The paradox of how the EU destroys traditional major political parties

Numerous commentators are interested in so called populist parties. These are challenger parties of the right and left ranging from Syriza to the Austrian Freedom party, including Podemos and Ciudadanos in Spain, and Five Star in Italy.  No-one apart from me seems very interested in why the traditional Centre right main party in each country, often Christian Democrat, and the traditional centre left party, often Social democrat, have collapsed or shrunk badly in so many places.

Just look at what has happened. Two main parties used to alternate  in government in continental countries like Labour and Conservative in the UK ,depending on how well they did with their domestic economic policy primarily. Today few of them are left in power and none has a majority. In Spain the PP leads a minority coalition which can scarcely govern. In Germany and  the Netherlands no majority coalition has formed. In Greece the two main parties were swept away by Syriza. New Democracy (centre right) has recovered to second place whilst Pasok (centre left) remains on 6.3% of the vote. In France both main parties were demolished by Macron’s new movement in Parliamentary elections. Mr Macron beat the National Front to take the Presidency. Neither former main party had a  candidate in the second round.

It is true many of these places have systems of proportional representation making it more difficult for a main party to get a majority. It is also true that Greece and Italy have systems with offsets  that give extra blocs of seats to first placed parties to try to create majorities. The French two round system allows a main party to get a majority through ballot by exhaustion.

The underlying problem seems to be EU and Euro economic policy. The traditional parties in each country are wedded to EU and Euro requirements.  The policies often do not work out well economically for many people, so frustrated voters decide to challenge the orthodoxy by voting for a challenger party. Many of the challenger parties are explicitly Eurosceptic. Wilders in the Netherlands, Le Pen in France and Grillo in Italy are hostile to the Euro scheme. The Austrian Freedom party is hostile to EU migration policies, as is the National front in France, the Freedom party in Austria  and the Freedom movement in the Netherlands. The AFD in Germany began with opposition to the Euro and has moved on to be in favour of more restrictive immigration policies.

Meanwhile in the UK the opposite movement has happened. In the 2017 election the Conservative vote share rose by 5.6% and the Labour share by 9.6%, taking the two main traditional parties to a combined 82.4%. In Germany the equivalent was 47.3% combined share for the CDU and SPD, in the Netherlands 30.4% combined, and Greece 34.4%. Why did this happen?

There were two main reasons. The first is both UK parties decided to accept the verdict of the referendum and became Eurosceptic. The UKIP vote collapsed as a result. The second is Labour cut loose from the austerity policies of the EU  budgetary system and offered to spend and borrow much more money. This proved very attractive to young voters who were told they would get all their large student debts paid off, a promise which Labour only admitted was impossible after the election.

By offering to take back control, and by having a genuine difference of economic policy and approach, the two main parties in the UK re captured most of the vote. On the continent the refusal of main parties to criticise any aspect of the EU approach left voters looking around for ways to change a  consensus that does not work for them.

It is the oddest situation I have ever seen in politics. Normally old well  establlished and successful political parties adapt and change, altering policy when the electorate want change. Instead on the continent party after party is being slimmed or dem0lished by sticking with Euro austerity policies. As the member states governments get weaker, so the Commission gets stronger. More powers will inevitably gravitate to the centre, making the task of national pro EU parties ever more difficult.

 

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

110 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood, don’t count your chickens….. the Conservative Party is on probation to deliver Brexit, completely and successfully. If you don’t, you and the rest of the Tory party better have another career to follow.

    Talking of careers; what we, and I would think most of the European voters despise most, are career politicians, particularly those offspring of former politicians.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Yes its going to be like the Labour party in Scotland, a total wipeout.

      They aint got long to get their act together.

      • Doug Powell
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Agree totally! The PM may understand the world of bankers, but she does NOT understand people! Imagine going to Grenfell and not meeting any of the victims? All the time she is going out of her way to accommodate the remoaners, thereby ignoring the will of the winning 17.4 million of us. They will never forgive, or forget!
        It says a lot about the present day Conservative Party that there has not yet been a coup. Political self preservation at any cost used to be its mantra. Now, it seems that no one cares, they are content to stand, watch and shuffle along as the PM leads lambs to the slaughter! (Perhaps PC dictates that coups are taboo? )
        Adiós, Tory Party!

        • jerry
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          @Doug Powell; Not understanding people or community has been the way of the Tory party for the last 50 odd years, the PM is acting no different to any other Conservative leader in this regard. 🙁

          As for Brexit, TM is accommodating all who wish to leave, and those who voted Remain but accept the democratic will of the electorate, unlike the undemocratic and continually bleating 594K odd UKIP supporters who now want to unilaterally impose their Brexit wishes/needs upon the majority.

          Democrats ‘will never forgive, or forget’ the actions of UKIP post the 2016 referenda!

          “Adiós, Tory Party!”

          Indeed, but more so UKIP! Judging by the 2017 GE voting figures, those who had changed their vote since 1979 appear to be returning home – well done UKIP, for the third/fourth national party you have done very well to return the country to old style two party politics…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and T May so far has made a complete fist of it especially with her “punishment manifesto”, “let’s kick our voters in the teeth election”. She also has the wrong direction on the economy, expensive energy, climate alarmism, her attacks on Trump and the US, taxation level, intervention, the gig economy, her choice of chancellor and most other things.

      Unless, that is, she is actually trying for Brexit in name only and screw up the economy, as I half suspect.

      Certainly the offspring of former politicians do seem to be rather dire, even by the low standards of other career politicians. The Gummers, H Benn, Kinnocks, Mandelson, and Bottomleys spring to mind.

      • old salt
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic
        Indeed and T May so far has made a complete fist of it especially with her “punishment manifesto”, “let’s kick our voters in the teeth election”.

        Completely agree along with Labour making promises they wouldn’t keep following the election along with the alleged student double vote issue with UKIP voters being conned into giving their votes back in order to support Brexit.

        Just how on earth did she expect to increase her majority following such a manifesto? D Cameron resigned when the referendum vote went the wrong way so as not to keep his promise to trigger Article 50 the following day following an out vote. It’s almost as if the establishment didn’t want Brexit to win with the voters being told ‘job done’ following the Referendum.

