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June 8th, 2009, 07:26
The results are in. What d'you think? Here are my first impressions:

* Turnout was low, 43.5% in the EU overall.
* Conservatives won, mainstream leftists lost.
* Fringe parties from the populist Right won in many countries. They're still a fringe, but they're now a bigger fringe.

In Finland, turnout was even lower than the EU average (40.5%). All the big parties lost; the Greens won fairly big, and the populist right won big (largely due to one very popular candidate).

I don't much like the parliamentarians we're sending in this term; out of 13 seats, one goes to a populist Rightist, one to a Christian Democrat running on social conservatism, and one to a Religious Right type politician of the "Israel can do no wrong" persuasion. The others are mostly sensible enough, although of course there are several with whom I disagree pretty strongly about a number of important things.

Damn turnout. Democracy in the EU will never work if people can't be bothered to vote.
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June 8th, 2009, 08:55
Yeah. Examinations (or what to call it) in Sweden showed that a lot of pepole didn't even know when the election was.

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June 8th, 2009, 09:14
We voted though.

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June 8th, 2009, 09:27
Looks like swedish pirateparty got two seats:
With 99.9% of the districts counted the Pirates have 7.1 percent of the votes, beating several established parties. This means that the Pirate Party will get at least one, but most likely two of the 18 (+2) available seats Sweden has at the European Parliament.

http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-party…iament-090607/

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June 8th, 2009, 09:42
Their main focus is on personal integrity though.

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June 8th, 2009, 09:46
I don't much care for single-issue parties. I hope they'll find ways to push their agenda in cooperation with others; else they'll just end up shouting from the sidelines. Copyright law needs fixing, but I'm not entirely convinced that Piratpartiet is the one to fix it.
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June 8th, 2009, 09:47
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Damn turnout. Democracy in the EU will never work if people can't be bothered to vote.
No one's going to bother until the parlament actually has some meaningful powers - at the moment it really doesn't matter who you send.
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June 8th, 2009, 09:55
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
No one's going to bother until the parlament actually has some meaningful powers - at the moment it really doesn't matter who you send.
Huh? About 70-80% of national legislation is drafted in Brussels these days, and (almost) all that goes through the EP. How much more meaningful do you want it to get?
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June 8th, 2009, 10:22
The greens did well throughout Europe, I think that can count as moderate left.

Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
Looks like swedish pirateparty got two seats:
More likely one seat as things stand. They will get one more if the Lisbon treaty is implemented.

For Sweden the good news are that the turnout went up, the far right party (which still did surprisingly well, noone expected them to be able to mobilize voters like they did) didnt get any seat, and the commies lost badly. The seat distribution is as follow, the second number is the change compared to last election.

V (ex-commie lefties) 1 -1
S (social democrat) 5
Mp (greens) 2 +1
Fp (liberals in the European rather than the American sense) 3 +1
C (farmers, increasingly market liberal party) 1
KD (Christian democrats, conservatives) 1
M (Conservatives, very harmless though) 4
PP (Pirate party) 1 +1
JL (June list, euroskeptic) 0 -3

(The numbers dont add up because Sweden lost one seat as the number of seats in the parliament was reduced).

Crappy results for the social democrats and the conservatives (both parties routinely get about 10% higher support in national polls), good for greens and liberals (whose voters are easy to mobilise). This is a pretty standard pattern for EU elections as turnout is low and voters dare to be more flighty when no government power is at stake.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Huh? About 70-80% of national legislation is drafted in Brussels these days, and (almost) all that goes through the EP. How much more meaningful do you want it to get?
Yes, but it has a huge marketing problem. The EP works through negotiation and compromise, so the ideological dimension is not obvious and that doesnt fire up voters. Add that there is no government power at stake and we get this crappy low turnout.

I think one way of fixing it would be to formally allow parliament to pick the head of the EU commission (in practice there is a very strong pressure that he should match the "colour" of the EP already). That would at least fuel some good old right-left rivalry
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June 8th, 2009, 10:50
Neither M or KD are near the type of "conservatives" you find in Great Britain and in the US. They are social liberals and extremely progressive compared to the rest of Europe. The only conservative party in Sweden is SD, Swedish Democrats, the nationalist party, and compared to the population in general (who due to Swedish culture reject that kind of conservatism) they end up with a label of being extreme radicals.

In fact, most who have the "conservative" state of mind in Sweden, vote for the Social Democrats. They are the ones that stand for the old "Swedish values", stability, structure etc. It's just that old-time values in Sweden is different than those of other countries.

The moderates used to be labeled "conservative", but in their time in government they have acted in a way that is near indistinguishible to the the Social Democrats. They are very similar being both Social Liberals, differenting only on their ideas regarding labor and economy.

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June 8th, 2009, 11:00
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Neither M or KD are near the type of "conservatives" you find in Great Britain and in the US. They are social liberals and extremely progressive compared to the rest of Europe. The only conservative party in Sweden is SD, Swedish Democrats, the nationalist party, and compared to the population in general (who due to Swedish culture reject that kind of conservatism) they end up with a label of being extreme radicals.
Politics is more multi-dimensional than that. I think it is ridiculous to pain KD as having the same social positions as a socialist party. There are pretty clear differences when it comes to issues like gay rights and adoption to name just two. M also has plenty of core voters who are that kind of moral conservatives (and pro-military, nightwatchmanstatists) even if the party leadership doesnt exactly embrace that wing.

