I Suppose This Was Inevitable
Seagull

Is Europe Heading for Serious Trouble?

This story from the Telegraph is somewhat alarming. I read National Review's blog pretty regularly, and a couple of their English writers, in particular Andrew Stuttaford, discuss the EU often, always in very negative terms. They are quite hostile to it, viewing it as a road to despotism, and since I don't know anything much at all about it, I always remind myself that I'm only getting one side of the story, especially when they predict disaster for it. But this, although from a different perspective, sounds just about as bad.

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Europe is already in serious trouble. The main question about Eurosceptics is when they might come up with a workable and helpful suggestion about how to deal with it.

One of the big problems in Britain is that (whichever party is in power) the government takes credit for any popular measures and blames the EU for any unpopular ones.

I was thinking of more serious trouble: collapsing states, wars. I suppose war is quite unlikely. I certainly hope so.

I have noted the UKIP phenomenon with interest.

And in Greece, there's the Golden Dawn party:

Emboldened by its meteoric rise in Greece, the far-right Golden Dawn party is spreading its tentacles abroad, amid fears it is acting on its pledge to "create cells in every corner of the world". The extremist group, which forged links with British neo-Nazis when it was founded in the 1980s, has begun opening offices in Germany, Australia, Canada and the US.

The international push follows successive polls that show Golden Dawn entrenching its position as Greece's third, and fastest growing, political force. First catapulted into parliament with 18 MPs last year, the ultra-nationalists captured 11.5% support in a recent survey conducted by polling company Public Issue.

The group – whose logo resembles the swastika and whose members are prone to give Nazi salutes – has gone from strength to strength, promoting itself as the only force willing to take on the "rotten establishment". Amid rumours of backing from wealthy shipowners, it has succeeded in opening party offices across Greece.

So far, parties such as UKIP and Golden Dawn have largely succeeded in getting the pro-EU socialists into power. For instance in France, something like 25% voted for the anti-EU Le Pen, instead of Sarkozy's conservatives. That gave Hollande's socialists their majority.

Similarly, many blame 3rd party candidates for tipping the 1992 and 2000 elections--Perot on the right helping Clinton, Nader on the left helping Bush--although the actual effect is disputed.

It sounds like UKIP and Golden Dawn are pretty different. I don't think there's any reasonable suggestion that UKIP has fascist sympathies (not counting the leftists who say that about everybody).

The Order of the Golden Dawn was the name of the occult society to which Yeats and I think maybe Charles Williams--and Aleister Crowley for a while?--belonged. Surely there's no connection?!

There is something about the name Golden Dawn that sounds very ominous, and the picture on Marianne's link is rather chilling.

AMDG

And in Hungary there's the Jobbik party, who are also pretty vicious; in Britain we have the BNP, British Nationalist Party, which has links with some quasi-fascist groups but doesn't seem quite as nasty as Golden Dawn or Jobbik - although that may be because the BNP doesn't have much weight to throw around at the moment. I'm not sure why the BNP isn't benefitting from discontent to the degree that similar nationalist parties in other places do; not that I'm complaining...

In Slovakia there's a new party called "New Greatness" (Nová Väčšina) which looks mildly dubious but I'm not sure yet if they're going for UKIP-style "patriotism means independence" policies or the BNP/Golden Dawn-style "patriotism means thuggery" approach.

"Jobbik" just sounds nasty somehow.:-)

I had not looked at Marianne's link till just now. That picture is indeed chilling, Janet.

"Many in the diaspora believe, like Endy Zemenides who heads HALC, that Golden Dawn has deluded itself into believing it is a permanent force because of its soaring popularity on the back of the economic crisis. "The reality is that it is a fleeting by-product of failed austerity measures and the social disruption this austerity has caused," he said."

Rather obvious historical parallel there. One of those by-products wasn't so fleeting.

Of course UKIP isn't a fascist party.

The current situation gives me a fleeting sympathy for President Hindenberg & his sidekick, Ludendorff. These German conservatives are usually derided for bringing the National Socialists into government with them. If you look at the (well deserved) travails of the conservative party in GB today, it's easier to see *why* they did it.

In Livy's cycle of types of governments Anarchy is what follows failing Democracy, so I suppose it's what we should expect. After that comes a just leader, though, but I doubt I'll see that.

AMDG

I would have thought despotism would be the next step. I can certainly see that movement in this country. Not that we have widespread anarchy, but we have increasing numbers of people who can't govern themselves, and a government that's slowly tightening its grip, with the irresponsible people as justification.

The Order of the Golden Dawn was the name of the occult society to which Yeats and I think maybe Charles Williams--and Aleister Crowley for a while?--belonged. Surely there's no connection?!

The Order of the Golden Dawn had elements of theosophy, didn't it?

And weren't many of Hitler's comrades influenced by its teachings? Here's the emblem of the Theosophical Society -- note the wee swastika at the top.

I don't really know. The Wikipedia entries for Golden Dawn and theosophy don't indicate a strong direct connection, but there are probably similarities.

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