        • rose
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          The opinion polls must have gone to her head and made her think she walked on water and could do as she pleased. All they indicated was that Corbyn was still dismissed; but as soon as people saw a lot of him they liked him – a whole lot more than her.

          • rose
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            Added to which, his manifesto was a giveaway, not a kick in the teeth as LL puts it.

    • Richard Evans
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      In the last election, many Brexiteers who voted UKIP previously gave their allegiance to the Conservatives as May and co stated “Brexit Means Brexit”. That is why the UKIP vote collpsed. If Theresa the Appeaser and her EU cohorts within the government and the party do not deliver a TRUE EXIT from the EU , UKIP will come to the fore once again.

      Do not forget also that Cameron offered a referendum on the EU to save the Conservative party NOT the COUNTRY. He and his fellow conspirators thought
      they would not lose.

      No man survives when freedom fails, The best men rot in filthy jails, And those who cry ‘appease, appease’ Are hanged by those they tried to please.

      • jerry
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        @Richard Evans; Many eurosceptic (not europhobic) ex-Labour voters also returned home to a eurosceptic Labour party too, another reason why UKIP lose votes, meaning that if UKIP stand at the next election and Conservative voters return to UKIP as you imply all they’ll do is give Corbyn a landslide…

        • NickC
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, The Tory/Labour increase – ascribed to ex-UKIP voters – was due to their trusting that the LabCon would implement Leave. That isn’t happening. However strenuously JR defends the government most Leave voters know we are being sold down the river. So I expect the pattern will reverse somewhat next May in both the local, and the possible general, elections.

          Moreover UKIP voters are not merely renegade Tories (as you said: “… ex-Labour voters also returned home to a eurosceptic [ha ha] Labour party …”. Therefore your Tory theme: vote UKIP, get Brown/Miliband/Corbyn/etc) is tired out and false, as it always has been. After all if everyone voted UKIP we will get UKIP. And then we’d definitely get Leave.

          • jerry
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; How do you know that it was “trust” and not ‘want’ that lead Brexit supporters to avoid UKIP at the last GE, considering that there were 28 different Leave (plus 19 different Remain) referendum manifestos?…

            Oh and how you mock resurgent Labour Euroscepticism, but they were traditionally eurosceptic when the majority of future UKIP supporters were still supporting Thatchers Tory party with her vision of a European wide single market that is -so you keep insisting- detested today.

            It is not my theme, ‘vote UKIP and risk getting a pro-EU government’, one Nigel Fararge boasted about UKIP causing the 2010 coalition, which could so easily have ended up being a Labour-LibDem (and/or SNP) one.

          • G Wilson
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            the pattern will reverse somewhat next May in both the local, and the possible general, elections

            In council by-elections over the last few months, UKIP have been losing any seat they contested.

            UKIP do not appear to be developing the capability to campaign and win, as they would need to do to damage the main parties.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, You can’t have it both ways. Either there is “resurgent Labour Euroscepticism” or there is “vote UKIP and risk getting a pro-EU government”. But not both. Unless you count the Conservatives as your “pro-EU government”?

            The fact remains that only by electing a UKIP government will we actually Leave the EU at the first opportunity. Even if you trust (some of) the Tory statements, we will not leave until at least 2021 and then not fully (regulatory alignment, ECJ, etc). And Labour has flipped entirely, wanting us to stay deeper in than Norway, that is not much different to now.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

            G Wilson, You may be right. Or I may be right. It’s the future and none of has a crystal ball. Nevertheless I repeat my prediction that UKIP will do better at the next elections than the punditry expect.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            Jerry said: “… [Thatcher’s] vision of a European wide single market that is -so you keep insisting- detested today.” That depends upon what you mean by a “single market”.

            Thatcher’s “vision” was for independent nations trading freely at zero/low tariffs on the basis of “mutual respect” of each others regulations and standards. The EU’s model is based on “harmonisation” via Brussels centrally imposed rules. The two models are radically different.

            Thatcher’s preferences were just to enable trade, but she lost. The EU’s model conveniently builds a superstate.

          • jerry
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; The 2010 GE result and its ramifications is a fact, due to UKIP we very nearly had a the most pro EU govt. ever had Labour been able to enter coalition with LDs and/or SNP support.

            Regards the comment by @G Wilson, again what he is saying is based on fact, your continued boasting about how UKIP will do at some date in the future is the only crystal ball gazing here.

            With regards Mrs T and the single Market. What you are trying to do is like claiming that George Stephenson was not the most significant person in the earliest days of the mechanical-horse railways – the had the mechanical horse not come along the coal mine owners would no doubt have carried using horses to pull carts full of coal.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, I suggest you read what Mrs Thatcher said about the single market herself, instead of putting your ideas into her head retrospectively.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, You seem to forget it is the voters who decide who to vote for, not you, and not the political parties.

            And again you are trying to have it both ways. You maintained (above) that “… ex-Labour voters also returned home to a eurosceptic Labour party …” confirming my own experience that, in 2010 and 2015, UKIP took votes from previously Tory and Labour voting people. It is therefore entirely in your imagination that voting UKIP at the next elections will “give Corbyn a landslide”.

            Any Corbyn landslide in 2018 or beyond will be down to the ineptitude of the Tory government, and its EU appeasement, as the 2017 debacle was. Moreover my saying that UKIP’s fortunes will “somewhat” reverse, hardly counts as a “boast”.

          • jerry
            Posted December 24, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            @NickC; Unlike you Nick I have read up on the history of the European Single Market. The SM (along with the Four Freedoms”) was largely nothing but a aspiration until the 1980s when Mrs T with the help of Arthur Cockfield (Baron Cockfield) laid before the Commission 300 proposals as to how the SM might be created and run. Did Mrs T really not understand the significance of the SM to the EEC, are you suggesting that Mrs T, as a senior MP and later as PM, never read the core founding objectives of the EEC and thus did not realise that the creation of the SM was the biggest single stepping stone to full enactment of the Four Freedoms and a politically united Europe? Perhaps she, nor her (special) advisor’s, did not…

            “You seem to forget it is the voters who decide who to vote for, not you, and not the political parties.”

