Muslim Community Lobby Ireland is an independent organization established 1st May 2007. Its motto is TO USE THE VOTE RIGHTLY AND TO RAISE THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY AWARNESS WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER EXISTING GROUPS. لترشيد استعمال الصوت الانتخابي ولتوعية وتعريف المسلمين بحقوقهم في ايرلندا وان يعيشوا بتفهم للواقع وللجماعات الاخرى الموجودة على الساحة

Sunday, June 14, 2009

startling European election result is a big victory for Europe's conservatives

THIS startling European election result is a big victory for Europe's conservatives, a devastating result for the continent's social democrats, and a challenging result for the institutions of Europe itself. European voters don't seem to have read Kevin Rudd's essay on the collapse of neo-liberalism, the associated blame to be apportioned to mainstream conservative parties and the historic moment for the emergence of a new social-democratic consensus. In Britain, Labour lost to the conservatives in Wales. That would the equivalent of the Liberal Party winning Newcastle and Wollongong and the National Party taking the inner-city seats of Melbourne and Sydney. It's an astonishing result. But across Europe, with only a handful of exceptions, conservative parties triumphed whether they were in government or opposition. This is, analytically, more than a little perplexing. The Left around the world, and nowhere more than Europe, has been preening itself on the troubles and failures of capitalism, using arguments very similar to those in Rudd's essay. But the social democrats, and the parties further to the left of them, with the partial exception of the Greens, fared disastrously. Ruling conservative parties won European election victories in France and Germany and Britain and Poland, among others. Ruling social democratic or socialist parties got clobbered in Britain and Spain and Portugal and Austria, among others. Without putting too fine a point on it, this means you cannot attribute the results to either fatigue with incumbents, or the mechanical advantages of incumbency. As far as any result can be so construed, this was an ideological vote against social democracy and socialism generally. One French commentator, no doubt overstating things, argues that the Left has run out of useful ideas. Instead of European voters deciding that capitalism and its conservative boosters had brought them to crisis, and social democracy, in Rudd's terms, now had the historic mission of saving capitalism from itself, they seem to have decided instead that in times of economic crisis, the conservatives are the best ones to muddle through. This suggests a natural association in voters' minds between conservatives and sound economic management. Turnout was a low 43 per cent. An election for the European parliament is not the same thing as an election for national parliaments. But it would be undemocratic not to claim them as a mandate for the parties involved. Spain's socialist Prime Minister, Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero, lost a national election for the first time. France's conservative Nicolas Sarkozy has driven his social democratic rivals into almost utter oblivion. Italy's conservative leader, Silvio Berlusconi, brushed off the latest scandal about him and the 18-year-old underwear model to score a sweeping victory. No result was more astounding than Britain's, where the UK Independence Party, which at times in its history has sounded like John Cleese's Very Silly Party, out-polled Labour. The more disturbing trend was the success of frankly extremist or even xenophobic parties. The far-Right British National Party, which tends to take ultra-conservative working class votes from Labour, won its first two seats in the European parliament. Is this the high water mark for these parties? Or are the issues which propelled them to prominence becoming stronger and more polarised?

Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor June 09, 2009 Article from: The Australian