And while their is a very clear shift between the center between the US and communosocialist Scandinavia our non-socialist alliance parties embrace a fiscal discipline and attitude towards corporate bailouts that would wet many self-proclaimed US fiscal conservatives' mouths.

In fact, most who have the "conservative" state of mind in Sweden, vote for the Social Democrats. They are the ones that stand for the old "Swedish values", stability, structure etc. It's just that old-time values in Sweden is different than those of other countries.
This is true.

The moderates used to be labeled "conservative", but in their time in government they have acted in a way that is near indistinguishible to the the Social Democrats. They are very similar being both Social Liberals, differenting only on their ideas regarding labor and economy.
Actually they changed their position on labour regulation to be able to win an election. The smaller alliance parties are more right-wing than the conservatives on that issue now.
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June 8th, 2009, 11:17
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Politics is more multi-dimensional than that. I think it is ridiculous to pain KD as having the same social positions as a socialist party.
Uhm. "Socialism" and "social liberalism" are two different ideologies. The only party in Sweden that still realy bothers about socialism is V. Of course, Sweden have a major problem that the majority of the Swedes aren't aware of what socialism is and wants. Many confuse socialism with community, equality, justice and welfare.

Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
There are pretty clear differences when it comes to issues like gay rights and adoption to name just two. M also has plenty of core voters who are that kind of moral conservatives (and pro-military, nightwatchmanstatists) even if the party leadership doesnt exactly embrace that wing.
On moderates I was commenting on the party, not the voters. KD is the most value conservative party out there, but all I said was that they aren't as extreme as conservationists are around Europe, and one of their core ideologies are social liberalism.

Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
And while their is a very clear shift between the center between the US and communosocialist Scandinavia our non-socialist alliance parties embrace a fiscal discipline and attitude towards corporate bailouts that would wet many self-proclaimed US fiscal conservatives' mouths.
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Actually they changed their position on labour regulation to be able to win an election. The smaller alliance parties are more right-wing than the conservatives on that issue now.
True about the labor regulation, but what to do with the economy is still the leading question that differentiates the M and SD as parties, they aren't that different when it comes to social or moral questions. The moral right-wing party only consists of KD and SD where KD is more moderate than SD.

SD say they stand for Swedish Values, but they borrow their agenda heavily from foreign conservative/nationalist movements.

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June 8th, 2009, 11:56
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Yes, but it has a huge marketing problem. The EP works through negotiation and compromise, so the ideological dimension is not obvious and that doesnt fire up voters. Add that there is no government power at stake and we get this crappy low turnout.

I think one way of fixing it would be to formally allow parliament to pick the head of the EU commission (in practice there is a very strong pressure that he should match the "colour" of the EP already). That would at least fuel some good old right-left rivalry
Another problem is that the EU structures are so damn obscure. The Commission has the sole right to initiate legislation, but the Parliament can request that the Commission do so; there are at least three different paths to get the legislation accepted; the Council supposedly wields supreme power but only meets every two years or so; the Commissioners are appointed by each member state but supposedly don't represent that state, and so on and so forth. And, of course, any attempt to reform the system gets blocked because there will always be at least one country out of 27 that's against it. It's a muddle.
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June 8th, 2009, 12:41
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Uhm. "Socialism" and "social liberalism" are two different ideologies. The only party in Sweden that still realy bothers about socialism is V. Of course, Sweden have a major problem that the majority of the Swedes aren't aware of what socialism is and wants. Many confuse socialism with community, equality, justice and welfare.
I am well aware of the distinction. KD is not social liberal either. Their ideal society contains housewives and lack abortions and gays. Their practical short-term goal is more moderate but that is because they are working from a status quo that is very far from their ideal.

On moderates I was commenting on the party, not the voters. KD is the most value conservative party out there, but all I said was that they aren't as extreme as conservationists are around Europe, and one of their core ideologies are social liberalism.
Well I think you have to take into account where parties want to take society as well as the status quo they are starting from. KD does have some thing in common with social liberals in that they want a particular kind of nanny state, but this does not make them social liberals.

True about the labor regulation, but what to do with the economy is still the leading question that differentiates the M and SD as parties, they aren't that different when it comes to social or moral questions. The moral right-wing party only consists of KD and SD where KD is more moderate than SD.
SD is a borderline reactionary vulgo-conservative outlier.

M is probably the least ideological party (S comes in a close second) today, as they want to be electable. There are still considerable ideological differences. Take the following questions:

Should the state own companies?
Should the school voucher system include privately owned schools?
Is it acceptable to privatise healthcare?
How much pressure should we put on unemployed to get off the dole?
How easy should it be fore the state to block private businesses?