            That is more than a bit rich coming from you, someone who loves to tell others what they voted for when voting for Brexit via a binary choice referendum!

            “Any Corbyn landslide in 2018 or beyond will be down to the ineptitude of the Tory government, “

            Yes and that ineptitude will have been caused by dogmatic people like you @NickC pushing your belief that OSFA with its associated outdated TINA mantra.

            “and its EU appeasement, as the 2017 debacle was. “

            That debacle was caused not by “EU appeasement”, nor even the arrogance of some Brexiteers thinking that everyone had voted collectively for their view as to why, how and when the UK should leave the EU. No the debacle was simply because of a disastrous domestic manifesto that took no account of the changing domestic political opinion amongst voters.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Really? What else are you going to vote? Its either a (sort of) Conservative Govt at the next election or a communist one. have a look at cuba and venezuela before casting a vote in anger likely to let corbyn in

      • jerry
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        @Richard1; That sort of comment tell us more about how far right the writers own politics are than it tells us how far to the left Mr Corbyn’s is.

        • NickC
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, Since Corbyn is a recorded admirer of Cuba, Venezuela, and the PIRA, I think your comment tells us more about your apparently europhile Butskellite politics. Especially since Richard1 was echoing your own point anyway.

          • jerry
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            @NickC; As I said, comments like yours (and Richard1) tell us more about you than it does JC, considering that all you can only ever do is parrot what the simplistic right wing press say.

            You accuse me of being “Butskellite” – guilty as charged and proud! As for the EU, am a Euro-realist, neither europhile nor eurosceptic.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, As I said, comments like yours tell us more about you than it does JC, considering that you cannot refute his support for Cuba, Venezuela and the PIRA. And people who are “neither europhile nor eurosceptic” enable the EU to flourish.

          • jerry
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            @NickC, As I said, all you do is repeat half-truths & sound-bites put about by the right wing press. I nor anyone else do not have to refute anything, it is for you to prove guilt.

            The true facts about Cuba and Venezuela, never mind Mr Corbyn’s views on the PIRA, are available to anyone who cares to read them.

            As for your rant about the EU, as if anything is that black or white! I could just as easily accuse europhobes of causing the EU to flourish, because the UK has been unable to play its full (and traditional) role since the early 1990s, thus being able to moderate the more federalist europhiles from damaging both the UK, and the rest of Europe.

          • NickC
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Above you warn us that voting UKIP will give Corbyn a landslide, yet here you seem to be defending him. Make up your mind please.

            There is ample video evidence of Corbyn at rallies and meetings supporting Cuba, Venezuela, and the PIRA. I don’t know what part of the MSM you follow (though oddly you think you know what I read), but you will find the original evidence on the internet. I suggest you do your own research instead of depending on the biased BBC.

          • jerry
            Posted December 24, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            NickC; You seem to have a problem differentiating between historical facts and political propaganda, you appear to think them two and the same.

            “I suggest you do your own research instead of depending on the biased BBC.”

            If I did the latter I would think as you do! Go and do your own research, it is not difficult these days [1], go find the full videos of Corbyn, not the edited clips put out by the MSM and those intent in creating party political half-truth, and it works both ways, for example Mrs T’s often miss-quoted “there is no such thing as society” comment, the full citation has quite different words and meaning.

            [1] and I suspect that was the reason why when, during the 2017 GE, the right wing press started to throw mud and brickbats towards Corbyn, voters simply discarded them like water off a duck back

  2. sm
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    The Brussels idealogues have always believed that democracy and nationalism is, in fact, dangerous – because allowing full voting powers to ‘ordinary’ voters could lead to the extremes of Communism and Fascism. Good governance could only be achieved by a relatively small cartel of appropriately educated individuals, acting – of course – for the common good.

    One also has to throw in the mix the very modern factor of instant news and communication, for good or ill, where voters can rapidly be incited to instant reactions.

    Why has the UK not succumbed to these pressures in the same way as the EU? Well perhaps because of our much-derided system of FPTP, which for all its faults surely tends to provide more stable government.

  3. Mick
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/895391/Brexit-latest-EU-Withdrawal-Bill-Chuka-Umunna-Labour-Theresa-May-Article-50-revoked
    Are these people for real, if they are successful in us leaving the eu there would be civil unrest not experienced since the middle of the 15th century, so they had think bloody hard and stop all this nonsense,

    • Mick
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I really should double check before I post, I missed out “Not”us leaving

    • Hope
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Not really. May so far has achieved staying in all but name. At least some in Labour are calling for a true representation of what May and her Govt is actually doing. Hammond said leaving legally and technically in name but the practical reality is staying in without a voice- regulatory alignment, ECJ arbiter, free movement per Rudd’s letter two days ago makes it very clear what May has and I say doing. Helena’s summary was right two days ago.

      Both Tory and labour are relying there will not be an alternative to them to deliver a true Brexit. Therefore a technical leave is be passed through the swamp of Westminster. Voters need to wake up. Leave was never solely about trade just as joining the EEC was never about trade.

  4. Wakey wakey
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The commonality of all political parties in Europe is Diversity. The Electorates of Europe, haven’t politicians noticed, did not go on Jarrow Crusades, stage wildcat strikes, erect barricades on Paris streets throwing petrol bombs, burning tyres on roads to Calais demanding “What do we want? We want Diversity, when do we want it? Now! Two four six eight who do we appreciate?Immigrants! ”
    Politicians, without anyones, demand, request or vote brought in millions of people and gave away our housing, food, healthcare, schooling, libraries and, safety. ..
    We took it personal.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      The elites inflicted upon us-the West-a revolution from above.It requires a revolution from below to correct it.The longer they obfuscate and dissemble to preserve the current order whilst pretending to listen,the more likely-and necessary-becomes the Lenin option.

      • Timaction
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. They are still NOT listening or more to the point ACTING on the electorates wishes and DEMANDS on immigration. It is not their Country or public services, housing , education, benefits, greenbelt to give away. They are all there temporarily, our Country is permanent.

        A Country/people first UKIP or its successor will return as the public are alive to the antics and rogues in Westminster!

