The ultra racist British National Party (only native born white Brits can become party members) had an Adolph Hitler in the 1930s moment and captured two European Parliamentary seats (a body they wish to see destroyed but whatever means needed) for the first time ever in UK-wide elections.
Geert Wilders far right Dutch Nationalist Party became the second highest vote getter in The Netherlands. The Czech Republic and Poland moved to the right and indeed the entire EU Parliament (even France) swung sharply to the right last night as EU wide election results were announced into the wee small hours of Monday morning.
Was it really just six months ago that Obama and the US swung to the left? Those were the days as Europe moved right in a big way. While the news was good, the Conservatives (Tories) have a lot of work to do to win a general election they consider a birthright as much as Obama did last November. They need to have more people voting FOR them. Needing a swing of some 43 seats to gain a majority, the PM, unbelievably, had to pleased with the result.
But for the first time since 1918, the Tories won the popular vote in Labour stronghold Wales and UKIP took a seat away from them. UKIP (UK Independence Party) is BNP lite — the kinder, friendlier xenophobes of the UK — and it was quite a night for them as well. Missing and presumed dead were the left moderate Liberal Democrats.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown experienced his personal ‘George W. Bush’ moment (part one) and although Labour took a drubbing and tried to lower expectations saying a 15% win level would be expected (they did much better but still finished 3rd or 4th overall), these are the equivalent of early primaries in NH and Iowa in his attempt to cling to UK power.
The most startling comparison is to 2004 and that US Presidential election. As with the hatred of George W. Bush, no one really felt John Kerry was a pulse-raising alternative that folks could vote FOR. Too many votes for Kerry were protest votes against Bush and thus a year where he should have won, Kerry narrowly lost.
What Labour is already thinking is that while people clearly voiced their displeasure with Labour and the economy (there is your Hitler moment), they were not sure who to throw their support behind (thus the far right insurgency). What was equally clear is that the Tories young leader David Cameron was not the first choice after Gordon Brown.
Some still (after 12 years of Labour governments) remember the Tories and David Cameron’s New Coke experiment to rebrand them as kinder and friendlier cannot yet be considered a success. For the Tories to win a general election they must swing a number of seats that has happened only twice in Parliamentary general elections. Only with Tony Blair in 1992 and in 1945 did the mood swing that huge a number, so dour Gordon did not lose much sleep. It is a huge mountain to climb and young David must convince a very large number of people to vote FOR him vs. AGAINST Gordon Brown.
So fasten your seatbelts and hang on, this will be a bumpy ride. While not a true Heil BNP! moment, it was chilling. Can Gordon rise again from the ashes and hang on? Can David Cameron slay the dragon he rode to victory in Wales?
Denis Campbell publishes the e-magazine UKProgressive.co.uk, where this article first appeared.