And you get very clear differences between the left and the right today, with the greens as a wildcard hanging in between… That there mostly is a permissive consensus on social issues doesnt change that. Besides that there is a difference even on social issues. When it comes to the old homophobe Åke Green (charged with hate speech against homosexuals) this can be summed up as:

Left: His speech is hateful and he should be punished
Right: His speech is hateful and stupid but we shouldnt punish speech.
KD: He is right

At any rate I think you are mistaken to assume that the US right is a homogenous Limbaughish block. I think moderate republicans like Rithrandil (hawk on defense, strong advocate of secular schools and a fan of academica) could fit in the liberal FP. Heck, even dte could probably find a 60-65% match among one of the seven established parties

SD say they stand for Swedish Values, but they borrow their agenda heavily from foreign conservative/nationalist movements.
Stupidity is universal, so I wouldnt blame that on foreign influence… Their core issue is that everything is the faults of immigrants and then they have complemented that with nostalgia of the fifties, reactionary social policy, and general populist contempt of the political system. Sadly there is a bit of a vacuum when it comes to social conservatism even though maybe 20% of the voters could be interested in such policy. KD is originally the party of the pentecostal movement and turn off some people.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Another problem is that the EU structures are so damn obscure. The Commission has the sole right to initiate legislation, but the Parliament can request that the Commission do so; there are at least three different paths to get the legislation accepted; the Council supposedly wields supreme power but only meets every two years or so; the Commissioners are appointed by each member state but supposedly don't represent that state, and so on and so forth. And, of course, any attempt to reform the system gets blocked because there will always be at least one country out of 27 that's against it. It's a muddle.
Yes. And even if a country doesnt stand to lose from reform it might hold the reforms ransom to gain some short-term concession in some other area, or to play a populist card in a national election.

We really need a well-defined federal framework (ideally with an elected commission and a proper bicameral system where the council and the national governments acts as a senate, but that wont happen as the governments dont want to give up power). That is why I am in favour of the Lisbon treaty, it's far from ideal but it's at least a step towards a proper constitution.
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June 8th, 2009, 12:52
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
We really need a well-defined federal framework (ideally with an elected commission and a proper bicameral system where the council and the national governments acts as a senate, but that wont happen as the governments dont want to give up power). That is why I am in favour of the Lisbon treaty, it's far from ideal but it's at least a step towards a proper constitution.
Yeah. My take on Lisbon is a bit like Krugman's on TARP — "Blech. Yuk. Retch. Pass it."
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June 8th, 2009, 13:21
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Yeah. My take on Lisbon is a bit like Krugman's on TARP — "Blech. Yuk. Retch. Pass it."
Something like that
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June 8th, 2009, 13:27
This is all extremely fascinating but I have no earthly idea what you all are talking about. My poli sci department didn't have a class on EU governance until after I left for DC :C
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June 8th, 2009, 13:38
Originally Posted by Rithrandil View Post
This is all extremely fascinating but I have no earthly idea what you all are talking about. My poli sci department didn't have a class on EU governance until after I left for DC :C
Elections for the EU parliament were held during last week and concluded last night.

The EU isnt all that straightforward in it's political structue, but it works something like this (with very rough US analogies):

The parliament (house of reps): Directly elected parliament with proportional representation. Votes to pass, reject or modify legislation.
The council (senate): Consists of ministers from the national government. This is arguably the most powerful body and the place where most backroom dealing goes on.
The commission (executive): Commissioners are appointed by the governments (about one per member country) and approved by the parliament. The commission initiates legislation and is a largely technocratic body with strong influence.
The EU court: Determines whether national legislation is in conflict with EU law.

There are a bunch of conflicts in the structure. The most democratic body is the parliament, but since people dont feel "European" but rather German, Swedish, Bulgarian or whatnot they either dont care or dont want this body to have too much power. The council represents national interests the most but isnt all that transparent. And the commission isnt really liked by anyone
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June 8th, 2009, 13:42
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Elections for the EU parliament were held during last week and concluded last night.

The EU isnt all that straightforward in it's political structue, but it works something like this (with very rough US analogies):

The parliament (house of reps): Directly elected parliament with proportional representation. Votes to pass, reject or modify legislation.
The council (senate): Consists of ministers from the national government. This is arguably the most powerful body and the place where most backroom dealing goes on.
The commission (executive): Commissioners are appointed by the governments (about one per member country) and approved by the parliament. The commission initiates legislation and is a largely technocratic body with strong influence.
The EU court: Determines whether national legislation is in conflict with EU law.

There are a bunch of conflicts in the structure. The most democratic body is the parliament, but since people dont feel "European" but rather German, Swedish, Bulgarian or whatnot they either dont care or dont want this body to have too much power. The council represents national interests the most but isnt all that transparent. And the commission isnt really liked by anyone
Thanks. Makes sense. So it's basically somewhat similar to the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation?
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June 8th, 2009, 13:52
Originally Posted by Rithrandil View Post
Thanks. Makes sense. So it's basically somewhat similar to the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation?
I'll let PJ answer that, but I suspect the answer is "not all that much" Your conflict between state and national interest is similar to the growing pains of the EU though.
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