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Indeed a very good analysis of the situation. In much of the EU it does not matter who you vote far as the power lies far more with the EU than with the local government, so why not try some new ones out. The local government are just arranging the deck chairs while pretending, that they have real power. They cannot even control who lives in the country, who can claims benefits there, they cannot deport criminals, control the broader economic policies, farming, fishing, energy, employment laws, trade …… The EU is largely rules by the anti-democratic EU bureaucrats and the European Courts. Courts who have extended their power and re-written laws absurdly. Bureaucrats who are totally out of touch with reality and have not need to respond to votes – this is very dangerous indeed as we have already seen.

    Excellent piece in the spectator by James Bartholomew – Essentially on why are the liberal elite establishment so foolish and misguided?

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/01/what-explains-the-idiocy-of-the-liberal-elite-its-their-education/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Lunchtime_Espresso_19122017

    • hefner
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      State schools teaching that Stalin’s five year plans were resounding successes? Where does Mr James Bartholomew find these pearls of wisdom? References, please.

      But if LL says it is an excellent piece, who am I to think otherwise?

  6. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I have always voted Conservative. Recently, before the referendum I became a UKIP member. I was fed up with the way the Tory party was going. Fed up with vast amounts being given to the EU, foreign aid, the ridiculous energy fiasco, the running down of our armed forces, the NHS, schools, high numbers of immigrants and consequently our housing crisis together with a high benefits bill. I was impressed with UKIPs manifesto which read more like a Tory manifesto than your party’s did John. Before people start running down UKIP perhaps they should look at UKIPs manifesto for 2017. They will see that a lot of the issues discussed on this blog are addressed by UKIP. I think it’s quite impressive. Unless Mrs May starts to deliver what I voted for I will be voting UKIP at the next election.

    • Eric Robinson
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      I definitely agree, UKIP have a big role to play in our so called “democracy” – 2015 3.8 million votes out of 46.3 million… so third place but hardly any representation in parliament, and funny isn’t it how the media elites and the BBC hate them

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      FUS

      You will not be alone in that line of thinking

    • G Wilson
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I did read that manifesto, and was horrified. It promised yet more tax-and-spend to feed the bloated NHS, with no mention of managing for value. It proposed things like grants from public funds for broadcasting, and a new massive state corporation to build prefabs.

      Hardly “conservative” at all.

  7. jerry
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The far Left and the far Right existed long before the EU, and such extremes destroyed partied back then too, indeed it was as a post WW2 antidote to such political extremes that the idea of the modern ECSC/EEC/EU was reborn – in 1946, by one Winston Churchill no less!

    The 2017 UK general election was not about taking back control from the EU, that happened a year before, it was both an objection of extremes -hence why UKIP were wiped-out, the SNP did so poorly and the Greens made no advances, and a rejection of the TINA consensus politics of the last 35 years too -hence the return of traditional Labour.

    If you want to blame anything for destroying traditional parties a more likely candidate would seem to be Proportional Representation, in every country parliament or locality (such as the EP and the London Assembly for example) that uses it PR allows the extremes and those one issue protest parties to obtain oxygen and seats and it is from those parliaments that the extremes grow, UKIP would not have been the political force it became had it not gained seats in the parliament is detests, nor would the Greens had they not achieved success in the EU parliament too.

    • NickC
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Jerry, “Left” and “Right” in politics use to mean something 200 years ago, but no longer. The terms have become epithets, even by someone like yourself, as your comment shows. “Statist” and “Libertarian” are much more useful descriptions.

      • jerry
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        @NickC; ” “Statist” and “Libertarian” are much more useful descriptions.”

        Indeed they are to people trying to hide their true political ideals…

        • NickC
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, No, clearly people cannot hide their beliefs behind labels once they go beyond the label, whatever that label is. And indeed, why would they want to? It would be a very shallow discussion if confined to mere labels. Especially if the labels have been misused. Which was rather my point.

          • jerry
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; What you call Libertarianism is a label for a very broad collection of beliefs that stretch from Marxism on the left to laissez-faire capitalism on the right. Anyone using the term “Libertarian”, without further clarification, are thus hiding their true political ideals.

          • NickC
            Posted December 24, 2017 at 12:02 am | Permalink

            Jerry, As I already said “once they go beyond the label” people cannot hide their beliefs. So I had already answered your objection. Can’t you read? Moreover it is impossible for a Marxist (a statist) to be a Libertarian. Please do your own research before parading your lack of it here. Start with the Cato Institute.

          • jerry
            Posted December 24, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Oh dear, lets try again…

            @NickC; “As I already said “once they go beyond the label” people cannot hide their beliefs.”

            That’s the point! People have to go beyond just the Libertarian or Statist label -unlike the self-defining political terms Left, Right or Centre, the use of just Libertarian or Statist is meaningless without, that is why such names are so useful to those who wish to hide their true beliefs.

            You really should do better resurrect yourself, try seeking out more neutral sources and references, Your suggested staring point does though explain why you are getting some what confused.

            “Libertarianism”, as used in the USA, does not share the same meaning as in the RotW, in the USA it is far more closely defined to a specific ideology.

      • hefner
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Although I agree that “Left/Right” labels have lost of their relevance, “Statist/Libertarian” labels are not really adequate either. One might want to reduce the scope of the State without wanting to live like “in a shed in Arizona with one’s guns”. One might want a fairer tax system, with less loopholes and lower rates, without considering fully private education, health, security, transport systems.

        I think the role of a more Proportional Representation as a springboard for less traditional/more extreme parties is difficult to argue against. But is the UK (mainly English) two-party system better for democracy? When I keep hearing about the internal strife within both the Conservative and Labour parties, I can only conclude that the present system is out-of-date and is maintained for the benefits of the “elite” (defined as those people who from a young age define their career as doing a Oxbridge PPE/History/Law degree, meddle a bit in “business” before getting elected to “represent the people”).

        I am afraid that, following Brexit, without any further interference from the EU27, the UK might transform itself into a paradise for a selected happy few, but not for most of its blue-passport holders.

        • Hope
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          Interesting thoughts with a flawed conclusion.

  8. matthu
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    “Normally old well established and successful political parties adapt and change, altering policy when the electorate want change. ”

    And that is why the established parties in the UK would do well not to seek to align future policy with the EU. And it’s not just the austerity policies they need to ditch.

