From France to Finland, Right-wingers are surging
So that’s Eurovision done for another year. We can stop caring about songs we’ll never hear again sung by people we’ll never see again.
Instead, let’s turn our attention to the votes that actually matter i.e. those that elect the governments of our closest neighbours.
This is a contest with a very different vibe. Consider Spain. Until recently, this was one of the last European strongholds of the centre-Left. However, the conservative People’s Party is making a major comeback — bolstered by public frustration with lockdown. Normally, good news for the mainstream party of the centre-Right would be bad news for any challenger party of the hard Right. But not in Spain where the populist Vox party continues to prosper. Rather it is the liberal Citizens’ party that has suffered. Indeed, it’s close to extinction.
Spain, Sigma Dos poll:
PP-EPP: 31% (+5)
PSOE-S&D: 26% (-3)
VOX-ECR: 16% (+3)
UP-LEFT: 10% (-2)
MP-G/EFA: 4% (+3)
Cs-RE: 3% (-4)
+/- vs. 7 December 2020
Fieldwork: 17 May 2021
Sample size: N/A
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) May 21, 2021
Therefore if the People’s Party wins the next election then its obvious coalition partner is Vox, not the political centre. With a renewed migration crisis brewing, Spain could become as big a headache for the EU as Italy is.
Speaking of which, the ‘post-fascist’ Brothers of Italy party is now beginning to hit second place in opinion polls — just a sliver behind The League, another Right-wing populist party. Together the two command more than 40% of the vote. The technocratic government of Mario Draghi is all that’s stopping new elections, which would most likely result in victory for the hard Right. The main uncertainty is whether Matteo Salvini of the League or Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers would become Prime Minister. As things stand, Salvini is still in pole position, but the momentum is with Meloni.
Meanwhile the polls show that the Right-wing populist parties — or presidential candidates — are out in front in France, the Flemish part of Belgium and Finland. They also have a major presence in most other Western European nations (the UK being the biggest exception). As for the eastern half of the continent, let’s not even go there.
The Eurovision Song Contest is a rainbow-coloured vision of tolerance and togetherness. For hardcore British Remainers — always more interested in the European ideal than the reality — it symbolises a paradise lost.
Perhaps if they paid more attention to the continent’s actual politics, it would lessen their heartache.