Eva Guțu & Eric Duma, 11A
Since the year 2015 and until 2020, it is no mystery that the European Union has undergone a flow of right-populist parties, thus whether we refer to Poland’s re-elected government or Brexit, we might see the prodigious political history repeating itself in the present day. Consequently, in this article, we discussed the differences between the left and right parties, current right-wing politicians, their policies, and their views on different topics.
Liz Truss - The Chameleon Of British Politics
One recent example of why populist and extremist politicians are not efficacious is the United Kingdom’s new prime minister, Liz Truss. Prime minister Liz Truss is reminiscent of a chameleon, advocating for whatever gets voters at the moment. Young Liz was impervious that the monarchy needed to be abolished and drugs had to be decriminalized. Nowadays, she represents the Euroskeptical far-right side of Britain’s Conservative Party.
Moreover, political analysts consider her policies and government a return to the radical right. Even some of the most conservative members of her party have admonished her for her decisions. Her plan to remove the top tier of the income tax, which taxes the ultra-rich, caused chaos in the market and sent the British pound crashing. Countless people were affected as interest rates shot up immediately after announcing such economic policies. Having a propensity for taking u-turns, she quickly scrapped the idea of tax cuts.
In addition, her past makes it hard for her to represent the people’s needs. The same ultra-rich individuals who would have received tax cuts were also the ones who financially supported her campaign. Concurrently, her previous job at the gas company Shell affects how she is managing the gas crisis and climate change. The prime minister has made her commitment to North Sea drilling unequivocal.
However, this will not alleviate the UK's gas crisis, as the entities who will be doing the drilling are gas companies such as Shell. They have made hundreds of billions of pounds in profit, but the population is still going to have to pay exorbitant prices, on top of the environmental crisis which will occur. Overall, her work so far seems to be lacklustre, which has overall enabled the Labour Party to get more support. However, after only a month and a half, Liz Truss resigned due to her “unpopularity”, resulting in her being the shortest-serving occupant of Downing Street in the last centuries.
Giorgia Meloni – The First Female Leader in Italy
In 2006 Meloni, as a member of the AN (National Alliance) in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, was the youngest vice-president ever, an event which was followed by a plethora of accomplishments, such as being appointed to the Ministry of Youth, being the president and one of the founding members of the “Brothers of Italy” (FDI) political movement, and now the first woman prime minister in Italy’s history. Polls suggested that Meloni was very likely to get elected; however, a few years ago, this would have seemed inconceivable. Moreover, her party has been moving ahead in the polls for quite some time, concluding in winning with 40% of the votes in comparison to just a little over 4% in the election that took place just 4 years ago. Claiming to “govern for everyone” and not betray the people’s trust, many critics are sceptical of Meloni’s claims, especially regarding the LGBT community and immigration. She firmly continues to believe in her statement of putting her country’s interests first. However, she seems to be more focused on the identity of Italy, rather than on its economic side.
Her campaign, having in the middle the aspects of being a woman and mother, alongside de the eminent quote: “I’m a Woman, I’m a Mother, I’m Christian”, seemed to take a turn, when Meloni explains she does not describe herself as a feminist. While she wholeheartedly supports the idea of achieving roles through merit and that leadership has to be owned, others comment that she has no desire to be perceived as a role model, hence she opposes pink quotas.
Giorgia Meloni is infamous for being accused of xenophobia and Islamophobia, in addition to calling for a “zero-tolerance policy” concerning immigrants. Given the situation between Ukraine and Russia, Meloni accedes to welcome refugees from a country at war, but profoundly disagrees with immigrants of other types. Additionally, after reposting a video on a social media platform that shows an Italian woman being raped by a refugee seeker, this side of Giorgia Meloni was debated with much controversy.
Soon after the foundation of FDI, Meloni adopts the fascist symbol of the tricolour flame to the party flag, but her actions were thoroughly debated and disputed. It was meant to depict Mussolini’s remains, hence in his tomb there is always a burning flame. This year’s elections did nothing to change their logo, as the suggestion to remove the flame was denied, or rather ignored by the party’s leaders. Many noticed that FDI is rather questionable regarding their fascist past, hence their opinions change from time to time and are considered tremendously inconclusive.
The Sweden Democrats - A Close Win
After a harrowing knife-edge election in Sweden, a far-right coalition that includes the Sweden Democrats has won with a majority of three seats. The support for the far-right extremists has been insidiously amalgamating over the last few decades. Furthermore, their willingness to take a concrete stance on tumultuous issues such as immigration makes the right-wing coalition so expedient.
Over the years, the Sweden Democrats have gained a large following by linking harrowing mass shootings, crimes, and accidents to immigrants and its ineffective policies. Their existence is closely linked to neo-Nazi groups from the 80s, hence the political stage is attentively waiting for their first policies. It is rumoured that some members of the party even celebrated the penitent Invasion of Poland in WW2. Although the magnitude of the change that will occur is still unknown, members of the coalition are adamant that they will finally ‘make Sweden great again’ and ‘put Sweden first.’
They plan to make knowing Swedish mandatory to become a citizen, whilst not recognizing the intersectionality of considering yourself both Swedish and Muslim. After the election, prime minister Magdalena Andersson admitted defeat and resigned shortly thereafter. The next few years will determine if Sweden will still be regarded as the epitome of equality and acceptance, or drastically change its image.
To conclude with, left-leaning parties and politicians need to step up their game and address the problems that their countries are facing. Its job will only get harder from now. It is conspicuous that treating the far right as pariahs will only exacerbate the rising support of extremist parties. Moreover, whether or not Europe will be sent into more crisis and economic loss will be determined in the near future by these potentates and their policies.