  9. Backtoback
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Don’t know how you can lay it at the door of the EU..political parties in europe have been fragmenting and reforming from lef to right for generations now..nothing to do with the EU

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Yes I think your correct.
      Britain is at a crossroads. Politicians have been given a distinct instruction to leave the EU but are now being exposed for their duplicity.
      Listening to Parliament the other day I was intrigued to hear politicians going on about rough sleepers, NHS in crisis etc but no mention of the fact that uncontrolled immigration is the primary cause of most public sector ills.
      We are told our council tax will increase by £110 next year to pay for social care at the same time as bunging £16 billion on foreign aid and wasting another £40 billion on EU bribes.
      Westminster is on probation and failure to reform or deliver will see the end of the traditional parties.
      The public are hacked off with the antics of self serving poor quality politicians.

      • NickC
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        Ian, I would like to think you are right. There is no doubt that Leave activists regard the Brexit flipping of Labour and the appeasement by the Tories with justified contempt. However we have a long way to go – I chatted with a Remain voter a few weeks ago (someone who is not particularly interested in politics) and he thought we had already left.

      • jerry
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg; “Listening to Parliament the other day I was intrigued to hear politicians going on about rough sleepers, NHS in crisis etc but no mention of the fact that uncontrolled immigration is the primary cause of most public sector ills.”

        Utter nonsense, housing problems have been caused by Govt. policies and market forces, as a society we have simply chosen not to allow enough homes to be built. Whilst NHS structuring and funding methods cause the waiting lists, not migration, indeed many migrants work in the NHS, without the migrants you keep insulting there woudl be an even greater staff shortage too!

        “Westminster is on probation and failure to reform or deliver will see the end of the traditional parties.”

        Again, nonsense, as the figures for the 2017 GE show, far from the “end of the traditional parties” as you claim it is the end of the alternate (protest) parties by the looks, if anything there was a resurgence of the old two party system at the (quite literally) expense of alt-parties such as UKIP.

        Thus, if TM fails to deliver, the electorate are far more likely to do as they used to do, give the other main party the chance.

        • NickC
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, The official figures for foreign born nationals living in the UK is over 9 million. The real figure is likely to be much higher given all the issued NINos. You are claiming that makes no difference to housing (or the NHS, schools, roads, ectc)? Utter nonsense.

          Like the establishment, who would not listen to us over leaving the EU (and I talked to a senior civil service bod about this), you meander along in your imagined middle of the road way muttering to yourself that everyone else is out of step but you. Facts speak louder than your opinions.

          • jerry
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; “Facts speak louder than your opinions”

            Whose facts though…

            There has been nothing to stop the UK building 1 million homes a year for the last 20 or so years if we had so chosen, there could now be a homes for every single adult person in the UK who wants one and have a surplus (to use as renewal and emergency accommodation etc), but what would that have done to the value of houses, or the income value of BTL properties.

            People have been complaining about NHS delays, shortages and unavailable treatments for 60 plus years, long before the recent EU migrations you bleat about. It has always been a funding issue not one of population numbers, from the very first cuts made to NHS funding back in 1951 when totally free dental and ophthalmic care ended due to having to fund the Korean war. Much the same (since more recent times) can be said in relation to schools, same with road building. You elect your politicians, pay your taxes and thus you have made your choices.

            No one is saying that there is no problems with the EU’s “Freedom of Movement” and the resultant inward migration, but had we planned for the future, rather than being caught short with problems of the past that had not been put right for decades before.

            You choose your politicians, pay your taxes and thus make your choices…

      • hefner
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Funny how time after time there are comments about “self serving poor quality politicians”. You might be right, but do not forget WE vote for them given the FPTP voting system.
        If the voting system is not changed, do you really expect things to change?

        • Hope
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          How do you suggest it comes about?

        • libertarian
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          hefner

          Absolutely spot on. Totally agree

        • jerry
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          @hefner; FPTP is not the problem, many a poor quality politician has been put in office by PR lists etc.

          The only way the system could be changed is for a recall system, but could that be done so that a poor politician is replaced without it being in effect a by-election that then might change the balance of the GE result – recall is about “self serving poor quality politicians”, not the politics or party policy – would voters have to registrar their party allegiances, or would only the local party membership be allowed to vote at the recall?

          • hefner
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

            “Many a poor quality politician has been put in office by PR lists”, absolutely. My problem with FPTP is that it benefits the two-party system, with each of these parties having elected people with a very wide range of opinions on as wide a range of topics, plus the fact that it confines the results of a General Election to what happens in a (very) limited number of marginal constituencies. In a very large number of constituencies, as the joke goes, the (Labour)(Conservative) could have any dog with the proper coloured rosette and be elected. By itself, this situation is far from guaranteeing top people as MPs, it only provides people who at election times say they endorse the party platform and then are whips’ fodder in the Chamber. To me, that does not look like the best possible representative democracy, particularly when the subsequent PM is essentially chosen by the same sheep-like MPs.

            Furthermore this is certainly not helped by “the gutter press” shooting/shouting at any MP showing any sign of potential questioning beyond the line defended by their editors-in-chief.

          • jerry
            Posted December 24, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            @hefner; You seem to be conflating at least three different problem into one; 1/. poor quality politician, 2/. an unrepresentative voting system, and 3/. poor (often unverifiable) manifestos.

            Recall is the solution to 1/.

            Independently audited and signed off manifestos is the solution to 3/.

            But is there a solution to 2/ ? I don’t know if there is, sure PR would give a better balance but perhaps at the cost of stable government, do we really want to risk finding ourselves in the situation Belgium found it self in (and the record books). The answer probably lies in reform of how we do politics, not how we vote.

        • NickC
          Posted December 24, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

          Hefner, The better way would be to have direct democracy as the Swiss do. That way the politicians serve the electorate all the time instead of for a few weeks every 5 years.

