Sinn Féin wins Irish election and seeks far-left coalition

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald (above centre), the big winner of last week’s Irish general election, with IRA godfathers Gerry Adams and the late Martin McGuinness

Sinn Féin – political wing of the terrorist IRA – has emerged as largest single-party from the Irish general election, and is now trying to forge a coalition with two leftwing partners – the Greens and the ultra-left party People Before Profit (whose origins in the Socialist Workers Party). It’s not yet clear whether PBP will bring along the other far left parties with whom it formed a joint slate in last week’s elections.

Between them Sinn Féin, the Greens and the far left have 54 members in the new Irish Parliament. While 80 seats are needed for an overall majority, Sinn Féin hope that the remaining parties and independents would be so divided among themselves that this block of 54 could be the core of a new governing coalition. Yet a stable government would surely depend on an agreement with Fianna Fáil, the party that grew out of the anti-treaty IRA in the 1922-23 Irish Civil War, but which has usually distanced itself from the Provisional IRA and its political front in recent years.

Fianna Fáil’s 37 MPs (excluding the Speaker) would give a Sinn Féin domnated coalition with the Greens and far left a total of 91 seats – a comfortable working majority – but reaching agreement ought to be tricky, given that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin had pledged during the election campaign not to work with Sinn Féin.

The two old establishment parties – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – have 72 seats between them, but an ‘old gang’ coalition of this sort might seem like a kick in the teeth for voters who clearly opted for change.

Many non-Irish readers might be mystified by the failure of Fine Gael leader and outgoing prime minister Leo Varadkar, whose apparent triumph in last year’s Brexit negotiations with Boris Johnson seemed to bring the destruction of the Union, and Dublin’s dream of a ‘United Ireland’ closer than ever.

Outgoing Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (above right) seemed to have triumphed in Brexit negotiations with Boris Johnson, but has been decisively rejected by Irish voters.

Yet back home Varadkar was facing some of the same troubles that beset the former UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Ireland is no longer seen by the Irish as having benefited from an ‘economic miracle’. As in London, there is a housing crisis for young people, but again as in London most young voters have in response opted for the far left, choosing to ignore the parallel crises caused by mass immigration that has made Dublin unrecognisable in recent years.

Sinn Féin, which once played an ambiguous role, posing to European leftists as a socialist revolutionary movement, while presenting itself to the Irish diaspora in the USA as a traditional nationalist party sharing their social conservatism, has now reinvented itself inambiguously as a socially liberal party, ticking all the correct trendy boxes, though still unapologetic – indeed proud – of the IRA’s bloody record of murder and mayhem.

As with many such populist insurgencies, government might prove a trickier business than rhetorical opposition, and we have yet to see precisely how the new coalition will stack up a governing majority.

Meanwhile the rival populists of the conservative/eurosceptic right almost all failed: click here for details.

Eurosceptics and ‘far right’ fail in Irish election

Last week’s general election in the Republic of Ireland produced a historic victory for Sinn Féin, political wing of the terrorist IRA, and H&D readers would have to examine the small print of the election results closely to discover the fate of Eurosceptic, socially conservative, let alone ‘far right’ candidates and parties. (The Irish elections are under the STV system, where voters rank candidates in order of preference in multi-member constituencies.)

Hermann Kelly, a well-known journalist and close ally of Nigel Farage, once employed by Farage’s European parliamentary group, set up the Irish Freedom Party in the autumn of 2018. Its main policy is ‘Irexit’, but it sees this as part of a broader strategy towards securing a united Ireland – a Republican agenda that would alienate most H&D readers.

Kelly’s IFP messed up its official registration last year, so its European parliamentary candidates had to be listed as independents. This year its registration was in order, but the eleven IFP candidates obtained negligible votes. Their best first-preference vote was 2.1% in Cork NW, local schoolteacher Tara Nic Domhnaill finishing 8th of 9 candidates.

