The Headache after those European Elections


This site owes a great debt to Mirek Topolanek, the former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. Last week I wrote a series of pieces on Czech subjects because, well, I just felt like it – and why not?

He is out of office at the moment but his popularity is obviously endless because I just happened to mention a couple of times that he had been photographed naked in the grounds of Silvio Berlusconi’s holiday villa and my readership figures went on a hurtling upward leap.

Suddenly I had a jump in my readership in Prague and Bratislava and the words “naked” and “Topolanek” became the two most popular words sought out by my readers. So, there they are again. I hope you enjoy them and the naked bottoms in the picture above!

The last Czech piece I wrote was about that great Czech composer Antonin Dvorak but, as I didn’t make any reference to his possible nudity when having a bath or when being born, I seemed to attract less interest in Prague or Bratislava. I wondered if “Naked Dvorak” would have attractred more Czechs than “Naked Topolanek.” I tried to find out if he ever composed in the buff. Sadly there were no internet hits for “Naked Dvorak” – well not until now that is.

Mr. Topolanek must be basking in the warmth of his new popularity because it was only a few months ago that he lost office after a no-confidence vote in his national parliament but now, fresh from his success on these pages, his centre-right party also made a killing in the European Parliamentary Elections. Oh for the power of the blog!

We were all getting excited, here in Europe, about the elections for the European Parliament and, last week, my mind just seemed to go Eastern European all of a sudden.

God we were excited! European Parliament, wow! MEPs (Members of the European Parliament), wow! Brussels! wow! I think not. The results are out now and it is like that hangover after a wild and foolish party. Why did I get so drunk? What was all the fuss about? Why didn’t anyone else get drunk? Did I really say those things? Who did I dance with? What was I thinking about? Why do I feel so bad now?

Well excitement was definitely one thing that the European Elections lacked. In Britain you would have been lucky to notice that an election campaign was going on at all. If it was a party, it was like one that you put a lot of effort into and then stood around in your empty room waiting for the doorbell to ring but no one turned up. Well a few sad people always arrive – a few lonely hearts, a couple of drunks and the odd weirdo. Then you wish you hadn’t decided on throwing a party in the first place.

The excitement, for sad people like me, is all in the planning. You think of the guests – they will all be lively and fun; beautiful of course and so out-going that everyone will get on like Guinness and Champagne. I suppose a bit like one of the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi’s famous parties at his Sardinian villa. I am sure very few parties go with Signor Berlusconi’s particular swing though and often the day after is not just hung-over but often confusing and disappointing.

Nerdy election followers have got the real excitement now – all those statitistics of how we Europeans voted last week. The results don’t make for a hang-over cure.

Do you remember the G20 summit? All those World leaders coming together in London to sort out the worst economic crisis in a century. On centre stage was the charismatic, newly elected and inspirational Centre-Left President of the United States, Barack Obama and the dull, lagubrious but intellectually gifted Centre-Left British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. They were surrounded by grumpy Centre-Right European leaders, Nicholas Sarkozy of France, Angela Merkel of Germany and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Also there, in his role as the current President of the European Union, was our old friend but this time fully clothed, Centre-Right Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek.

In the heady world of G20, the future seemed to lie with Obama and Brown. They were the guys with the big idea for sorting the International economic crisis and Sarkozy and Merkel were the kill-joys, the ghosts of the old politics.

Well, just look at them now. Right across Europe the Centre-Right has been the main victor in these latest elections. Most countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Spain, Poland and, yes, the Czech Republic have all voted in right wing majorities and the Centre-Left has been given a battering. The far-right, Neo-Fascists, have even won seats in Britain, Hungary and The Netherlands. Some party!

These were the people who were generally against the Brown-Obama economic solution and, with signs of those green economic shoots in Britain and the United States, it is the other European countries who are now looking much much wobblier in their finances.

History will tell, of course – just like former Prime Minister Tony Blair said of his decision to send troops into Iraq.

Mr. Blair’s successor, the much battered Gordon Brown, is now fighting for his political life and Barack Obama is about to challenge a substantial opposition when he begins this week his big domestic gamble of trying to bring in his promised policy of health insurance for all Americans.

Mr. Brown looks as if he is already finished so any hope for what has begun to look like the politics of the future rests with the potentially great President Obama.

Here in Britain, 43% of the population thought it was worth voting for the new European Parliament – actually a much higher percentage than many suspected. Out of that the main opposition party, the Centre-Right Conservatives, which is really anti-Europe but darned tell us, attracted 27.7% and the right wing party known as the United Kingdom Independence Party, which wants to take Britain out of the EU, came second with 16.5% of the national vote even though it is not really a political party more an single issue opinion group. This was ahead of the ruling Labour Party’s pathetically small 15.7% and the so-called third party, the Liberal-Democrats who only managed to gain 13.7% of the vote.

If you add the United Kingdom Independence Party’s percentage to the other minorities, the Greens (8.6%) the fascist British National Party (6.2%) and the others, then a majority voted against the main three – Conservative, Labour and Liberal-Democrat. A comment no doubt on the expenses scandal that has rocked the Houses of Parliament.

Let me quickly remove the Green party from that foul smelling grouping, and then we can see how Britain appears to wants its problems resolved.

So during this critical time in our history, do 6.2% of the country really believe that Fascism is the answer to our economic difficulties and do 16.5% really think that just leaving the EU will solve it either?

Of course not – it is more a sign that, me included, we just don’t understand economics. It is a toy we are allowed to play with in democratic elections but, as it says on toy boxes, it does have pieces in it that are unsuitable for children under three

So now that the party is over and our heads are beginning to clear, let’s hope that Europe will come to its senses and look Westwards to the only real hope for a humane mixed economy and a way out of this World financial crisis – the bravely pioneering Barack Obama.

Meanwhile the Centre-Right must be partying across Europe. I wonder if Silvio Berlusconi is inviting them all to his villa in Sardinia – it is time that we saw just what a lot of those newly elected MEPs look like without their respectable clothes.

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