    • Norman
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Isn’t it a case of ‘Democracy when convenient’. And when it is not, it becomes a sacred cow to be sacrificed – not always for ill – as in Britain’s war-time coalition under Churchill. Democracy implies a settled state of peace, with fair-play, and law and order prevailing, and all the other attributes of freedom we so easily take for granted. In order to succeed, the EU (as it has become) would have to be supranational, and given Europe’s diversity of nations and languages, this would entail a loss of the freedoms of associated with nationhood. It is, in effect, a revised Roman Empire , and a reversal of the Reformation, with all its politico-cultural ramifications, its monopolistic pantheon, and ‘feet of iron and clay’.

  10. Mark B
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    More powers will inevitably gravitate to the centre, making the task of national pro EU parties ever more difficult.

    What people are slowly realising is that democracy is slowly being taken from them salamy slice after salamy slice. The Conservative Party has managed to keep it support mostly down to their faux Eurosceptism and the tolerance of those such as our kind host.

    When in opposition, CMD was a rabid Eurosceptic as was Lord Hague and others. As soon as they got their hands on power they reverted to being the true Europhiles they are.

    People want to have their say and to feel that their interests matter. They do not bother themselves with daily politics but, they are not to be treated as being apathetic. Those who take the people for granted usually end up out of office. Ask Nick Clegg.

    Political parties in the UK do indeed fall out of favour like those on the continent. Witness what has happenedto both the conservative party and the Labour Party. And if we do not become that which we voted for in the Glorious Referendum than so too will the Conservative party in ENGLAND

  11. oldtimer
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    This sounds like a correct analysis to me. Part of the problem is the transition from nation states to a EU superstate is half baked. There is little redistribution from the better off (Germany) to the less well off (the Med nations). I see no conflict free solution to this issue. On the other hand, Mrs Merkel, does want to redistribute the million refugees she unilaterally invited into Germany to, among others, the Visegrad group who are fiercely opposed. However her days appear to be numbered. The German establishment appears anxious to avoid another election, fearing it would only serve to promote the interests of the AfD.

    Footnote: the UK needs to watch exactly what it agrees to accept during the transition period – if there is to be one. The sooner we are out of the EU the better.

  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Off topic but happy to learn the blue passport is coming back. My present one expires early in 2019 so I hope I’ll be one of the first people to get a new blue one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Doubtless they will increase the charge for it. It’s already nearly £400 just for my families passports. Yet another tax.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      The blue passport could have been retained as Croatia did. The burgundy passport is a choice, not a requirement.

  13. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The majority of the continent of Europe is quite different from the UK. Whilst we have a long history of victory, they have surrender in their recent past, to despots, fascists and communism.
    The political parties in Europe are largely irrelevant. They are told what to do by Brussels, and not enough of the people have the backbone to rebel. They are cowered by stories of the dire economic consequences if they assert their sovereignty.

    • NickC
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Dave, I’ve got to disagree with everything you said there. We have 45 years of surrendering to the corrupt, dysfunctional EU oligarchy. For no reason, either. Most Europeans I’ve met (which includes relations by law) are so contemptuous of their national politicians (and currency) that they’d rather have the EU and the Euro, almost however bad. There may now be some stirrings of opposition but they tend to be where we were about 30 years ago – that the EU should be “reformed”. An impossibility, of course, as we found.

  14. Dave , Shinfield
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Diverting and interesting that French politics (if nothing else how the French seem to be able to field much better equipped armed forces whilst spending broadly the same), I’m more interested to see how the Tories are going to address their own future.

    Your party has a shrinking membership and your grassroots is less active than that of other parties. We need strong, active and dynamic political parties. I don’t see much of that from the Tories right now. So , what’s the plan ?

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Dave Shinfield

      So , what’s the plan ?

      Start praying? We have not got a plan

      • Dave , Shinfield
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        Then , long term, the Tories are stuffed. They are losing a generation of upcoming voters who don’t see why they should vote for a bunch of grey old people who in any other profession would have been escorted from the building long ago.

        A party lives or dies by whether it is able to get members and get them out to encourage others to vote, to pay for election materials and so on. I haven’t had a single tory come by canvassing here since 2009. I know the name of my councillor, but I also know I haven’t seen a Tory canvassing for the last eight years.

        Lots of people on this forum like to talk the talk. I’d love to know how many of them actually put their hands in their pockets and pay membership of a party or give their time to canvass or deliver election materials. If they don’t then they might as well be a russian ‘bot.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It seems we are, at least, now going to get our blue passports back. Even if we are only going to get a fake Brexitino and more damaging socialism from May and Hammond. People will have more rights in the UK if they hold an EU passport than a mere British one it seems.

  16. Richard1
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    More threats from the EU, this time in a briefing by an unnamed ‘diplomat’. If the U.K. doesn’t “clarify it’s position” the EU will get fed up and offer a take it or leave it Canada style deal, with free trade for goods but no access for services. Is the U.K. Govt position really unclear to the EU? If so what on Earth has David Davis being doing for the last year?! I would have thought there should be a simple response to this – if what’s on offer is tariff free trade in goods but no deal on services we are better off with WTO rules, so thanks but no thanks, we’ll prepare for that.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      This is a sham. We cannot conclude a FTA until we have left. And why so desperate to have a FTA ? After all don’t they sell us more than we sell to them? You would think it the other way round ? It is just a ruse by both the EU and the UK Government to deliver a soft BREXIT or, as someone else pointed out, a soft REMAIN.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1

      If so what on Earth has David Davis being doing for the last year?!

      The general perception could well be “not a lot”

  17. alan jutson
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I think the simple answer is that the majority of the people are absolutely fed up with political Parties who want to run every aspect of their lives for them, and take away an ever larger slice of their income.

    Thus they vote for someone, anyone new who promises something different.

  18. agricola
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    While in general agreement with your reading of the entrails I think you misinterpret the collapse of the UKIP vote. My analysis was that it moved to the conservative party in fear of a Marxist Corbyn gaining power. Those sentiments for UKIP still exist should your government renege on it’s Brexit promises.

    As to the EU and it’s effect on the traditional ruling parties of Europe. The EU does not recognise the people it governs, nor do those traditional parties, as they worship the EU. The people realise this and form new parties that express their views. If the EU continues on it’s undemocratic path these new parties will gain national power and deal with the EU in whatever way they choose. It will be in much the same way as UKIP was the catalyst for change in the UK and were instrumental in bringing about our 2016 referendum.