Ben Gilroy, Irish yellow vest leader and IFP candidate

High profile IFP candidate for Dublin Bay North, Ben Gilroy – an anti-eviction activist who had tried to establish himself as leader of an Irish ‘yellow vest’ movement – polled only 1.1%. In Tipperary the party’s chairperson Prof. Dolores Cahill polled only 0.6%; while in Dublin Bay South IFP’s half-Jamaican candidate Ben Scallan also managed just 0.6%.

These results suggest that ‘Irexit’ has for the moment very limited appeal to Irish voters – which is understandable given that the Brexit process, for as long as the Irish Republic remains in the EU, offers the best hope of undermining the Union and moving closer to Dublin’s dream of a ‘United Ireland’. What the IRA failed to achieve by force of arms, might begin to be conceded as part of Whitehall’s Brexit negotiations.

But what of the insidious threats to Irish identity itself – in particular mass immigration and social liberalism? While the IFP certainly addressed these issues, so did several other parties sometimes described as ‘far right’.

Renua has declined sharply since 2016, when it was led by former MP Lucinda Creighton

Renua was founded by former Fine Gael MP Lucinda Creighton in 2015 after she quit Ireland’s ruling party in opposition to liberalising abortion laws. Mrs Creighton resigned the leadership in 2016 and Renua has since become more radical on race/immigration issues. However this year’s snap election came at a bad time for the party, whose leadership is vacant, and its nationwide vote slipped from 2.2% in 2016 to 0.3% this year, fielding 11 candidates. This collapse has serious implications, since parties that score above a 2% threshold qualify for state funding of about €250,000, rising in proportion to the party’s first preference vote share. In common with the other ‘far-right’ parties, Renua will now miss out on these funds. Only the highest of Renua’s constituency votes passed this threshold – 2.0% in Kildare North.

Justin Barrett of the National Party and independent canddiate for Dublin Fingal, Gemma O’Doherty, are two prominent anti-immigration activists

Perhaps the most ‘notorious’ right-wing party in Ireland is the National Party, founded in November 2016 by anti-abortion activist Justin Barrett who has spoken at European racial nationalist events for parties such as Germany’s NPD and Italy’s Forza Nuova. The NP had ten candidates nationwide. Mr Barrett’s second wife Rebecca polled 0.7% as National Party candidate for Limerick City; while deputy leader James Reynolds achieved their highest vote, 1.7% in Longford/Westmeath.

In contrast to the NP, Aontú – founded in January 2019 – sees itself as a mainstream socially conservative party rather than part of a ‘far-right’ fringe. Unlike most other parties (with the exception of Sinn Fein, the Greens, and far-left outfit ‘People Before Profit’) it operates on both sides of the border and has sought recruits from traditional republicans who cannot stomach the mainstream parties’ (and Sinn Fein’s) swing to extreme liberalism on social questions.

Aontú did succeed in winning one seat: party leader Peadar Tóibín was re-elected in Meath West to the seat that he had held for Sinn Fein since 2011, having quit Sinn Fein in November 2018 and set up Aontú two months later. He took 17.6% of first preferences this year, second only to the Sinn Fein candidate who topped the poll. (The big loser in Meath West was Fianna Fáil, whose candidate had topped the poll in 2016 but slipped to fourth this year and lost his seat.) Other strong Aontú votes included 8.4% in Cork NW, but the party’s nationwide vote was only 1.9%.

Peter Casey has fought several high-profile anti-immigration campaigns but failed badly this year

Ireland’s highest profile ‘mainstream’ anti-immigration politician Peter Casey, a businessman best known as a panellist on the television show Dragon’s Den, and runner-up in the 2018 Irish presidential election, was perhaps the biggest disappointment of this year’s election. Standing as an independent, Casey finished 11th of 13 candidates in Donegal with only 1.5%, and made even less impact in Dublin West, where he sought publicity by standing against incumbent Prime Minister Leo Varadkar but polled only 1.1%.

A rival independent ani-immigration candidate, Niall McConnell, fared even worse in Donegal with 0.8%.

