To promote a greater sense of Euro-harmony, the European Parliament—actually, make that the European “Parliament”—is organized into ideological blocs, ensuring that French liberals sit with Slovene liberals, and Belgian greens sit with Latvian greens, rather than hunkering down in their ethnic ghettoes. The largest bloc is the “centre-right,” the second-largest are the socialists, and the third is now the “non-inscrits,” the bloc for people who don’t want to belong to blocs. As a result of this month’s election, this Groucho Marxist grouping of “Others” tripled in size to just under a hundred seats. So, if they’re not liberals, socialists, greens, “European democrats” or the “Nordic Green Left,” what the hell are they?
Okay, here goes. The members of the non-bloc bloc include: one member of the “True Finns” party; one member of the Slovak National Party; two members of the British National Party; two members of the Austrian Freedom Party; two members of the Vlaams Belang, the “Flemish Interest” party; two members of the Civic Union, which sounds like a gay marriage in Vermont but is in fact an offshoot of the Latvian nationalist For Fatherland And Freedom Party; three members of France’s National Front; three members of Jobbik, the Hungarian nationalist party; three members of the Greater Romania Party . . .
Well, you get the picture. The European Parliament isn’t exactly working out as Lord Tennyson foresaw:
“. . . the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d / In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
“There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe / And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.”
A Federation of Euro-harmony filled by ultra-nationalist xenophobes is almost too droll a jest. My favourite of these new national parties is Ataka, which is a Bulgarian word meaning—oh, go on, take a wild guess. That’s right: “Attack.” What a splendidly butch name. The Attack party was formed from last year’s merger of the Bulgarian National Patriotic Party, the Union of Patriotic Forces and the National Movement for the Salvation of the Fatherland, and in nothing flat managed to get 13 per cent of the vote.
Like Attack, many of these lively additions to the political scene favour party emblems that slyly evoke swastikas while bending the prongs in different directions just enough to maintain deniability. Other than that, they don’t have a lot in common with their colleagues in the no-bloc bloc. I don’t just mean in the sense that the leader of the Slovak National Party said a couple of years back, “Let’s all get in tanks and go and flatten Budapest,” which presumably is not a policy position the Hungarian nationalists in Jobbik would endorse. But there are broader differences, too. The SNP is antipathetic to homosexuals, whereas Krisztina Morvai, the attractive blonde Jobbik member just elected to the Euro-parliament, is a former winner of the Freddie Mercury Prize for raising AIDS awareness. I can’t be the only political analyst who wishes that, instead of a victory speech last Sunday, Doktor Morvai had stood on the table in black tights and bellowed out, “We Are The Champions.”
Like our chums at Canada’s “human rights” commissions, Doktor Morvai is a “human rights” activist—and, indeed, a former delegate to the UN Women’s Rights Committee. One thing a woman has a right to is an uncircumcised penis. In the course of her successful election campaign, the good doctor told Hungarian Jews to “go back to playing with their tiny little circumcised tails.” I don’t know what Krisztina has against circumcised penises, but it’s probably not her pelvis.
It’s unclear whether any member of the Austrian Freedom Party has won the Freddie Mercury Prize, but its late leader, Jörg Haider, wound up pushing up edelweiss eight months ago when he flipped his Volkswagen limo after leaving a gay bar in Klagenfurt somewhat the worse for wear. “He never helped his family man image by turning up at rallies and local events with an entourage of young blond men,” reported the Daily Mail. “Newspapers in his homeland said they were reluctant to publish ‘full details’ of his homosexuality fearing an outburst of hate toward the gay community would overtake hatred towards foreigners.”
Er, if you say so. So hard to know who to hate first, isn’t it? And you’ve gotta be able to prioritize.
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