    Despite all the talk, the conservative government still has to prove that it is fully behind Brexit. The party, the Lib/Dems and labour are still largely in the same political pond as the major parties of Europe, with a few voices off such as your own, for which I am most grateful.

  19. libertarian
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The only reason that this split has not ( so far ) happened in the UK is that our antiquated undemocratic system doesn’t really allow for new parties to emerge. Ours is a negative voting system we vote to stop someone being elected for the most part . That and the fact that nearly all of our politicians from every party has pretty much the same general agenda

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Libertarian, Yes and if we many of us vote UKIP it will probably let Corbyn through the door but at the moment I couldn’t give a stuff. I am fed up to the back teeth of our weak, back stabbing Conservative party and WILL NOT vote for them in the next election unless something drastic changes. Let Corbyn get in and then see what a mess the UK will be soon.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      This and the fact that you only have to contest a certain number of marginal seats as all the rest are safe for their respective parties.

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    JR: “The first is both UK parties decided to accept the verdict of the referendum and became Eurosceptic.”
    More accurately, they purported to be! The things politicians will do to get votes and obtain power, after which they have no qualms about ignoring the promises they have made. Some, like your colleague Ken Clarke, proudly state they never received nor read the Conservative party manifesto. Nothing new from him as he repeatedly claimed he never read the Maastricht treaty but was one of its most vehement proponents and propagandists.

  21. hefner
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    “No-one apart from me seems interested”. You must be very busy not to have noticed the various books/studies/academic research linking the decline of centre-right and centre-left parties to various events over the last 20 years, like the ascent of markets, the march of globalisation, the global financial crisis and subsequent recession, the collapse of communism and threat of USSR, the retreating memories of fascism …
    Blinkers or what? What about looking at (for example) amazon?

  22. robert lewy
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The economic turmoil following the financial crisis continues to create ripples throughout the political world.
    Dr Redwood is correct in comparing the EU response with our own.
    However, it seems necessary to look beyond Europe to fully appreciate what is occurring.

    In the US the share of the popular vote in the Presidential Election received by the two
    main candidates increased as did voter turnout. However, the Trump victory suggests that more than a Republican victory has taken place. Trump has swept away the establishment in his own party as well as defeating the Democrat contender. This effect is apparent even though the US has emerged from the effects of the financial crisis earlier than Europe.

    My conclusion is that fundamental economic change form increasing globalisation, “robotisation” and AI have unsettled the electorates and increased concern for the future everywhere.

    The way in which individual countries express their concern is determined by their political structures. In the US the cost of a successful independent campaign makes forming a new party unattractive so that we need to look at the candidates rather than parties. In the UK the two party system has seen the two main parties increasing their share of the vote but with the Labour Party racing leftwards in defiance of economic orthodoxy.

    The failure to adapt political policy in the EU by the establishment parties has been mirrored in UK and US but by different means.

  23. Epikouros
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Tribalism is a very powerful attraction as it allows more who share the same political aspirations and culture to be able to do so. Amalgamating tribes into nation states has been difficult enough but has been done with some successes but there is always an undercurrent of dissention and disillusionment. Sometime becoming manifested into clamours for greater autonomy or independence or a different alliance such as Northern Ireland, Catalonia, Basques, Scotland. Amalgamating nations is therefore bound to be fraught with difficulties and when it has been carried out either voluntarily or by coercion has failed in the end and split again. How anyone thought that the EU would achieve unification of nation states when others have failed is a mystery.

    However so called wiser heads steeped in progressive and left wing ideological zeal believed that they could and still do. It would seem to me that they are going to be proved wrong and history is going to repeat itself as it usually does. The change in the political environment would indicate to me that the start of the collapse is beginning as the consensus accepting unification is falling apart as it is demanding sacrifices and changes that fewer are prepared to support as people are hankering after the comfort of sharing cultures and aspirations with those who are more like minded.

  24. Bert Young
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    There is widespread discontent throughout Europe – including the UK , with the traditional Parties ; the discontent originates because “individualism” is more predominant now than it ever was before . People are better informed on the day to day happenings and feel more isolated from centre Party groupings . The EU bureaucracy has done much to emphasise the development of populism in Europe ; regional variations are more in focus .

    The Conservative Party do have a major problem now and will find it difficult to heal the differences that exist ; it is a time when leadership counts the most . Theresa has not got the muscle necessary and must step aside with adequate time before the next election .

  25. hans chr iversen
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    John,

    This is all very interesting but teh trends you are outlining for Austria, France Germany and Italy, go back much further than the EU and EU economic policies. Let us take Austria ,as an example due to the dual occupation after the second world war, the Austrians have always had a coalition government led by either SDO or Volkspartei, the Austrian population who have gained well from EU membership are fed up with the status quo and the institutionalised corruption of sharing power at each level in Austrian society and have therefore combined with the immigration decided for change.
    This change has been ongoing for more than 20 years.
    There are similar stories for the other countries you have mentioned, so I am afraid that the prime reason for this trend is the EU, does not stand closer scrutiny and is not the prime reason

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      John,

      My comment is till awaiting moderation, please. thank you

  26. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Another thing the political class here doesn’t seem that interested in is what’s happening in Poland – there is an irony in the unelected EU Commission imposing sanctions on the elected Polish government for supposedly undemocratic policies.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Answer to the original post. In the EU all parties must conform to the EU/Blairist centre.

    Democracy is dead.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      absolute rubbish

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        We’ll see.

        Brexit will be the ninth referendum either ignored by the EU or the people forced to vote again until the right result is achieved.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          as a Dane I am very happy with the outcome of the referendums we have had and so is the majority of the Danes, so what is the problem/

  28. Atlas
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I thought the phrase “being a good European” summarises it all quite nicely as it trumps all.

    I wonder if anybody has produced a book listing all the phrases that have been used about the EU over all the years? For example “In Europe but not run by Europe”; being “At the centre of Europe”; “The one way ratchet”; “The Project” etc, etc.

    Happy Christmas John !

