08 July 2024

Yeah, About Those European Elections

This does not seem to a lot of enthusiasm

Total Votes

Vote percentages

I'll start with the British elections, because I think that the results are much more straightforward.

Short version: The British electorate hates Labour, but they want the Tories to be beheaded, and to see their heads on the gates of the City of London.

When juxtaposed with the scandals at the Scottish National Party, Labour was able recover seats in Scotland which had been solidly Labour before the rise of the SNP.

In the 650 seat Parliament, Labour added 214 seats for a total of 412 seats, and the Conservatives lost 252 seats, ending up with 121 seats.

In a peculiarity of the electoral system, Nigel Farage's Reform (formerly Brexit) party got the 3rd highest number of votes, 14.3%, but secured only 4 seats. (Thank god for small favors)

It was a low turnout election, with Labor losing votes, most notably in Kier Starmer's safe constituency.

Labour's vote percentage rose by 1.6% to 33.7%. the Tories fell by 19.9% to 23.7%.

That is not a massive mandate for Labour, that's a massive condemnation of the Conservatives.

The parties that did better than they did in the last election were the Reform Party, the Green Party, and slightly) the Lib-Dems.

What is notable is that unaffiliated candidates, "Independents," went from .1% to 2%, and picked up 6 seats, for a total of 6 seats.

I think that this is the largest number of independent MPs in a very long time, and 5 of them were seats gained from Labour.

Given the UK's Parliamentary system Kier Starmer will have enormous power to change things, but to date, I have seen no indication that he actually has any interest in doing so.

If Labor does not address issues with inequality, or the cost of living, or the negative impact of privatization, or the defunding and attempted privatization of the NHS, they will implode the way that the Conservatives did during this election. (My money is on that he won't and Labour will implode)

France is a bit more confusing, and the consequences of the election are far less clear.

In the first round of elections, the right wing nationalist National Rally (RN) got the highest number of votes, 33%, which led to projections that they might get an absolute majority in the French National Assembly.

What's more, French President Macron's  party, Renaissance, came in a distant third behind the NR and the left-wing NFP.

The runoff results showed the forecasters to be wrong.  The RN ended up in 3rd place, though it gained a lot of seats, (from 88 to 143) but the NFP came in 1st, with 182 seats.

The political consequences of this are unclear.  While the NFP has been demonized as the "Far Left" has been demonized, it's agenda, rolling back retirement age hikes, minimum wage hikes, free school lunches, and increased spending on infrastructure, and higher taxes on the rich and multinational corporations, are extremely popular, though they are an anathema to the patrician Emmanuel Macron, who is disdainful of both the rural areas and the poor. 

It should be noted here that the relative underperformance of the RN was largely as a result of the outgoing (he has offered his resignation) French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, working with elements of the left, including the NFP, in order to coordinate who would be running in various districts.  (Anyone with more than 12½% of the vote advances to the 2nd round unless they withdraw)

It are reports that Macron opposed reaching out the the left, and has refused Attal's resignation, indicating he will probably to install one of his peopleas PM, and absent that, keep the lame-duck PM in place.

I think that Macron believes that the extreme right wing is the opposition, and the left is the enemy, and much like Franz von Papen, he will go with the Fascists over the left.

As to where everything goes from here, no clue.


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