Friday, May 22, 2009
Greece and Britain - The far right waiting to fill the gap
It is interesting how the political situation in Britain and Greece seems to be in synch. In both countries the major parties have been tarred by scandals and public faith in their credibility at an all - time low. Whether it be the MP expenses debacle in the House of Commons or the endless list of bribery and corruption scandals in Athens the picture seems to the same. That power corrupts and that those in charge have grown indifferent to the consequences of their greed seems blatantly obvious to even the casual observer.
Here in Greece asking most people to choose which of the two major parties they want in power is like asking a Pole in 1939 who is going to benefit the country most; Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union? Similarly in Britain the choices are grim and I doubt if many of those who vote in the forthcoming European elections will do so without holding their nose while they cast their ballot.
Unfortunately, this climate of distrust and disillusionment with the present political set up has had unexpected benefits for small far right parties in both Greece and UK. In Greece the LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) party is eagerly awaiting the possibility of sending another representative to Brussels/Strasburg. Already they have 10 MPs in the national assembly and are a regular feature on TV shows, part of their attempt to obtain mainstream respectability.
Likewise the British National Party (BNP) has also given itself a media make over. No more nasty skinheads marching down rainy high streets in Doc Martins, they have been replaced by men in suits with handy sound bites and TV friendly publicity ops. Unlike their Greek counterparts they do not have parliamentary representation, though this has more to do with Britain's first past the post voting system than any lack of support.
Let's not be fooled by the smooth words and newly found moderation in their speech. In both cases these parties represent the worst in political ideologies and given half a chance they will use and abuse any power given them to further a more extremist agenda.