  29. David
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The reason why the 2 dominant forces in the UK political market do so well, is because the system is rigged in favour of them. 15% of people voted UKIP in 2015 for one vote.
    If the supermarket market were like this, there would be a monopoly investigation.
    It would also not give us very good choices – no comments on whether we can learn from this, for politics.

    Happy Christmas and it has been enjoyable to read your blog this.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I neither vote UKIP, Tory, Labour, Lib Dem nor whatever, but for a person who I trust will act nobly as an MP.

      The MEP on the other hand I don’t bother to vote for. The European Parliament is a pointless talking shop which I am pleased is soon to be a thing of the UK past.

  30. PeterL
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Excellent piece, many thx!

  31. Peter Parsons
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    It is estimated that 20% of votes cast in 2017 were tactical votes. That is more than the combined change in share of vote of the two largest parties. Given the distortions in voting patterns caused by the FPTP system, this is another apples with lemons (the UK system being the lemon) comparison.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      We so need a proper proportional voting system to represent the true intentions of the people NOT fptp when most times the ONLY choice is who’s the best of the worst!

  32. Hugh Rose
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    “More powers will inevitably gravitate to the centre, making the task of national pro EU parties ever more difficult.”

    Does this assume that all the pro-EU parties want a United States of Europe, a EU budget, an EU army etc or simply that the national governments will be unable to resist the demands of the EU bureaucrats?

  33. mancunius
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    “Wilders in the Netherlands, Le Pen in France and Grillo in Italy are hostile to the Euro scheme. The Austrian Freedom party is hostile to EU migration policies…”

    Actually, the FPÖ is itself highly critical of the euro: it opposed its introduction in Austria, and wants it to be reformed by being broken into a ‘northern’ and a ‘southern’ euro; it is also generally extremely Brussels-phobic, and demands the EU have much less say in the governance of Austria.

    As part of the coalition agreement, the Freedom Party is not allowed to further its anti-EU policies, so essentially – as in many other countries where new parties sweep the polls with a promise of anti-EU measures – it’s pro-EU business as usual. Kurz – essentially also a strong eurosceptic – will probably do what all new European leaders do: kowtow to Brussels and Berlin, sooner or later, as he discovers that leading a ‘national’ government is now considered taboo by the leftwing NGOs/media/academics who now rule the world and try to shout down the voters.

    Tsipras was the most obvious example of that: calling an anti-euro referendum, urging the people to vote against the euro, then when they did, and the ATMs closed, backing down immediately and towing the Brussels/Berlin/ECB line.

    And as JR says, both main UK parties got 82% of the vote on the basis of their declared brexit policies – which large cross-party minorities of MPs, allied to Labour’s will to gain power at all costs, are now trying to backtrack on or actively frustrate.

    • mancunius
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Typo alert: ‘toeing the Brussels/Berlin/ECB line’ is what I meant to write, not ‘towing’.

  34. Melvin Cornwell
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    A Tory PM gave us the British public the DECISION to make re the EU, and the democratic majority vote was to Leave. Too much is made of ‘percentages’ – on the day, we officially went from Zero to 17.42 Million.. A democratic majority has been an acceptable format for these matters for many years, and yet now, all of a sudden, it can be stripped down and ignored..?! We are becoming more ‘like’ large swathes of Europe than we realised, it seems…

    It should be noted that all us Leavers (and of course, many previous ‘Remainers’ as well, now they have taken more than an ‘EU subservient interest’, and woken up to what was being inflicted upon the UK) are not ACTUALLY “waiting for the gov’t to get us out of the EU”. No – we voted to Leave, and in our hearts and minds we have done just that already, ever since 24/06/2016.

    We ordered Brexit, paid in full, and received the PROMISE (before AND after the vote), from the gov’t, that our order would be accepted and the item would go out for delivery pronto.

    What we are waiting for is for this gov’t to DELIVER what has ALREADY BEEN AGREED upon. All this obfuscation is not going to wash. The delivery van might conceivably get ‘lost’ once. But when it keeps on happening, that smacks desperately of something else entirely. It is foolish indeed to tell oneself that the UK is somehow a “two party state, and nobody really wants Labour, so whatever happens next, the Tories will be okay”…

    The UK has a lag on what has happened in Europe, and their reactions to it. Any new UK party now, based around what has been agreed but not delivered, would also instantly race from ‘Zero to 17.42 Million’, representing something like 420+ Parliamentary seats, if I remember correctly…

  35. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    My very long comment was deleted as it appears and that is well within the rules of this blog, so no complaints on my part. However, I would like to repeat one little element, that The Netherlands does have a coalition government, since several moths already and that it is a coalition that represents a parliamentary majority. Also Germany appears very close to a coalition. Your post suggests that anti-EU sentiments are one reason why traditional parties have been shrinking, especially in the Western EU countries. One l;arge component is the fragmentation of social democratic parties plus the ascent of leftist parties led by former communists or their disciples. As a result, ao in The Netherlands again, there are now three parties competing for the leftist vote where there used to be only one and that one had the support of the unions (also shrinking). The conservative vote in Holland has remained stable/grew (if one includes the non-party of Wilders (he is the sole member (!)) or shrunk somewhat excluding Wilders. Imo the electorate knows full well that voting for extreme parties (left or right,whatever that may mean these days) will not result in these parties actually governing.

    • rose
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your summary here.

      How long can Frau Merkel and Mark Rutte etc go on ostracising the parties their people vote for? For example, Frau Merkel could have got a coalition together very quickly of Free Democrats, Christian Democrats, and former Christian Democrats; but instead she preferred to try and bridge the unbridgeable with the FDP and the Greens. Now she is trying to stitch back together the coalition between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats that the electorate threw out.

      Similarly, in Holland, Mr Rutte needn’t have kept us all waiting so long if he had gone for a coalition of Conservatives including Wilders, thus taking account of what people voted for.

    • Prigger
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      I find my government extreme.
      I believe in free -speech, my government does not.
      It keeps bombing people abroad then lets the survivors come and live next door to me.
      No wonder enemies of my government are scared stiff and wetting themselves.

  36. rose
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Conservatives under a cloud have mostly been found innocent or guilty in time for Christmas, but not Charlie Elphicke, where we don’t even know what the accusation is. What on earth is going on?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page