A more successful maverick candidate was journalist Gemma O’Doherty, banned from YouTube last year for ‘hate speech’, who took 2.0% in Dublin Fingal, while her associate John Waters (a 64-year-old veteran music journalist) polled 1.5% in Dún Laoghaire on a similar anti-immigration platform.

Perhaps the best news of the election was the success of Verona Murphy, who was disowned by her former party Fine Gael after she made comments about migrants and terrorism while standing as Fine Gael candidate in a Wexford by-election. This year she easily won a seat in Wexford standing as an independent, polling 7.8% of first preferences but elected in third place after transfers from another independent, but more surprisingly also from Fianna Fáil and Labour.

A politically-correct row last autumn over anti-immigration comments by Independent MP Noel Grealish didn’t do any harm to either Mr Grealish, re-elected in Galway West, or his fellow independent Michael Collins, who defended Mr Grealish’s remarks in a radio interview and was himself re-elected top of the poll in Cork SW.

Noel Grealish – re-elected in Galway

So the overall outcome of the Irish election is that there will be at least four members of the new Parliament who, while from very different political traditions, each has a record of speaking out on immigration, in defence of Ireland’s racial and cultural traditions: Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín and three independents – Mrs Murphy and Messrs Grealish and Collins.

Sadly however these will be heavily outnumbered and overshadowed by the success of Sinn Féin, which combines unapologetic adherence to the terrorist traditions of the IRA with an ever trendier ultra-liberalism on race, immigration and the whole gamut of 21st century PC craziness on social questions.

Surge of support for Italian anti-immigration parties

The results of two regional elections in Italy show strong support for the parties of the populist and nationalist right, though the left clung on to power in Emilia Romagna, while losing calamitously badly in Calabria.

Lega strongman Matteo Salvini (affectionately known as “il Capitano”) had a mountain to climb in Emilia Romagna, which, despite being one of Italy’s wealthiest regions, has consistently returned left wing regional governments since 1945. Indeed, its principal city, “Red Bologna” (a pun on the famous red bricks of which it is built, combined with its preference for left wing parties) was notoriously anti-fascist even in the years of Mussolini’s rule, when opposing fascism took much more courage than it does to-day.

Il Capitano’s task was not made any easier by the choice of Signora Lucia Borgonzoni to lead the right-wing coalition. She is relatively unknown, whereas the centre-left’s candidate, Stefano Bonaccini, was the outgoing regional president who had, by common consent even of his political opponents, led a highly competent administration for many years.

Italy’s complicated version of proportional representation means that different parties find it helpful to group together in combined lists, while maintaining their separate identities by a process of allocation of seats within the list according to the percentage taken by each constituent party.

For each region there are moreover (confusingly) two sets of statistics, one for the election of the regional president, another for the elections to the regional parliament.

While Signor Bonaccini won the regional presidency by a convincing margin (51.4% of the vote to Signora Borgonzoni’s 43.6% and a paltry 3.47% for the Five Star (left populist) Simone Benini), voting for the regional parliament was much closer than predicted by the opinion polls.

In the event, the centre left list took 48.7% to the right’s 45.5%, Five Star’s list polling only 3.4%.

The votes cast for the left were apportioned between the Democratic Party (liberal-left) on 34.59%, a Bonaccini support group (left) taking 5.8%, and several smaller green or leftist parties making up the balance of the left’s vote (excluding the Five Star movement, which, as we have seen, presented its own remarkably unsuccessful list).

The lion’s share of the vote on the right went to the Lega on 31.9%, with fourteen seats in the 48 member regional parliament, while the Fratelli d’Italia (who do not disguise or apologise for their fascist heritage) polled a satisfactory 8.6%, so taking three seats in the regional parliament. The rump of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia took the one remaining seat allocated to the right-wing parties.

Lega leader Matteo Salvini (above right) with his party’s regional candidate in Emilia-Romagna, Lucia Borgonzoni.

