Political parties have become very small bodies. The number of signed-up members has fallen dramatically, and newer small parties are being formed across Europe. In many countries, it is next to impossible to know how many people as members, but the true numbers are a fraction of 50 years ago.
The incumbent parties in Finland, and elsewhere, have had their hands on hard cash from taxpayer grants for many years, from rich individuals, trade unions and companies that are close to the parties who like (or determine) their policies, and benefit from existing and new laws, directives and regulations. These “main” parties are there because of history, but they too are being hijacked by the populists like Trump, Cameron, May, Macron, Renzi who wear suits and ties as their respectable predecessors. But more of that later…
… and then there are the new parties that spring up from special interest groups like anti-immigration, anti-EU, anti-establishment, feminists, pensioners, christians, language minorities, etc… or the new parties can just splinter off an existing party when there is internal fighting, like the New Alternatives who decided that they liked to keep the ministerial Audis, rather than face the poorer experience of sitting alongside the other MP’s in opposition!
So now we are told to call these new political groups “populists” because they stand for a more limited areas of politics, or “greed”, or the “lust for power” as described above.
Their membership can also be small, or even tiny, and yet they can be the needed support for the bigger parties to reach a majority in Parliament, even though they would never get elected if there was an new election.
The recent scandal where a small faction of the True Finns Election mutineered on their party because they wanted to continue to sit alongside the Conservative and the Centre Parties is a crass example of hijacked politics. This group calls themselves the “Alternative Group” and still do not have the 5 000 members needed to create a political party! Possibly they will find a way to scrape together the necessary number but their behaviour and that of the 2 larger parties is a stain on democracy, and both of the main parties become vicariously “populist” through this action.
The remaining True Finns are full of righteous fury, and one of their fold has decided to stand as a presidential candidate whose credentials and intelligence are about as great as Trump’s. She is a creationist, or a person who likes alt.news like the rest of the incumbents! She is an insult to Finland’s educational system. The Swedish Democrats are enjoying the same position based on bigotry, and remain isolated for the time being.
But just look at Trump’s lies and his mismanagement of his administration. Is not that the worst form of popularism? Is not that the worst form of popularism?
Just look at Cameron’s lies and falsehoods about Brexit, and now he is followed by an equally foolish leader who perpetuates the same lies about Brexit and how Britain will be repaired as a “global force” outside the EU. Is not that the worst form of popularism?
Look at Blair and Corbyn – who have their stakes in representing the working man and woman. Blair sent them to a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, and Corbyn still thinks that left-wing politics will build better houses, bring in higher wages and lower food prices by regulations. When the UK’s labour was last in power they gave the private sector public private partnerships that have ruined the government’s healthcare and school budget…
… and look at Macron who claims to be a political outsider, but is just one more well-paid banker from the exclusive French administration. His grand promises are just as convincing as his predecessors. Is not that the worst form of popularism?
… and look at the EU, with its leaders Junker and Tusk who cannot even have EU spending finally audited because there is so much money leaking into fraudulent and poorly managed projects. The European Parliament is full of ex-politicians from home countries who are answerable to nobody, and certainly not to national parliaments. Do you have any idea what your MEP’s are doing today? … and even if you do what will be their impact on the passage of new laws and regulations that flow like a deep river from Brussels and Strasbourg?
The former president of the European parliament, Mr. Schultz, is now the leader of the German Social Democrats. When appointed to the new post his popularity soared only to collapse like an empty balloon, when the voters saw that this man had nothing more to offer than when he was in Brussels. He was the man who like our foreign minister liked riding in 2 huge Audis with 2 drivers and some 30 assistants, a big fat salary, and big house. Nice perks if you can get it, but most of us do not…
The same goes for the EU’s banking organisations, like the EIB, where rich pickings are enjoyed by non-elected directors and other senior folk who are appointed to top positions with lush benefits and pensions.
… and Junker appears to enjoy a little too much wine with his food and likes to slap the faces of his partners at summits. This is the man to whom we have entrusted the future of Europe, or is it Merkel?
If it is the latter, then we must be concerned about our electoral weaknesses and about democracy. There are 27 other independent nations in this club and not one has voted for her. Democracy should not depend on such fragile foundations.
And what about Poland and Hungary within the EU who appear to have abandoned the rule of law in favour of nationalistic nonsense. Is not that the worst form of popularism, to whom the EU contributes more than €12 billion each year in grants!
Much needs to be done to clean up these organisations but it appears that this is an extremely slow process that seldom yields results. It is a rather depressing conclusion. The creation of new parties embracing common sense and working for the public good appear to be an impossible dream, or is it?