What did we really expect? The steady increase of EU powers has been consistently inversely proportionate to this institution’s legitimacy. When was the last time in European history that we saw an institution’s increasing influence over our lives being matched by our increasing apathy towards its functioning? Today’s election results were simply a correction of a growing schism between the EU and reality.
In the UK such a political anomaly was accompanied by another; the first national electoral victory for a party other than Labour or the Conservatives. Unfortunately, the insurgency was spearheaded by a decidedly right wing party, a trend emulated across much of Europe. The worst part, it’s not closet racists and looneys who are voting for these parties but many normal working people. The years of branding anything anti-immigration as racist, any eurosceptic as a little-Englander, have really come back to bite the political establishment in the ass. Especially so on the left who really through their lot in with a no borders melting pot vision of the world that the EU offered. In reality however, this world is restricted to a small, young and privileged minority. The few with little attachments, some financial security and language skills are free to flounce around Europe to their hearts desire. Meanwhile, those less mobile suffer from increased competition over limited resources, those from southern and eastern Europe forced to emigrate make do with precarious jobs abroad while their governments rely on their departure as a solution to their failing economy.
But immigration is good for the economy isn’t it? Yes, overall, but good for who is another question and often it’s the rich who skim off the cream. But with no real left wing party to point this out, we end up blaming the immigrants themselves. Likewise, despite a plethora of points from which they could take their pick, no one on the left seems to dare criticize Europe, either from fear of being associated with racists or an ongoing attachment to some long lost ideals.
It’s not just the eurocrats in Brussels who have been living in a bubble, but the left all over Europe. In dreaming up a new border-less community of different peoples coming together, we’ve abandoned our own to the fate of the free market. It’s time to get back to reality.