on, democracywise, might even start to love it. (First step: Scrap the Parliament – now there’s a paradox for you!)

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  11. Encourage the Irish to vote NO TO LISBON!

    NO TO LISBON MEANS NO TO LISBON!
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  12. Here is a story that has been quiet down in sweden and their Media is involved too.

    In July 2009 took Sweden over the chairmanship of the European Union, and in September 2009 a large
    conference is planned in Kronoberg and Växjö with over 500 delegates representing most of the member states.

    With regard to the fact that the “investigation” was instigated in Växjö and the whole story revolving around authorities in Kronoberg it would be inappropriate that this horrible and shameful account should be drawn to the attention of the Public in all of the EU member states, and especially embarrassing for The Swedish State, Kronoberg, Växjö Council and others directly involved.
    Here is the shameful story:

    http://www.medicalforgery.com