While some on the left have sought to portray the results in Emilia Romagna as a major blow to Matteo Salvini’s hopes of returning to power, in truth his list ran the left to within less than 4% of the vote in the left’s strongest region in the face of a national mobilisation of leftist activists.

The big winner in Emilia Romagna was turnout at 67.67%, up from a very low 38% at the previous regional elections. The big loser was the Five Star Movement. It presented a joint list with the Communists (once a major political party in Italy) but polled only 3.4%, below the threshold for representation in the regional parliament.

Meanwhile in the poor southern region of Calabria, the left was routed. Here the centre left vote was very fragmented across multiple lists, so that Forza Italia’s candidate took the regional presidency with an impressive 55.3% of the total vote, while the second placed candidate took only 30%, and multiple other lists share the remaining 14.7% of the vote.

Forza Italia took 12.58% of the vote on the party list system, the Lega 12.21% and the Fratelli a pleasing 11.14%. The vote on the left was ever more fragmented over multiple parties.

Jole Santelli (above left), winner of the Calabrian regional election, with her Forza Italia party leader, Silvio Berlusconi. While Forza Italia is now very much the smallest and declining partner in the populist right coalition nationwide, it is the largest coalition partner in Calabria.

While il Capitano was denied the victory in Emilia Romagna that would probably have led to the collapse of the present Five Star/Democratic Party coalition that clings tenuously to power in Rome, both the Lega and the Fratelli continue to make encouraging progress, while Five Star is on the verge of collapse.

To put Five Star’s performance in context, it is still the largest party in the Italian parliament, but now faces annihilation whenever and wherever new elections are held. It was the future once, but is now given over to internecine strife so bitter that its former leader, Luigi di Maio, resigned a few days ago, saying that his real enemies were all elected representatives of his own party, which sounds even worse than our own, dear Labour party.

While nothing is certain in an uncertain world, it does seem likely that a Lega/Fratelli/Forza Italia coalition will at some point take power in Rome, but this time, unlike in 1922, by completely lawful and democratic means.

Brexit dominates General Election – racial nationalist parties stand aside

Nominations closed today for the UK General Election on December 12th, and H&D readers will not be surprised to learn that there are very few candidates from racial nationalist parties.

Both the National Front and the British Democratic Party have agreed to stand aside from this General Election, recognising that it will be dominated by the Brexit issue and that most racial nationalists will wish to use their votes to support a pro-Brexit candidate. (Though there is of course a minority of our movement that takes an anti-Brexit line, following the tradition of Sir Oswald Mosley’s post-war Union Movement.)

For the BNP, David Furness will be contesting the Hornchurch & Upminster constituency in outer East London, where he seems to be the only non-Tory, pro-Brexit candidate. He is the only BNP candidate nationwide: this is the tenth general election that the BNP has contested since it was founded in 1982, and its lowest-ever number of candidates.

Former BNP activist Dr Andrew Emerson is contesting his home constituency of Chichester for the Patria party which he formed with LEL, NF and BNP veteran Dennis Whiting and fellow nationalists who broke away from the BNP some years ago. This will be Dr Emerson’s third parliamentary campaign in Chichester during the past four years: this time he has no opponent from UKIP or the Brexit Party.

Gary Butler, who was NF candidate for Maidstone & the Weald in 2010 and English Democrat candidate for Faversham & Mid Kent in 2015, is an Independent candidate this year, again for Faversham & Mid Kent.

Meanwhile in the Liverpool West Derby constituency, veteran nationalist activist Joe Owens appears as proposer on the nomination papers of Brexit Party candidate Ray Pearson – though Mr Owens has recently posted a YouTube video criticising party leader Nigel Farage for striking a deal to stand down 317 candidates in Tory-held constituencies.

Vicky Felton – councillor for the Democrats & Veterans Party in Monk Bretton ward, Barnsley – is the Brexit Party candidate for Barnsley Central. There has not been any announcement of a merger between D&V and the Brexit Party, and Mrs Felton’s husband Gavin remains D&V Party chairman, so this might be a temporary arrangement just for this election. Similarly Rebecca Rees-Evans, husband of D&V founder and leader Jonathan Rees-Evans, is Brexit Party candidate for Cynon Valley, where she was UKIP candidate in 2015.

