Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jean Marie Le Pen welcomes enlargement

My goodness me. Wikipedians move fast. There is already a Wikipedia entry for Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty, the new far-right grouping in the European Parliament, whose construction was enabled by the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. And they don't appear to have even sorted out their own website yet. It was the Romanians, really, who made the difference, bringing numbers to the party (five members). They belong to the odious and anti-semitic Greater Romania Party (the name says it all). With these five, and one from Bulgaria (described by EU Observer as someone 'who caused a ruckus in the parliament last year when he circulated a derogatory email about Roma people') the new group have just made it over the threshold of 20 MEPs, with representatives from seven states. The main beneficiaries of the change are the seven French members of the Front National who can avoid for the first time since 1994 sitting in the wilderness of the non-aligned benches where none of the support which flows from being a European Parliament group flows to them. Hence my headline - Le Pen, the arch nationalist, has all the more reason to welcome the accession of these two new members, as the French newspaper Liberation points out. What an irony. Apart from. The other four states contributing members of this group are Austria (kicked out of the Freedom Party for being too extreme), Italy (including the granddaughter of Mussolini), the Belgian Flemist nationalists Vlaams Belang and ... wait for it ... a former member of UKIP, sitting in the European Parliament because he was elected under the UKIP banner, Ashley Mole. It is fair to say, of course, that he is no longer a member of UKIP, but really....that's not the point. It was UKIP, under the UK list system, which got him elected.

It seems reasonable to suggest that the new party group will not necessarily be a happy place to be. There are intense contradictions inherent in cooperating in a cross-national group if your political position is in essence nationalist and sovereigntist. Although the rewards of being out of the wilderness of non-alignment are great, it is not inconceivable that the party group will collapse under the weight of its contradictions. Alternatively, it is possible that it may grow and attract further members, as a process of continuing realignment of the rightist groups in the European Parliament continues. The League of Polish Families, currently sitting in the Independence Democracy group may be tempted the politics of this new grouping of populist far-rightist politicians. After that, next stop - a European Political Party of the far right operating outside the European Parliament and enjoying funding under the EU rules which support such pan-European groupings. Now such a sharing of sovereignty really would be a challenge to a group of sovereigntist national parties.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

More, please!

What did you think of David Cameron's article in today's Telegraph? (Sun 4th).

5:37 pm  
Blogger BondWoman said...

Not a lot, is the honest answer? I haven't got the time or energy to fisk it, but I wish I did/could.

2:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Boris van der Ham, MP, the Netherlands
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Geert Lambert, MP, Belgium
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5:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the name is Ashley Mote

11:18 am  
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