A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

Anything to say? Contact me at europeandisunion@yahoo.co.uk

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Left-Wing Populism Is Not the Answer

The French Communist Party: the largest in Melenchon's Front de Gauche.

The Guardian's most left-wing columnist thinks that left-wing populism is the answer. Seamus Milne, of the by-election in Bradford West and the apparent surge of far-left French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, writes that 'a well-known former parliamentarian from the main centre-left party has used acharismatic radical left populism to mobilise alienated voters at the sharp end of austerity against a political elite that has failed to deliver for them for decades.' Campaigning on left-wing populist principles is, he insists, a winning formula for the future.

But, though George Galloway is certainly left-wing, you'll find no evidence of it in his campaign literature. Take a look at this letter, copies of which were handed out by supporters outside Bradford mosques. Boldly beginning 'to voters of the Islamic faith and Pakistani heritage,' it is essentially a diatribe why Galloway is more Muslim than the other candidates, containing a list of his various accolades in Islamic countries for good measure. There is no summary or full employment policy or plans for the expansion of the welfare state. Rather, it is an open pitch to sectarian and pan-Islamic nationalist sentiment.

Likewise Melenchon only overtook le Pen in France when it was believed that the mass-murderer was a disgruntled far-right activist who 'hung around the fringes of le Pen rallies.' It's not difficult to overtake a close rival when someone suspected of being in their camp commits a terrorist atrocity. Nor is it difficult to stay ahead - for a time. The Progess Party in Norway was reeling from the aftermath of the 22nd July attacks for months, even though it was admitted by the murderer himself that their conservative-liberal ideology (basically Tories, without many environmental policies and not as prone to obfuscation when it comes to immigration) played no part in the killings. Since then, the Progess Party has almost attained its pre-attack levels of popularity. There's no reason that le Pen will not do the same. In fact, when you consider that the polling company which showed her to slipping behind Melenchon, LH2, routinely scores her popularity lower than the across-poll average, and she has put distance between herself and Melenchon in the past, all this talk of an Melenchon takeover might yet turn out to be much ado about nothing.

There are already twenty-nine left-of-Labour parties in the UK who do campaign on a platform of 'cuts, tuition fees, unemployment, poverty and the decline of a city neglected and mismanaged by all the main parties.' They range, ideologically, from watermelons to revolutionary Marxist-Leninists. And all of them, combined, were outpolled at the last election. By UKIP. Twenty to one. There may be a 'yawning political gap,' but it left-populism clearly is not wanted to fill it.

1 comment:

  1. I live in France, and as far as I can gather from talking to the locals (farmers etc in my area) they are likely to vote Marine le pPen - mainly because she is NOT mainstream. A protest vote, if you will.
    A bit like the UK, where people are starting to say "a pox on ALL your houses".
    Will the elite take note? ha ha ha. No. duh.