I had quite a stimulating day some weeks ago with one of my utmost dear & closest friends – Diana Wallis. You may know Ms. Wallis as former Vice President of the European Parliament. Her work was remarkable on issues like the Transparency Register or the Europeans Citizens Initiative over almost 13 years in Brussels. Diana’s remarkable political experience, combine with my years as political Adviser, was the trigger for a long conversation about the European political status quo.
We engage by analyzing the late local Council elections results of UK’s political party UKIP and how these results damaged David Cameron’s Tories at the core. The same results highlighted an even deeper fading Liberal Democrat Party. How to explain the success of UKIP’s? This is a right wing party promoting a swift exit from the European Union and with severe and radical visions on immigration (just to mention some few ideas). In times of weak Governments and social crisis, the rise of political parties with a nationalist and xenophobic speech in order to promote job “vacancies” and terminate unemployment for their nationals by laying-off all immigrants, is a classic case.
If we transpose the British situation onto the European stage where such social turmoil and social depression are painful result of the crisis felt and lived within every house all over EU Member States, the raise of dozens of new civic platforms and new political parties may be considered a normal consequence. But today’s world is different. We can reach thousands in seconds broadcasting new ideas & solutions; some valid for many as absurd for so many others. Nevertheless, the ideas are out there and able to be read and analysed by millions. This is a fact.
The majority of these new civic and political movements fade within months. It is difficult to organize a power & solid base to support in an enduring way such endeavors. Nonetheless, for the first time some are managing to keep breathing and in some cases to grow their basis. This unusual reality is the result at the core, in my opinion, of a new generation of citizens. A highly prepared and educated new generation. I am not referring about groups of discontent people that flee towards the roads to simply protest. I’m referring to a new generation of citizen’s solid equipped and owning a set of principles well organized to apply through sharp and simple strategies.
Probably will take a decade or even longer, but undoubtedly something is happening along Europe. Strange enough, we Europeans celebrated the Arab spring movement, but here within the old Europe, the majority of Governments over the last decades (even if in an alternating manner) have been led by the same political parties and by the prime leader’s descendants. Can we consider that we lack democracy in Europe? Definitely not. But, our democratic habitat is old and no longer fully equipped and flexible to face the new reality quests. If this may be the reality within many domestic politics across Europe, can you image how far the European Institutions are? Light years away! I leave this late issue for another day.
Talking about the rise of new political parties with Diana Wallis was great fun and engaging. Two different visions on the outcome but we fully agreed that something is changing within our electorates. Populist political parties are always the first ones to bite the bone, but something is happening at the core of our societies within the younger generations. Something will happen on the long run and I am excited and positive about it.
I hope to be able to see the rise of a new political mindset in Europe.
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