Been away in Prague for a week, of which more later, but have woken up this morning to some really scary and appalling news from all over Europe - not least in this corner of it. The EU, which was, in large part, formed to prevent the rise of fascism again in the continent, seems now to be a venue for the resurrection of that disgusting ideology.
I'm sure there is much wringing of hands all over the Net regarding the two MEPs that have been elected from the extremist BNP in the UK. And so there should be. Also, regarding the rise of the extreme right in Holland, Italy, Austria, Finland, etc etc. (All over Europe in fact).
Here in Romania, the extremists (PRM) won 2 seats with 7% of the vote, which is pretty shit, and especially when you see that the two people they'll send are life-long tosser, anti-semite and Ceausescu's poet, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, and in second place egomaniac nut job with a Jesus complex and owner of Steaua Bucharest, Gigi Becali. The latter of those two is more of a joke figure than anything to be really scared of, but it remains to be seen how actually being elected to something will go to his head. It's certainly difficult to see him enjoying his time in the European parliament - after all you don't get on TV very much and you have to spend time with a bunch of foreigners. I anticipate he will set new records for non-attendance.
But it's in neighbouring Hungary where things like the success of the BNP and PRM really pale into semi-insiginficance. Hungary in which the right wing "populist" (populist being a codeword euphemism for racist) Fidesz party got a massive 56% of the vote. (Fidesz being a party which desperately reaches out for the votes of the far-right, pandering to the anti-semitic, anti-Rroma views of the extremists and not distancing itself from any of these, cutting deals with various neo-nazi parties down the years). Now, the government in Hungary is massively unpopular, and it may well be that a large proportion of those 56% come from people who are voting for Fidesz just because they are the only real opposition, so let's not jump to too many mad conclusions from that performance.
But we can and should draw a lot of conclusions from the rise and rise of the nazi Jobbik party who picked up an absolitely terrifying 15% of the vote. 15%. A party who are allied with what can only be described as a fascist vigilante movement called the Magyar Garda, a bunch of black booted thugs with fascist emblems and a suspicious salute whose self-proclaimed role is to protect people from "gypsy crime". A party whose members make statements implying that sterilising Rroma woman would be a way to control the population. A party who play up anti-semitism (Hungary, by the way, seems to be the only country in Europe where anti-semtism still seems to be an acceptable, almost mainstream, viewpoint). Indeed one of its new MEPs, Krisztina Morvai, who seems to have been on a campaign to charm and convince journalists in the Western European press that she and her party are not a bunch of disgusting extremist scumbags, only last week made some incredible anti-semitic comments on an internet forum.
Really. These people are utter scum.
Is Europe fucked? Is facsism really back? Is this the beginning of the new 1930s? We've got the economic depression, we've got the rise of nationalisms, we've got the apparently electable extreme right neo-nazi parties. It scares the living shit out of me, to be honest. I mean I don't think that the European parliament will be the venue for this new fascist rise (the PRM is going to have a hard time dealing with Jobbik, for example, as the PRM hates Hungarians. Likewise the Italian Northern League is hardly going to get into bed with the PRM since half their current rhetoric is anti-Romanian), but in general there really feels like there is a tide of really disgusting views sweep[ing over Europe.