Establishment urged to ‘Keep calm in the face of European populism’ – Greens, SNP, NHAP, Plaid Cymru and UKIP please note
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First debase its meaning:
A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite, becomes ‘a political ideology claiming’/‘asserting’ that it speaks for the common people’, (FT editorial, 28th December), adding:
“They must persuade voters that core elements of the populists’ platforms are incoherent and unrealistic. If implemented, they would harm the economies, social fabric and international standing of their nations”.
The writer adds that an ongoing search will be made for ‘skeletons’ in the cupboards of senior ‘populists’ which can be used to discredit them – standard political tactics beloved of our British ‘Whips’.
Podemos, a new movement that grew out of street demonstrations against politicians and banks, won five seats in the European Parliament as Spanish voters lent their voice to protests against mainstream parties. It was co-founded earlier this year on the model of Syriza, now leading polls in Greece, by Professor Pablo Iglesias, other academics and participants of the Indignados movement, born after the 2008 financial crisis.
In September, the Wall Street Journal marvelled: “Something extraordinary is going on in European politics. The populist rebellion saw fringe parties secure almost 25% of the seats in the European Parliament in May”, adding that Podemos is the preferred option for 18% of those likely to vote in Spain, citing an opinion poll by Spain’s state-controlled Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.
Global finance might be on the verge of losing this freedom and facing some borders soon if the latest polls from Spain, Greece and Slovenia prove to be an accurate forecast.
Podemos calls for political control over the European Central Bank and unlimited purchases of government bonds and appears to be a natural ally for Alexis Tsipras’s anti-austerity Syriza party, which won the biggest share of the vote and six seats in Greece.
In November Srecko Horvat shed some light on Syriza, the most popular party in Greece, with an 11% lead over New Democracy commenting: “If an early general election were held in February, there is almost no doubt that Syriza would finally be able to form a government”.
The FT advises politicians to “renounce the discredited game of making patently undeliverable promises in order to win office. If it is too much to expect them to come fully clean about their past occasional incompetence, they can at least say humbly that they will try their best next time to meet higher standards”.
Not a word is said, however, about the corruption which so often exposed in Britain, and currently making headlines in Spain: see the Economist.
“The contrast between cold-hearted market-focused eurocrats and the will and passion of the poorer people in southern Europe will be very stark indeed”.
The FT reassures vested interests: “In most countries, populist parties relish their outsider status and prefer slogan-making to the compromises essential to democratic government”.
Could the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru and NHAP, driven by a concern for the public good, manage to work with and influence UKIP for the better? It would be well worth the effort.