There are five English Democrat candidates this year (only one of whom has a Brexit Party opponent and none of whom have UKIP opponents); while the Veterans and People’s Party is contesting Great Yarmouth, without Brexit Party or UKIP opposition, and Linlithgow & East Falkirk, where it has a Brexit Party opponent.

There are only 44 UKIP candidates nationwide (down from 467 just two years ago) – including two in Northern Ireland and seven in Scotland – but in thirteen of these constituencies UKIP and the Brexit Party are standing against each other, including two in Sunderland, two in Sheffield, and Oldham West & Royton.

There are ex-UKIP independents standing in several constituencies, including former party leader Henry Bolton, who will be Independent candidate for his home constituency Folkestone & Hythe. His splinter party Our Nation was deregistered last month after only a year in existence.

H&D will feature reports and analysis on the UK General Election during the next few weeks, and our January 2020 edition will examine future strategies for our movement once the Brexit issue has (one way or another) been resolved.

Spanish nationalist party surges ahead

Vox leader Santiago Abascal addressing a party rally

Yesterday’s general election in Spain saw the nationalist party Vox double its number of MPs from 24 to 52, after its vote increased from 10.3% to 15.1%.

Vox has been in existence for less than six years, and achieved its first significant electoral success at regional elections in Andalusia, southern Spain, last December.

Yesterday was the second Spanish general election in seven months. In April Vox (who had never previously polled above 1% in a general election) managed 10.3% and won parliamentary seats for the first time. Following yesterday’s result, left-wing opponents feared that Spain’s “far-right” is now “one of the strongest in Europe”.

Some observers perceived the latest Vox success as partly a backlash by traditionalist voters against the vindictive decision by Spain’s leftwing rulers to exhume the remains of General Francisco Franco (who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975 after a successful anti-communist revolt).

Spain’s leftwing rulers recently exhumed the remains of former leader Gen. Francisco Franco from his tomb at the Valley of the Fallen (above) near Madrid.

This year’s two general elections have been a disaster for Spain’s mainstream conservative parties, the long-established People’s Party (some of whose right-wing broke away to form Vox at the end of 2013) and the ‘centre-right’ Citizens party.

Yesterday the PP won back some seats at the expense of the Citizens, who lost 47 of their 57 seats. The important fact however is that while Spanish nationalism (which had been electorally insignificant since General Franco’s death in 1975) is rapidly advancing, the conservative parties are in crisis.

The two conservative parties combined now have only 98 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, down from 123 in April this year and 169 in 2016.

This is a phenomenon repeated in several European countries, notably Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU-CSU is divided over whether to continue ruling out future coalitions with the ever-stronger anti-immigration party AfD.

The one big exception is the UK, which while politics remains dominated by the Brexit question has had no chance to develop any serious nationalist and anti-immigration force.

Later this week H&D will begin detailed coverage of the UK’s 2019 General Election, comparing our political line-up with the rest of Europe, and asking how our movement can progress in a post-Brexit nation.

Brexit Party struggling in by-elections

Nigel Farage – new party, same old problems

The Liberal Democrats have won yesterday’s parliamentary by-election in the rural Welsh constituency Brecon & Radnorshire, further worsening the parliamentary arithmetic for new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, making it less likely that he can achieve Brexit without a general election.

Brecon & Radnorshire was also bad news for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, whose candidate was a distant third with 10.5%. A crumb of comfort for Farage was UKIP’s embarrassment at finishing bottom of the poll with 0.7%, behind even the ‘Monster Raving Loony Party’!

Regular H&D readers will be very familiar with our long-running analyses of UKIP’s poor performance in local by-elections, which indicated a long time ago that the party was in big trouble.

