Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeOpinionElection effects on the European continent

Election effects on the European continent

The over-anticipated fear of a lurch to the right in the French election did not happen, and the widely anticipated move to the left in the British election did not happen either. Many speculated that President Macron dissolved the National Assembly to bring a National Rally government to power with a shaky parliamentary position that he could spur on from the Elysee Palace while this political movement squandered its honeymoon and its novelty. Voters did not allow such a process, but the existence now in the French parliament of three blocs with closely competing numbers of legislators, left, centre, and supposedly right, is an impressive anticlimax, Brussels Signal reports.

According to the French constitution, it should be at least a year before new parliamentary elections, during which time the country will either have a succession of supporters of the president but with a highly unambitious legislative programme, or a so-called technocratic government of competent but clearly unengaged people acting as an interim regime, or some kind of surprising agreement between the president’s Ensemblistes and either the left or the right.

Throughout the election campaign, there has been talk of a virtual common front between a coalition of the presidential Ensemblistes and the left-radical horse of the New Popular Front, made up of Communists, Socialists, Greens and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s left-radical France Insoumise. If such a coalition comes to pass, in the next presidential election, if Marine Le Pen plays her cards competently, as she has generally done for several years now, the RN will become a moderate-conservative alternative to the Tower of Babel, containing a blanmange centre and some 25 per cent of the French extreme left, which is totally unacceptable for the country.

Le Pen should begin by courting the traditional Republicans, who appear to have garnered about twelve per cent of the vote. If she manages to negotiate with them, her leader in the legislature, Jordane Bardella, will lead the largest parliamentary bloc of some 190 deputies.

Pension age issue in France

Perhaps the most accurate measure of the ideological stance of these parties is the issue of the retirement age, which Macron, perhaps as the greatest achievement of his presidency and with great difficulty, raised from 60 to 64. The RN can live with 62, but the New Popular Front demands a complete retreat to 60 (and no doubt beyond). The Treasury cannot afford either of these alternatives.

Since Macron has no visible successor who will make a big impression on the country, his party will disintegrate as quickly as he created it out of nowhere seven years ago, and the RN is better placed to poach from it than the hydra-headed, wild-eyed left-wing coalition whose most visible spokesman, Mélenchon, looks and talks more like a talented star of modern political satire than a future president of the Republic, according to Brussels Signal.

What happened after UK’s election

The British election has demonstrated the ability of that country’s political system to avoid precisely the situation that now threatens France. For the first time in British history, one party has produced five consecutive failed prime ministers in seven years, and it was imperative that the Conservative Party (which is no longer even remotely conservative), responsible for this prolonged fiasco, be severely punished by the voters.

But the Labour Party has done absolutely nothing to inspire confidence that it will govern better or more sensibly. Its only virtues are that it is the main opposition party, which means it should be allowed to govern, and in its more than a century of history it has only once, under Tony Blair, won more than one consecutive term.

In this stark contrast between proportional and majoritarian voting systems, while in France the three political groupings had relatively close results in the popular vote and in the National Assembly, in Britain Labour won virtually no percentage of the popular vote, but the shift from the Conservatives to the right-wing Reform Party and to the centre-left Liberal Democrats deprived the Conservative Party of some 40 per cent of voters and two-thirds of MPs, leaving the Labour Party with the largest number of MPs with respect to per cent of the popular vote since these figures were recorded: almost two thirds of the members of Parliament, with barely one third of the popular vote.

Since only Tony Blair has held consecutive terms of office in the history of the Labour Party, and the incoming regime clearly does not look attractive unless it wows observers with deep imagination and good governance, a Starmer government will represent a survivable interlude for the Conservatives to clean house, elect a serious leader and return to a modernised Thatcherite programme.

Confrontation in the US

Meanwhile, especially with important elections in Europe, it may not yet have dawned on Europeans how quickly the idea of a second Biden administration has evaporated into the ether. As is usually the case when vulnerable political structures begin to collapse, their fall widens and accelerates.

On a human level, it’s hard not to sympathise with a sitting president suffering from age-related changes, as is the case with so many, affecting almost every family in America and elsewhere. But it is also hard not to sympathise with those in the national political media in the United States who cover up this decline they have witnessed, and with the president’s family who have clung to the presidency for as long as they could with a zeal that looks more like opportunism than reverence for the patriarch.

All polls show President Trump ahead of President Biden in every major policy area, as they should: for the first time in more than a century, the track records of two rival successive presidents can be put side by side in the minds of almost all voters and compared.

The Democrats’ winning strategy of shouting from the rooftops that Trump is a gangster, a threat to democracy and an incorrigible liar has failed. It turned out that his lies were merely a refutation of his enemies’ lies about him.

The Supreme Court effectively got rid of the outrageous perversion of the criminal justice system in the form of an unconstitutional prosecution of the leader of the opposition, and Trump – the braggart and bully of yesteryear – turned into a valiant and successful outsider while retaining his remarkable comedic talents. It is heartening that there are now rumours that a number of leading NATO countries are making informal contacts with the former president. All polls and all bets, whether the Democrats retain the incumbent or reshuffle the captains of their ship, point to a decisive victory for Trump, who will lead both houses of Congress on the basis of a solid, reassuring and proven programme.

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular