Thursday, January 11, 2007

meanwhile, in oppositeland


Everybody is probably writing about the President's big speech tonight, probably the most horrible of a career short on verbal brilliance. Rather than talking about this old strategy, how about something new in the political world: a transnational caucus. Due to the development of a transnational parliament in the European Union, political parties in different nations have formed an alliance. Of course, the views of this group are as far into the right as possible: anti-immigrant, anti-EU constitution, and barring the door against Turkey joining the club. Prior attempts at forming a far-right bloc in the European Parliament were stymied by restrictions requiring a minimum number of members representing more than 20% of all member states. The group chartered on January 9th of 2007, calls itself Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty (ITS) and was made possible largely due to the admission on the 1st of this year of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU. ITS is comprised largely of the Holocaust deniers of France's National Front, but also members of Austria's Freedom Party, Belgium's Vlaams Belang (who are barred from the Belgian government by agreement of all the other parties), Bulgaria's National Union Attack (who even sound like they should be a skinhead band), Italy's Alternativa Sociale(specifically Il Duce's granddaughter Alessandra Mussolini), and Romania's anti-Roma Greater Romania Party. the threat of a Muslim Turkey joining the EU got the previously fractious nationalists to put aside their personal animosities to better bash gays and immigrants. By making a formal transnational caucus they get funding by the EU so that they can carry out the business of obstructing any attempts at a European Constitution. Its like some bizarro version of the GOP. Other, more inspiring coalitions of MEPs hopefully will be seen.

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