Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In my opinion, the examples of France, Italy and Austria, and to a lesser extent other western European countries, point to the scary fact that about 15% of the European public is at the authoritarian/xenophobic end of the spectrum.

The CDU/CSU in Germany and the PP in Spain have successfully unified the right so that they contain the extreme right ("contain" both in the sense of having them within and of keeping them under control). In fact, the only way these parties remain competitive in the face of a sociological "left" majority is that they have unified the right while the left remains fragmented.

Sometimes authoritarian/xenophobic tendencies express themselves at the "left" side of the spectrum. For instance, the Spanish Basque country is the only region of Spain without skin heads, but that is because the violent youth culture which one would usually associate with the extreme right expresses itself through the ETA-inspired (hence "socialist" or "left") "Kale Borroka" (Basque for "street violence"). In fact, ETA sympathisers make up anywhere between 10% and 15% of the vote (again the magical figure of 15%).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 09:44:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series