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European Trumps

by Bernard Sat Feb 24th, 2018 at 06:05:50 PM EST

Frank has posted a diary on the triumph of Trumpism across the Atlantic. But Trump and his tactics have inspired a number of politicians, or even entire parties, in Europe as well.

Since DJT's election, many European politicians have been nicknamed "the <insert country name> Trump". One such example is Laurent Wauquiez, aka "the French Trump", who has succeeded Nicolas Sarkozy at the helm of the LR (Les Républicains) mainstream right wing party in the wake of humiliating defeats for Sarkozy (in the primary) and Fillon (in the general election). Wauquiez's "strategy" is one that others have tried before him: emulating the Front National's themes, especially the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, while keeping a plutocrat-friendly "pro-business" agenda, despite some vague (pre-election, obviously) protectionist noises.

A mainstream French politician deploys the rhetoric of the far right on two fronts - WaPo

Of late, Wauquiez -- who has also expressed his admiration for President Trump -- has toed a similar line, going so far as to call for "internment camps" for all people on terrorism-related watch lists, most of whom may not have been charged with a crime.

There are also similarities on economic issues. In language that evokes Le Pen's regular attacks on Macron, Wauquiez has called the investment banker turned head of state "the president of the golden boys of globalization." And in a major departure from his party's traditional pro-business line, he advocates a form of protectionism designed for "the voiceless and the middle classes."

The overlap has not gone unnoticed. Last week, Wauquiez was questioned on a popular French television program about whether his words and ideas actually situate him on the far right. He scoffed, insisting he would cede no territory to the National Front: "Do you expect that, just to please you, I will lead a political right that doesn't talk about immigration?"

Wauquiez's embrace of identity politics hardly sets him apart from other mainstream conservatives across Europe, who have also veered sharply to the right in their efforts to beat back surging populist challengers. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and British Prime Minister Theresa May have all made overtures to right-wing hard-liners as they seek to shore up their power.

Frankreichs neuer Trump - FAZ

Frankreich sei ,,eine totale Diktatur", die Abgeordneten der Präsidentenbewegung ,,La République en marche" (LREM) nur ,,Kasperlefiguren" des Präsidenten. So zumindest stellt es der Vorsitzende der konservativen Oppositionspartei ,,Les Républicains" (LR), Laurent Wauquiez, in neuen Tonmitschnitten aus einem Vortrag vor Studenten in Lyon dar. Die Fernsehsendung ,,Quotidien" strahlte am Montagabend das neue Audiodokument aus. Wauquiez beklagt darin, dass es in Frankreich keine Gewaltenteilung gebe. Die Abgeordneten der Präsidentenbewegung seien dem Präsidenten komplett hörig. ,,Wenn sie die kleinste Form von Dissonanz wagen, dann wird ihnen mit dem Schlagstock draufgehauen", sagte der Parteichef. Der Skandal um die Äußerungen des Oppositionschefs weitet sich damit aus. Denn er griff auch ganz gezielt die wenigen noch bei LR verbliebenen Parteigrößen Alain Juppé und Valérie Pécresse an. Der abtrünnige Regionalratsvorsitzende Nordfrankreichs, Xavier Bertrand, verglich Wauquiez mit dem amerikanischen Präsidenten Donald Trump. Der Verlust der intellektuellen Redlichkeit in der Parteiführung sei genau der Grund, warum er sich von seiner Partei abgewendet habe, sagte Bertrand.

Such a tilt to the extreme right can also be observed in Austria, Bayern (with the CSU getting increasingly cozy with Orbàn's Fidesz in Hungary) or Poland's "Law and Order".

Wauquiez's discourse could be backfiring: historically, the mainstream right echoing the Front National discourse has only helped reinforcing the latter, by making the FN's xenophobia mainstream and thus giving it full legitimacy. And why vote for the copy if you can vote for the original?

This is one example in one European country: feel free to add your own in the comments.

