Briefly (since the long post I just spent a couple of hours writing just went phut), Britain…
- Big win for UKIP (is this sounding familiar?), the “let’s have a beer and a laugh” party… Big everywhere (even in Scotland where the SNP’s sustained attack only seems to have increased their populist appeal). Two notable exceptions were London, where a large immigrant population and sheer busyness seems to have dampened their appeal and the South West where they were blocked by Labour and the Greens.
- Lots of problems for the Lib Dems. As the most public advocates for the European status quo (and the governmental mudguard for the Tories in coalition), they were always in for a kicking this time. But it would be easy to exaggerate that as some kind of binary argument between themselves and UKIP.
- Tory splits become more transparent. Cameron’s dependency on Eurosceptics to gain the leadership puts him in an uncomfortable place. Last night Tory EuroSceptic MEP Dan Hannan was advocating a coupon deal with UKIP to facilitate their ingress into the House of Commons in order to stymie Labour and add momentum to his out campaign. #notgoingtohappen
- Labour generally isn’t trusted by those few who turnout for Euro elections. That’s largely because it is a subject it thought it had buried forty years in its own 1975 referendum on EEC membership. Consequently it has not had a lot to say about the matter. It’s limited success yesterday arose from Tory and Lib Dem distress. And this is only going to get messier.
Despite the press focus on the rise of the Front National and other parties of the populist right and left, the Italian PM Matteo Renzi has just scored a massive 41.6% in Italy over Beppe Grillo’s populist Five Star on 21% with former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi on 16.6%.
Which suggests that more populism may not be the most useful answer to populism.