Are the ‘two main parties’ on the skids?
It’s not often you want to start the day with far right French nationalist’s words ringing in your ears. But Marine Le Pen’s words after winning nearly one in five French votes in the presidential election have an eerie ring.
Ms Le Pen spoke of a people fed up with the “two main parties”; fed up too with paying the price for the “misperformance of the banks” with which she says successive governments have been in league with; fed up too, with immigration.
Does Bradford West speak of this? Hard to tell. But love him or hate him, the nature of George Galloway’s victory has not been seen in 50 years. Ms Le Pen’s 18 per cent in France is also without modern precedent. Both votes speak of discontent with the status quo.
But think too of Scotland. The wholesale demolition of the “two main parties” and their replacement by a nationalist party which was once as far out on the fringes of life as once was Ms Le Pen’s National Front.
If you add in the vote of the hard left in France – 11 per cent – the two extremes in France polled together more than each of the other two main parties – 29 per cent to Hollande’s 28 per cent, and Sarkozy’s 27 per cent. Something is happening here and it is happening in a country very much more like Britain than Greece is.
Speaking of Greece, watch the case that Greek lawyers are taking to the International Criminal Court charging the “the two main parties” with genocide. I’m not suggesting the case has a cat’s chance, but it reflects the nationwide desperation in Greece with austerity, deprivation, and widespread emigration. Greece has a general election all too dangerously soon.
Sterling perhaps gives us a sense of detachment. Our borrowing rates on the markets are good. But our austerity regime also risks alienation. The belief, right or wrong, that “we the people” are paying the bankers’ price is widespread.
Strangely, the novelty of coalition politics may be disguising what is going on beneath the surface. We can hardly determine what is really happening by analysing one Galloway.
But the political classes in Europe are in trouble. France tells us the extremes are in play. No one knows what Greece will tell us. What will the Local elections in the UK tell us? Anything? As the membership of the UK’s political parties plummets, is London happy with a Mayoral choice that comes down to “the two main parties”? Don’t yet hold your breath for a Green or Independent breakthrough.
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