...but differences between them start to emerge...
Yesterday, Russia Today released a story – perhaps a slightly exaggerated story – painting Nigel Farage's UKIP, The United Kingdom Independence Party, as the strongest party in the U.K. according to recent polls.
This claim suggests that there are nonzero chances to win the May 2014 elections to the European Parliament and perhaps some later national polls, too. That's quite a success for this relatively new, Euroskeptical and climate skeptical party. They may overshadow the Conservatives, the Labor Party, and the Liberals, too. Meanwhile, lots of other fun discussions surround the UKIP. Nigel Farage claims that all the weird UKIP politicians (who say that trains have to be repainted, ladies can't play board and card games, and – most interestingely – floods were caused by gay marriages) have been imported from the Conservative Party. ;-)
The Counterstream [Protiproud], the contrarevolutionary daily of Mr Petr Hájek, a Christian and a former Czech President Klaus aide whom I will discuss in a moment, published a very interesting analysis of a "possible shock that may shatter Brussels" in Spring 2014.
The "Brussels insiders" are called the Bilderberg group, after the Bilderberg annual meetings where the elite of Euro-naive, politically correct European politicians and celebrities gather. According to the Counterstream, they may be waiting for a shock in May as their "Christian Democratic" and socialist parties lose big.
He discusses the growing chances of UKIP – which has been much more successful than the British National Party, for example. But there are inequivalent yet overlapping and similar tendences in other countries of the EU, too. Incidentally, the huge differences between the political moods in the countries proves that there is no European demos; the nations keep on living their segregated lives and the ideas about a single EU nation is a fantasy (or a carefully crafted yet totally unrealistic propaganda).
In particular, Marine Le Pen with her Front National – who wants to neutralize the Brussels vipers' nest, among other things – may very well be the strongest party in France. Many of us may feel some "undesirable flavor" in this party but Shannon has actually convinced me that the party is just alright. Nevertheless, for example, the UKIP wants to remain mostly isolated. Le Pen has some "common plans" and she claims that the two parties are much closer than UKIP admits.
Germany may look like a reliable island that is satisfied with the Bilderberg folks, especially due to Merkel's popularity. But there is a dark horse here, too: Alternative for Germany – a country against the euro that otherwise describes itself as pro-European – approached the 5% threshold in the September Bundestag elections and they could get around 10% in the EU elections. Not a revolution but a possible seed of something else. I don't have to explain you what strong enough voices against the common currency from the most important country of the eurozone would mean.
In Italy, anti-EU and nationalist parties, The Five Star Movement and the North League, may get above 50% if combined, too. In Spain which experienced some mass rallies, nationalists may get up to 1/3 of the votes. In a similarly represented Poland, the national Catholics in the Law and Justice Party could get a majority of the deputies, a shock for Brussels.
Fidesz continues to be at the top in Hungary and it's not something that the EU establishment enjoys, either. More minor motion away from Euronaivism also seems to materialize in Austria, Portugal, Belgium (where the will to split the country and the Flemish self-confidence – which is largely anti-EU – are getting stronger), Holland, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria. Gert Wilders and his anti-immigration party may get 9/24 of deputies in the Netherlands. Anti-EU forces in Romania may get 4/18 deputies. Greece and Slovakia seem to be experiencing the strengthening of the extremists. Pro-EU forces are likely to gradually weaken in Scandinavia as well – in Finnland, the nationalist True Finns may be a part of the picture.
So the only countries where the pro-EU forces are not expected to weaken are the Baltic states, Slovenia, Luxembourg, and – shockingly enough – Czechia, my homeland that would be viewed as the ultimate headquarters of Euroskepticism. It's plausible that all the Czech seats will go to the pro-Brussels alliance. Hájek discusses what he dislikes about center-right mildly Euroskeptical ODS (founded by Klaus in the early 1990s) and the Party of Free Citizens (SSO).
And this is the other topic I want to mention. Some articles at the Counterstream as well as the SSO website and Klaus.cz personal server have revealed quite some tension between two groups that you could call "groups very close to ex-president Klaus". The Counterstream around Hájek perhaps represents the most accurate Czech counterpart of the Christian Right in the U.S. He's a Christian, an enthusiastic creationist (I've had a journal exchange about the origin of life with him sometime in 2009 or so). Well, he is also a truther of a sort and believes interesting things. But more generally, he – and some people around him – is socially conservative, especially when it comes to the topics like gay marriage, protection of national interests, and so on.
The Party of Free Citizens recently mildly defended gay marriage and they say that they prefer "not to talk about the nation which is too big a word for them" and many other statements like that have been said that made the tension – and some angry reactions – unavoidable. Just to be sure, I have as mixed feelings about these questions as you can get. Ladislav Jakl, a Klaus aide (former and probably current), tried to become the peacemaker, too.
You could say that it's surprising that people that were (and, largely, are) so close to Klaus will have so different opinions about questions they consider so important. To explain the apparent paradox, I would probably say that Klaus is about as ambiguous about these matters as your humble correspondent and he was always able to reconcile the "classical conservatives similar to America's Christian Right" with the "atheist, secular, modern, slightly progressive anti-government Libertarians". I am probably closer to the second group but it's not clear enough for me to endorse them. Hájek has criticized SSO as left-wingers who shouldn't call themselves right-wingers and who are threatening some values of our civilization etc. etc. Mr Pajonk of SSO wrote about their party's being attacked from the right and about its ability to lead all the Euroskeptics in the EU elections. (They got a respectable 2.5% in the latest national polls, almost enough to think about the possibility that our votes don't have to be lost next time.)
Klaus is probably not a religious person in any nontrivial sense – like myself (I don't really believe any particular exact "genuinely Christian story") – but I feel that he is fascinated by Hájek because he feels that there is some sense in which Hájek is more right-wing than Klaus himself and that sounds impressive to Klaus (regardless of the fact that it's possible to agree that many of his idiosyncrasies are symptoms of borderline insanity). OK, that may be describing how I feel ;-) and I may be attributing my feelings to Klaus via projection, but I think that this projection is close to the truth, anyway, so I did mention this theory. ;-) Equally importantly, Klaus has always been a great practician of politics who had to think about the consolidation of close enough political forces and he just didn't spend so much time and didn't produce so many emotions about the differences between those whom he was unifying. His opinions have always been sufficiently inclusive for him to be a major player in the country; but sufficiently special and rare for him not to become another dull average politically correct politician. Because his collaborators are not able to become equally towering figures, they are more affected by the disagreements between the factions (even though, let's admit that the differences between the Libertarians and the Christian Right are substantial).
If the Euronaivism ceased to be "the only allowed, official ideology" at the EU level, it would surely be pleasant but we must understand that such a transformation of Europe wouldn't solve all of the continent's problems and many other issues and concerns would pretty much instantly emerge and strengthen in front of our eyes. To say the least, such a change of the political debate would be refreshing.
...but differences between them start to emerge...