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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Europe takes a giant leap to the Right. (Part II)

The Italian love/hate relationship with Silvio Berlusconi is truly something to admire.  He has been charged with a variety of crimes, with only a few inconsequential accusations amounting to convictions.  At press time, Berlusconi was in the news regarding the potential sale of his football team, Italian giant AC Milan.  He is currently serving a "house-arrest" sentence for tax evasion (I think), but our contacts in Italy and within Berlusconi's recently reborn party Forza Italiana warn is to never count out Silvio Berlusconi.  Interestingly enough, Berlusconi has provided the Italian people with the only political consistency that they country has experienced since the second World War.  Italy is famous for having governments of spectacularly short lifespans, but Berlusconi, who shamelessly appeals to the nationalist and patriotic emotions of the Italian people, has managed to stay in office longer than any other Italian Prime Minister.  The current left-of-center government is bleeding votes as the economy struggles with the usual "confidence in banking" issues.  But at least we can count our second "left-of center" government, alongside Sweden.

The Czech Republic is a bit of a mess.  Because roughly fifteen percent of the population continues to support the Communist Party, and no other parties will work in coalition with the Communists, its virtually impossible to put together an effective coalition government.  The center-right and the center-left usually end ever election with only a small percentage difference in votes.  Two important issues to watch: the far-right has been growing rapidly, especially with unemployed young people and in rural areas.  Also, if a center-left coalition were to include the Communists, would that impact the Czech Republic's membership in NATO and relationship with Russia, vis-a-vis the United States?  Poland, on the other hand, is not a difficult country to size up politically.  Poland is, and has been (and will probably continue to be), the most right-of-center country in Europe.  The Polish people are strongly pro-U.S. and anti-Russian, even after the fall of Communism.  The Catholic Church continues to influence the lives of most Poles, and, learning from history, the Polish government has built a powerful Army and Air Force.  Another country that appears to be most comfortable with a right-wing government is Hungary.  The Fidesz (Hungarian Civic Alliance) Party has a substantial majority in the Hungarian parliament, and Fidesz leader Viktor Orban is Hungary's Prime Minister.  The Fidesz Party has come under attack from international human rights organizations because of accusations that the party is anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic.  Fidesz has made serious efforts to clean up its image, but it makes no bones about its opposition to immigration, especially from Turkey and other Islamic nations.

The United Kingdom just re-elected David Cameron to a second term as Prime Minister.  Last time around, Cameron had to spend the first few days after the election, trying to put together a coalition government; this time around, he gets to watch TV and fool around with his lovely wife.  Cameron's Conservative Party absolutely destroyed the opposition, with a result that shocked even the most optimistic Tory punter.  Now the poor British people will have to listen to a few weeks of Sky News and BBC analyzing and re-analyzing how this development came to pass. For me, its not rocket science.  Since Cameron took office, there have been a number of racially-connected mini-riots in various UK cities.  Not to mention the incident involving the British soldier who was brutally murdered on the street, practically in front of his post.  And who can forget the look of fear on the faces of Prince Charles and Camilla as their car was attacked by a group of protesters in London?  I'm sure the fact that the ISIS commander who appears to be in charge of the beheadings department proudly brags about his English heritage, is something that sticks in the craw of every English person.  The UK is not a haven for extremist and future terrorists should not consider relocating there.  The voters wanted to make sure that the right message was delivered to the bad guys. Although I'm not sure what the Tories plan on doing to tighten immigration and fight the growth of Islamic extremism in the Black and Arab ghettos of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol (just to name a few), but I'm sure the message was received, loud and clear.

We haven't reached the Balkans and Greece, but I think we've arrived at a good place to take stock of our research.  Twelve of the countries we reviewed, including Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Austria, have right-of-center government.  Only three (France, Sweden and Italy) are sailing against the wind.  I expect France and Italy to elect right wing governments in their next elections, especially if the terrorist issue continues to be a priority.  How can it not be?  With the entire continent embracing conservative governments, what does that mean for the rest of the world?  The EU will probably adopt more market-friendly policies, which includes encouraging tax cuts and tax code reform.  Also, Immigration faucet will be turned down to a trickle.  In a number of European countries, the fear isn't that foreigners will arrive with a terrorist agenda, but that desperate Africans, Algerians, Libyans and Ethiopians will arrive and take all the jobs.  Getting in a shoe box with twenty other people and managing to get it from Tripoli to Reggio on the coastal boot of Italy, will no longer guarantee someone legal residency in Europe.  I believe that this is the first change that Europe will embrace.  And right-wing governments from Warsaw to Lisbon will be on too happy to introduce the legislation to their constituents.

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