Now of course UKIP is dead, and is widely seen to have been superseded by the Brexit Party, founded earlier this year by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The Brexit Party achieved extraordinarily good results at this year’s European Parliamentary elections: 30.5% of the nationwide vote, electing 29 MEPs – easily the largest UK party at that election.

The jury is still out as to whether the election of self-proclaimed Hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and (for the time being at least) Prime Minister will end Farage’s adventure.

What does seem clear is that (like UKIP before it) the Brexit Party is struggling to turn its potential support into actual votes in local or Westminster (as opposed to European) elections.

Last week in Gloucester the Brexit Party contested two city council elections for the first time. The good news for Farage is that his party finished way ahead of UKIP. The bad news is that they finished a poor third in one and fourth in the other.

In Podsmead ward – exactly the sort of White working-class estate where the Brexit Party ought to be threatening Labour (according to many pundits) they were fourth with 16.4% (UKIP polled just 1.6%). Labour did indeed lose the seat – but to the very pro-EU Liberal Democrats, not to Farage.

In a very different part of Gloucester, Barnwood ward – equally White but far more affluent – the Brexit Party finished third with 10.5% (UKIP managed a microscopic 0.4%). Again the Liberal Democrats gained the seat, this time from the Tories.

And tonight the Brexit Party has finished a distant third in its second attempt at a parliamentary by-election. The Liberal Democrats are again the winners, but perhaps the more important story is that the Tory candidate – despite having been convicted of a criminal offence, causing this by-election in the first place – finished well ahead of the Brexit Party candidate.

It’s too early to talk about a crisis for Farage, but just a couple of months after his great Euro-election triumph, the Brexit Party is badly in need of a good result somewhere. As things stand, Boris Johnson must be tempted to call a general election – at which Farage could be sunk without trace.

Winners and losers as Europe’s populist tide ebbs and flows

Leading figures in ‘The Movement’, an alliance of European populists – (left to right) former Trump adviser Steve Bannon; Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini; and Brussels-based Jewish lawyer Mischael Modrikamen

While Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party celebrated big victories in this week’s European elections, the much-advertised populist breakthrough proved to be at best a patchy affair.

Predictably the big populist winners included Italy‘s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, whose anti-immigration Lega party topped the polls with 34.3% and 29 seats – a huge increase on their 6.2% and five seats in 2014, when the party was known as Lega Nord (Northern League).

Also continuing to advance were the nationalist-conservative governing parties in Poland and Hungary.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party are suspended from the European conservative group EPP, but Orban had the last laugh this week. While most European conservative parties are in crisis, Fidesz increased their support to 52.3%, up from 51.5% in 2014.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban was among the big winners at this year’s Euro-elections

A very radical nationalist party polled exceptionally well in Slovakia. Marian Kotleba’s People’s Party Our Slovakia – a party that stands staunchly in the tradition of Slovakia’s wartime leader Monsignor Jozef Tiso – gained two MEPs after polling 12.1% (up from 1.8% in 2014).

By contrast some previously successful populist and anti-Islam parties suffered poor results. The once-influential Dutch Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders was wiped out, losing all four of their MEPs and polling 3.5% (down from 13.2% in 2014).

Also badly beaten was the Danish People’s Party who lost three of their four MEPs after their vote fell from 26.6% to 10.7%. Voters in Denmark showed the strongest evidence of a trend also witnessed in some other European countries: an anti-populist backlash with increased turnouts among previously apathetic voters.

Marine Le Pen, once Europe’s most successful anti-immigration politician, has been to some extent eclipsed by her Italian ally Salvini, but Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) – previously the National Front (FN) – again topped the poll in France with 23.3% (slightly down from the FN’s 24.9% in 2014). The more ‘moderate’ French eurosceptic party France Arise (DLF) led by Farage’s main French ally Nicolas Dupont-Aignan fell below the 5% threshold to obtain MEPs. DLF polled 3.5% (down from 3.8% under an earlier party name in 2014).

Marine Le Pen (leader of the renamed French National Front) stayed top of the polls, but her ally Geert Wilders saw his Dutch Freedom Party wiped out.