This is happening in Italy too with Salvini, unabashed supporter of Trump.
The collapse of the PD centre left and the bipartisan collusion to exclude the 5*Movement through another (probably unconstitutional like the last two were deemed by the Supreme Court, post facto) new electoral law that practically guarantees ungovernability have spurred the fortunes of centre and hard right.
Italy's answer to Trump, Le Pen, and other right-drifting parties in Europe is a mishmash of Berlusconi redux and Salvini, with another couple of lightweight parties for Ballast.
3 years ago the right were in ruins here, Renzi ran the show and the 5* mounted the most serious of parliamentary oppositions.
Now the MV5* are polling top, but refuse to sully their name allying with other parties, so will very possibly be outnumbered by coalitions not too proud to betray their respective electorates and form temporary alliances with their ostensible, fake enemy opposites just to grab seats in both houses.
We may have to undergo another technical government if no party has enough seats to legislate effectively, and the role of premier will probably remain with Gentiloni, a genteel, anodyne politician with old school ideas about running the place (into the ground), while they quarrelsomely negotiate another electoral law with a more rational outcome.
This was supposed to be the prime and sole objective of the last Renzi government, but they put it off till the last two weeks before the election after endless wrangling, pushed it through into law by ministerial decree, (both ploys widely -and rightly-
 seen as underhanded by the public), suffering a sense of deja vu as they see the grotesque reapparition of Berlusconi, re-conjured into power -as in all these examples- by a spineless, milquetoast left steeped in corruption and compromise, and a mass media united in hating on the 5*MV.
Hollande, Clinton, Miliband all fit that bill too.
There may be a grand coalition but it will be really every party for itself as soon as they're voted into office.
The only miracle to be hoped for is that the MV5* snag 40% of the electorate, which would be astonishing even if they weren't such a young, inexperienced party, unheard of.
They are polling at a pretty solid 30%, ahead of any other single party with the PD decimated by Renzi's betrayal of the old or aging lefty workers whose work has left them to relocate to cheaper labour zones, partly thanks to Renzi's hare-brained economic policies.
It has taken them years, but the media's help in brainwashing the public into abject terror of the 'popolisti' MV5* has revived the old Alligator into his usual patter about flat taxes, a cheque in every mailbox, and how brilliant he was until evil Europe conspired to send him packing as a continental embarrassment. (A coup d'état, according to him).
Between him and Salvini they have a lot in common with Trump's descent to power. Berlusconi has immense wealth garnered with very shady support and Salvini blows his racist dogwhistle with alacrity, so together they form a franken-compendium of Trump, with similar levels of  charm.

Like the latter, they both lie like rugs.

Right even of Salvini live Casa Pound and Forza Nuova, Italy's answer to Greece's Golden Dawn and Le Pen senior, unreconstructed, unapologetic fascists. They are still not numerous to be truly dangerous, but their open violence and Duce-worship has the unfortunate side effect of making Salvini seem tame.

Fun times...


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 25th, 2018 at 12:37:19 AM EST
17 Oligarchs Who Are Shaping Eastern Europe
Bojan Petan SLOVENIA

Bojan Petan's financial holding DZS is a safe haven for former spies [...] Petan's real influence is so high that even the Central Bank of Slovenia helped him during negotiations with private banks about the repayment of his debts. Criminal cases against Petan for abuse of trust and office with dozens of millions euros of illicit gains in Slovenia and for organized crime and money laundering in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still pending, but his real influence seems to be untouched.

That region of meager resources is showing the future?
by das monde on Sun Feb 25th, 2018 at 10:05:51 AM EST
Ireland's experience with colonialism and other oppressive forms of authority is so recent and so painful that it is difficult to find any political figures of any standing with a style or policy substance similar to Donald Trump. Some Trump supporters did turn up at the recent Irexit conference hosted by Nigel Farage but they are pretty thin on the ground in my experience. But I'm sure authoritarian white male supremacists are to be found in many walks of life, chiefly those who resent feminism, liberalism, cultural diversity and "socialism" as they see it.

The nearest analogy I can find is some über Catholic moral campaigners who are seeking to retain the ban on abortion in the Irish Constitution. They will get substantial public support because abortion is such an emotive topic for many people who don't necessarily understand the political agendas of those promoting the ban. The issue is tailor made for their agenda of returning to a more traditionalist, "Catholic", male, authoritarian and nationalist society all the while appearing to promote a more sensitive, "motherly", caring image for the "unborn".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 27th, 2018 at 10:26:59 AM EST
In this day of Italian general elections, it is the right time to mention the Italian Trump's precursor: Berlusconesque himself. You can even take a quiz:

Trump or Berlusconi? Who Said It? - Bloomberg

There are plenty of parallels between Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump: both are tycoons-turned-politicians who espouse lower taxes, less government regulation, and tighter controls on immigration; both have frequently boasted about their multiple romantic partners; and both evince a high regard for themselves and Vladimir Putin. Turns out, they also say lots of things that are strikingly similar.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Mar 4th, 2018 at 11:43:43 AM EST
And once you've done it, try Blair vs. Haider.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Mar 4th, 2018 at 01:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A special mention to Robert Fico, the Slovakian PM who not so long ago called journalists 'dirty prostitutes' and, at the time of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder in Malta, was boasting that "In Slovakia, journalists aren't blown up," while being scrutinized for shady real estate deals in his entourage.

Blood on Their Hands? - FP

Contrary to Fico's claims, Slovakia is not an island of freedom -- and never has been.

This mountainous country of 5.4 million inhabitants doesn't make the headlines as often as its troublemaking neighbors, Hungary and Poland, whose euroskeptic, illiberal turns have set off alarms across Europe. Slovakia is one of the few post-communist eurozone members, and it hasn't attracted international public attention "because the government didn't undermine the independence of the judiciary or the media in as spectacular a way as Hungarians or Poles" said Juraj Marusiak, a political scientist at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. But when one looks beneath the surface -- and Kuciak was one of the few who had the courage to do so -- one finds a state controlled by a small group of well-placed, wealthy insiders. Slovakia has long been on the spotlight of anti-corruption watchdogs. In the 2017 edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index, the country ranks sixth from the bottom among EU members. And a 2016-2017 World Economic Forum report listed corruption as the most significant barrier to doing business in Slovakia.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Mar 4th, 2018 at 12:16:54 PM EST

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