Big Business, Big Banks, Big Bureaucrats

15 January:

In this speech on Wednesday, soon after the unfortunate interview I recently commented on, Mr Farage, while making special reference to the “trilogue on MiFID” (the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) in which the Greek prime minister was involved, is also crystal clear on the general fact of the decisive constellation of Big Bs and their problematic rule of Europe. Indeed, he is much clearer on this point than his fellow populists in the Danish People’s Party and – out of the EU – the Norwegian Progress Party. Despite differences in their economic policies, he sounds much closer to Marine Le Pen.

Again, one wonders why it was necessary to reject her Front National as a partner in the European Parliament in such uncompromising, unfair, and definitive terms as did Mr Farage. It is probably understandable that it is impossible for him and his party to join the Front now. In reality, it is the British media that say the things about the Front that he himself repeated, clearly calculating it would be suicidal to challenge their view before the next elections in Britain. Nonetheless, the terms of his rejection seemed much too strong, given the Front’s position in France and France’s position in Europe, and also in view of the real conditions for actually achieving his own goals after further success in those elections.

Mr Farage always speaks of trade and cooperation between the European nations as the alternative to the EU. Although he may want little more than Britain’s leaving the Union, his rhetoric has always been one of a general dismantling of it, the liberation of all the European nations from it – something which is more clearly the goal not least of the Front National, especially after Mme Le Pen’s appel aux peuples d’Europe last year, and which sets him clearly apart from the Churchillian defence of a EU without Britain.

But this of course requires patient, long-term political collaboration with such parties, within and without the European Parliament. British trade with Europe will certainly continue without them, but in political terms, for the purposes of the effective opposition to the EU and the replacement of it with truly pro-European political cooperation, the only Europe that matters is, at least for the foreseeable future, the Europe that is represented by the Front National and its partners.

That is why Mr Farage’s categorical rejection looks like something very much more than and something very different from opposition to the EU: it looks like anti-Europeanism. It seems clear he would not accept a truly European, pro-European union either, a looser union in the interest of the peoples of Europe, a union that builds on the preservation of the nations, a union that might perhaps even take over some of the structures of the EU and use them for its own purposes. Given the need for such cooperation on many levels in today’s world, this is a problem, involving deep issues of the historical identity of the UK in relation to Europe, which will have to be addressed in the future and which call for the mobilization of forces in Britain quite different from those of the lower kind of populism.

For now, Mr Farage’s and UKIP’s fight for independence is clearly a part of our common work of saving Europe from the in central respects anti-European union of the Big Bs. But a permanent rift between the EFD group (and, I would add, in some respects even that distinctly national conservative party in the EPP group, Hungary’s Fidesz) and the currently non-inscrit but biggest and most successful anti-EU party in Europe is simply not tenable if the former is serious about its political goals. Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom and the Austrian Freedom Party have already accepted the Front National as a partner. But to a considerable extent because of UKIP’s and the Danish People’s Party’s populist rejection, it seems the requisite number of parties from other European countries may not do so, so that a new parliamentary group cannot be formed after the election in May.

In this situation we must hope that those other parties, which may thus find it impossible to join the Front, Wilders, and the FPÖ this year, will at least not turn against Mme Le Pen and close the door on any future collaboration with her in the undiplomatic and counterproductive manner of Farage. Their countries’ freedom, as well as the new, alternative, and truly European unity based on such freedom that should replace the current union, would only be unnecessarily delayed, and much avoidable harm would be done.

We must hope that the exaggerated terms of Mr Farage’s dismissal were a temporary mistake, and that he will himself reconsider them. Again, there are differences between the economic policies of UKIP and the Front National. Yet in Wednesday’s speech, our hero in Brussels and Strasbourg seemed almost indistinguishable from Mme Le Pen.

1 Response to “Big Business, Big Banks, Big Bureaucrats”

  1. 1 Anonym January 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Can you explain in greater detail what you see as the alternative to the current EU? That some parts of the EU-legislation and policies are viewed as essential by certain member states and as utter madness by others is, in my view, in the very nature of international cooperation. Swedes, generally speaking, dislike the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) while French politicians seem to think of it as something of essential importance. I must confess that I know almost nothing about the National Front and Marine Le Pen. But what is her and her party’s stance on this particular issue?

    And can you please, in broader terms, explain the alternative vision for Européan cooperation looks like. Because I don’t have a clue…

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