Le Pen’s former FN vice-president Florian Philippot broke away in September 2017 to form a splinter party called The Patriots, mainly on the European issue: unlike Le Pen he wants France to leave the European Union. Philippot’s party polled only 0.7% despite seeking to appropriate the name of the anti-establishment “yellow vest” street protestors.

Having lost one of her main European parliamentary allies with the demise of Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party, Le Pen will have been greatly cheered by the landslide gains for the Flemish nationalists Vlaams Belang. In simultaneous Belgian regional, parliamentary and European elections, VB’s young leader Tom Van Grieken (elected in 2014 as a 28-year-old) succeeded in turning round the party’s fortunes.

VB now have 18 seats in the Belgian Parliament (up from 3 in 2014) and three MEPs (up from one in 2014).

The other important Le Pen ally is the Austrian Freedom Party, who managed to hold on 18.1% (down from 19.7% in 2014) despite a financial scandal that has destroyed the career of party leader and former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. In fact these European elections pale into insignificance against the background of Austria’s political crisis, which has now brought down the government and provoked a general election to be held in September.

Rather than consistent populist/nationalist success, the main event of this year’s European elections in most of the continent was a dramatic increase in turnout: up from 42.2% to 50.1% in France; from 48.1% to 61.4% in Germany; and from 43.8% to 64.3% in Spain.

Golden Dawn supporters rally outside the Greek Parliament

The new Spanish anti-immigration party Vox elected three MEPs for the first time after polling 6.2% (up from 1.6% in 2014 but down from 10.3% at this year’s general election).

In Germany the civic nationalist and anti-immigration party AfD (Alternative for Germany) polled 4.1m votes (11.0%), up from 2.1m votes (7.1%) in 2014, increasing their tally of MEPs from seven to eleven.

One side-effect of AfD’s success was the defeat of the long-established German nationalist party NPD, who polled 101,000 votes (0.3%), down from 301,000 votes (1.0%) in 2014. The NPD’s sole MEP Udo Voigt consequently lost his seat. Two smaller German nationalist parties also contested the Euro-election. Die Rechte polled 25,000 votes for a slate headed by 90-year-old author and historical justice campaigner Ursula Haverbeck, who is presently serving a prison sentence for “holocaust denial”. The III Path (Dritte Weg) polled 13,000 votes.

Greek national socialist party Golden Dawn lost one of their three MEPs after polling 4.8%, down from 9.4% in 2014 (though in contrast to some populist parties Golden Dawn is disproportionately strong among young voters). Their Maltese counterparts Imperium Europa, a national socialist party led by Norman Lowell, polled 3.2%, up from 2.8% in 2014.



Sinn Fein struggle both sides of border

A big win for the Democratic Unionist Party: (left to right) DUP leader Arlene Foster, Diane Dodds MEP who won this week’s Euro-election, and her husband Nigel Dodds MP, DUP deputy leader.

After many years of political advances Sinn Fein (political wing of the terrorist IRA) has suffered setbacks on both sides of the Irish border in this week’s European elections. Some Sinn Fein candidates are already hinting that the results threaten the position of party leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Results from the Irish Republic are still being counted, but Sinn Fein has already lost local council seats across the country and has slipped back in the three Euro-constituencies, losing votes both to the Greens and to assorted left-wing independents.

Meanwhile in Ulster, Sinn Fein has lost votes among liberal, middle-class Catholics to the cross-community Alliance Party whose leader Naomi Long has achieved her party’s best ever result.

The biggest loser in Northern Ireland was Danny Kennedy of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), once known as the ‘Official Unionists’. The UUP has taken a pro-Remain stance, but pro-Remain Unionists seem to have defected en masse to the Alliance Party.

The pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party has won its best European Parliamentary result since 2004, with Diane Dodds elected first after transfers.

The new socially conservative Catholic party Aontu didn’t field candidates in the European elections.


