HAS the ‘establishment’ had its day as many claim?
In America, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been incredibly successful running against their respective party machines at a time when populism and disillusionment with established ruling elites are at an all-time high.
Even President Obama has admitted foreign leaders are ‘rattled’ by the seemingly unstoppable rise of Trump. In Greece, the far-left Syriza party ended decades of establishment politics in 2015, while here in Spain, the left-wing Podemos party helped end traditional two-party politics, leaving Europe’s fifth-largest economy without a government for six months.
Now not just the left (look at Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to power) but right-wing politicians are hitting out against the establishment because it has so little power left. In the UK we’ve had Farage for some time. Elsewhere in Europe, the rise of nationalist and anti-immigration feeling is gradually changing the political landscape and not only in eastern European states.
The rise of the National Front in France and the anti-immigrant far-right AfD in Germany are causing increasing concern to their governments. And what of the EU itself? According to a recent report, at least half of its £23bn overseas aid budget, to which the UK contributes almost 12 per cent, is lost in corruption, fraud or incompetence.
The EU committee chairwoman described it as “throwing money down the toilet.” This, albeit small, example of the EU’s total lack of control over its finances is one of the factors driving many away from the Brussels project.
The great thing about remaining in the EU for the present UK government is that there’s always someone else to blame for its ineffectiveness. As for the EU, they want the UK to remain as otherwise its financial contributions would have to be found elsewhere.
Finding answers to Europe’s overriding problems (controlling immigration and rising nationalism, fixing the single currency, etc.) needs European-wide cooperation at a time when its governments seem ill-prepared how to respond.
Maybe the underlying problem is not Brexit but EU break-up.
Nora Johnson’s thrillers No Way Back, Landscape of Lies, Retribution, Soul Stealer, and The De Clerambault Code (www.no ra-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/e-book (€0.89; £0.79) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.