Socialist Worker

Euro elections see political crisis, and the racists make some gains

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2656

Counting the votes in Edinburgh

Counting the votes in Edinburgh


The European election results have underlined the political crisis in Britain and the wholesale collapse of the Tories.

Anti-racists were celebrating in North West England as, after a campaign by Stand Up To Racism, fascist Tommy Robinson failed to be elected. He took just 2 percent of the vote and lost his deposit.

Nahella Ashraf, from Manchester Stand Up To Racism said, “We have shown that there is no place in mainstream politics for a fascist. I’d like to thank the hundreds of activists that came out across the North West to make this happen.

Everyone concerned and angry about the rise of racism should be on the demonstrations against Donald Trump in Britain from 3 June

“The campaign run by Stand Up To Racism showed that we can pull people together regardless of how they voted in the EU referendum.

“However, we cannot be complacent.”

The main gainer across Britain was Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. It won almost a third of the vote, far more than the Tories and Labour combined.

The Brexit Party won all of the regions in England, apart from London, as well as Wales, and took almost 2 million more votes than its closest rivals, the Lib Dems.

The Tories were at just 9 percent, their worst ever national result. Labour was on 14 percent, a setback that will boost a new push by the right to embrace fully support for a second referendum.

The Lib Dems took 21 percent and the Greens 12.5 percent. Ukip and Change UK were wiped out.

In Scotland the SNP came first with a thumping 38 percent, the Brexit Party came second on 15 percent while Scottish Labour won only 9.3 percent and came fifth. 

Dangerous

Not everyone who voted for The Brexit Party is a racist, let alone a fascist.

But racist Farage pulls in people who are angry at the political establishment and focuses them towards Islamophobic and racist solutions.

It is not the first time Farage has grabbed election success.

In 2014's Euro elections his Ukip party took 27 percent of the vote. It was the first party other than Labour and the Conservatives to win a nationwide election since 1910.

Ukip’s success was one of the factors that pushed David Cameron into offering a referendum on British membership of the European Union.

Now the Brexit Party's gains will again strengthen racism and right wing ideas.

It will also convince Boris Johnson and other Tory leadership contenders that the threat of a no-deal Brexit—spiced with racism—is the way forward. They will see it as the method to salvage something from the wreckage after Theresa May’s departure.

The far right across Europe had mixed results.

Protesting against the Nazis at the count in the north west

Protesting against the Nazis at the count in the north west (Pic: SUTR Manchester)


In France fascist Marine Le Pen’s National Rally was the largest party, profiting from the unpopularity of president Emmanuel Macron.

The AfD in Germany advanced, but not strongly. In the Spanish state Vox took seats for the first time but won a lower percentage than in the recent general election.

The far right Sweden Democrats made further gains. Meanwhile the racist Lega party topped the polls in Italy.

But the Freedom Party in Austria was down on 2014’s result and Golden Dawn in Greece saw its vote reduced sharply.

In the Netherlands the far-right Freedom party, led by Geert Wilders, collapsed and didn't win a seat.

The Greens did very well in Germany, coming second with over 20 percent of the vote as the Labour-type SPD plummeted.

And Greens also had succeses in Ireland, Portugal and France.

Much wider awareness of climate chaos and the mobilisations around it played a part in that advance.

Everyone concerned and angry about the rise of racism should be on the demonstrations against Donald Trump in Britain, culminating in the national demonstration in London on Tuesday 4 June.

And there desperately needs to be more struggle as the crisis of British politics grows.

Stand Up To Racism forum, How can we stop Trump and the far right across Europe, Saturday 1 June, 2pm, NEU headquarters, Mabledon Place, London

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