Big gains for Farage on mixed night for Europe’s ‘populists’

British voters decisively rejected the political establishment at the European elections. Results announced overnight showed that Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party took 32% of the vote and 28 MEPs, while Theresa May’s Conservative Party was reduced to just three MEPs, polling just 9%.

Farage crushed his old party UKIP, whose leader Gerard Batten lost his own seat in London, where UKIP polled only 2.1% losing their deposit.

Batten wasn’t the biggest loser in these elections: that honour went to former EDL leader ‘Tommy Robinson’. Standing as an independent in North West England, ‘Robinson’ lost his deposit with only 2.2% despite a very high-profile campaign with his trademark street violence and anti-Islam rhetoric.

‘Robinson’ has been exposed as full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

By contrast Farage will now be considering how to transform the Brexit Party into a genuine political party able to contest the next general election. British politics might never be the same again.

Leading figures in ‘The Movement’, an alliance of European populists – (left to right) former Trump adviser Steve Bannon; Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini; and Brussels-based Jewish lawyer Mischael Modrikamen

Meanwhile across Europe there were mixed results for anti-immigration parties. The biggest winner so far seems to be Matteo Salvini’s Lega who topped the poll in Italy with 34%; while among the losers was the anti-Islamist Dutch Freedom Party headed by Geert Wilders – they lost all four of their MEPs after polling 3.5%, down from 13.2% in 2014.

H&D will publish a full analysis of the results for anti-immigration and pro-nationalist parties across Europe as full results become available later today.

Former Soros hedge fund manager Robert Rowland – now a Brexit Party MEP

There will be some confusion among staff at Hope not Hate and other recipients of largesse from George Soros. Last night Robert Rowland, who managed about $1bn of hedge fund assets while working for Soros Fund Management from 1996 to 2003, has just been elected alongside Nigel Farage as a Brexit Party MEP for South East England.

A small sign of UKIP’s terminal decline was in Burnley, one of the very few towns where the party has a viable branch and a group of elected councillors. Yet even here the party was evidently not represented at the count, where a blatant error seems to have been made by the Returning Officer. It seems obvious to H&D that a bundle of 500 votes was misallocated by Burnley counting staff to the tiny pro-Remain UKEUP rather than to UKIP: to anyone with political experience, the reported result in Burnley looks obviously wrong. This is the sort of error that potentially could have cost UKIP £5,000 – but no party representative was on hand to correct it!

German lawyer arrested again: faces 18 months in jail

(left to right) Günter Deckert, Sylvia Stolz, and Lady Michèle Renouf following the release of Frau Stolz from a prison sentence in April 2011: today she was again imprisoned.

German lawyer Sylvia Stolz was arrested again today for what George Orwell would have called ‘thought crimes’ – in the supposedly ‘democratic’ Federal Republic.

Her ‘offence’ is to have given a speech in Switzerland in 2012 where she spoke about her earlier conviction in 2008 for offences against Germany’s notorious ‘Paragraph 130’ law that forbids discussion of or research into forbidden historical topics.

Sylvia Stolz was imprisoned from 2008 to 2011. For her speech in Switzerland she was convicted again in February 2015 and sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, later reduced on appeal to 18 months.

It is this 18 month sentence that she must now serve following today’s arrest.

Less than two weeks ago the host of the Swiss conference where Sylvia Stolz gave her ‘offending’ speech – religious broadcaster and author Ivo Sasek – was represented at an alternative media conference in the Bundestag (Germany’s federal parliament in Berlin) held by the civic nationalist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Despite the climate of fear engendered by ‘liberal dictatorships’ across Europe (seen at its worst in Germany), voters in this week’s European elections are set to defy political elites.

Not only AfD but a host of anti-establishment parties are set to win seats in the European Parliament. Voters in the UK went to the polls today, but because most countries do not vote until Sunday, there will be no counting until Sunday night and Monday morning.

This website will bring up to date coverage and analysis of results as they are declared. The present May-June edition of H&D contains a detailed analysis of the many different populist or nationalist parties standing in different European countries; the July-August edition will have reports on the results and on the widening division between Europeans and their rulers.

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