Wednesday, May 29, 2019

European Parliament shaken up after election results

Europe has been stunned by unexpected election results, with emerging parties surging to victory in Britain, France, Italy and Poland.

Far-right parties topped the votes in Italy, France, Britain and Poland in the highest voter turnout in 20 years, as leaders rode a wave of anger at EU officials over immigration and economic policies.

The European Parliament represents more than 500 million people in 28 countries.

Italy’s Interior Minister and leader of the far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, scored one third of the national vote and hailed the results by saying “a new Europe is born”.

“Not only is the League the first party in Italy, but also Marine Le Pen is the first party in France, Nigel Farage is the first party in the UK,” he told reporters. “The results confirm our expectations, the celebration won’t be long, it’s time for responsibility.”

Poland’s eurosceptic Law and Justice party won 45 per cent of the national vote, while Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally beat President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party by a one point margin, with both scoring 23 seats in the European Parliament.

Ms Le Pen said the result “confirms the new nationalist-globalist division” in France and called for Macron to “dissolve the National Assembly”.

In Germany, far-right party Alternative for Germany emerged as the strongest party in the country’s east, with the Greens winning large support among urban voters.

Overall, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union received the largest share of votes in Germany.

In Britain, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which was launched just six weeks ago, scored 36 per cent of the vote with a hardline message to take Britain out of the EU on October 31.

The Liberal Democrats and Greens also gained as projected, while the results were a disaster for the governing Conservative Party that scored less than 10 per cent of the vote.

Mr Farage said it showed a “massive message” for politicians and said his party was ready to stand for a UK general election.  “We want to be part of the negotiating team. We want to take responsibility for what is happening and we’re ready to do so. I hope the Government is listening.

“We’re not just here to leave the European Union but to try and fundamentally change the shape of British politics, bring it into the 21st century and get a parliament that better reflects the country.”

Conservative leadership hopeful Boris Johnson described the result as a “crushing rebuke” for the Government. “If we go on like this, we will be fired: dismissed from the job of running the country,” he wrote in The Telegraph.

The results have been met with disbelief across Europe. The Sun in England led with the front page headline “Panic at Farage rout: Brexs*it hits fan”.

When the Brexit Party leader — whose party decisively beat both major parties in the UK vote — turned up for an interview on Good Morning Britain, he was asked to look at the results more carefully.

Host Charlotte Hawkins did some hasty maths on the results and used it to claim that parties advocating to remain in the EU actually won the majority — not Mr Farage’s party.

“If you add up all the pro-remain parties they did get a bigger percentage - 35.8 per cent versus the Brexit party 31.6 per cent,” she said. “So the pro-remain parties altogether did get a bigger percentage.”

However, the question clearly annoyed Mr Farage who blew up immediately — saying “I’m sorry this is absolute tosh,” he said. “It is not a fact. [It all depends on how you categorize the parties]


Nigel Farage Could Be Prime Minister Of The UK With The BREXIT Party

Nigel Farage has warned the Brexit Party will ‘stun everybody’ in a general election if Britain fails to leave the European Union on October 31. The former Ukip leader has called his European elections 2019 results ‘one hell of an achievement’ after the Brexit Party secured a plurality with 31.7 per cent of the votes in the UK.

But could Nigel Farage become prime minister? He told Good Morning Britain during his glory rounds this morning: ‘When people woke up on March 30 this year, and realised we hadn’t left the European Union, that’s when in large numbers they became ready to vote for a different party. ‘The Brexit Party is only six weeks old, think about it that context, this one hell of an achievement. ‘I would say this looking ahead, the next date we are supposed to leave on is October 31, and that date will become a bigger and bigger factor in people’s minds as these next five months go by.

‘If we don’t leave on October 31, then the Brexit Party will go on to a general election and stun everybody there too.’ After the 2016 referendum, Farage retired as leader of Ukip with intentions to stand down as a member of the European Parliament.

However, when he realised the UK would be forced to take part in the European Elections he founded the Brexit Party. Farage shocked, then prime minister, David Cameron into calling for a referendum after winning four millions of the votes and securing 24 MEPs for Ukip in the 2014 European elections. This year, with the Brexit Party, he took it one step further and secured 28 seats in Brussels. So yes, if the European elections results are anything to go by, Farage could win a majority if a general election is called later this year and land in the leading seat.

But if this is his plan, Farage still has a long way to go. The current plan is to have fresh Tory leadership by the end of July, where the candidate will automatically become Britain’s next prime minister. Conservatives secured just 9 per cent of the votes and lost 15 seats. Labour has threatened to call for a vote of no-confidence in the next PM, which could result in a general election. Farage’s ‘primary goal’ is for the UK to leave EU, and has warned the ‘ball is in their [the Government’s] court’, to deliver Brexit or face humiliation by his party.

However, he admitted he had ‘absolutely no idea’ what will happen over the next months, but said they were ‘getting ready’ for a general election.


German Jews warned not to wear kippas after rise in anti-Semitism

Skullcaps - or kippas - are traditionally worn by Jewish men

The German government's anti-Semitism commissioner has urged Jews to avoid wearing skullcaps in public.

Felix Klein warned Jews against donning the kippa in parts of the country following a rise in anti-Semitism.

He said his opinion on the matter had "changed compared with what it used to be".

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin said the recommendation amounted to "an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil".

A sharp increase in the number of anti-Semitic offences was recorded by the German government last year.

Official figures showed 1,646 hate crimes against Jews were committed in 2018 - an increase of 10% on the previous year.

Physical attacks against Jews in Germany also rose in the same period, with 62 violent incidents recorded, up from 37 in 2017.

Speaking to the Handelsblatt newspaper, Justice Minister Katarina Barley said the increase in anti-Semitic crimes was "shameful for our country".


It’s the word police who threaten harm

Comment from Australia

Bill Shorten offered a comprehensive social vision and was rejected. This is consistent with a renewed commitment by Australians to freedom of expression and relig­ion. Three-quarters of us strongly support legal protections for freedom of thought, conscience and belief, according to a YouGov/ Galaxy­ opinion poll of 1033 people on behalf of the Institute for Civil Society before the federal­ election. At that time the Israel Folau controversy was runnin­g hot.

Yet if free speech advocates are to prevail, they must answer the most serious case in favour of speech restrictions: that speech can harm. The argument against Folau’s words is that they are detrimental to others’ mental health. In our therapeutic culture this means that words, as well as sticks and stones, can be judged harmful.

John Stuart Mill’s doctrine that government can restrict our actions only “to prevent harm to others” was intended to protect us from ­coercive moralism. Nowadays, the principle is invoked for precisely the opposite reason: to restrict freedom — freedom of speech and religion in particular.

Citing Folau’s social media post, gay former rugby league player Ian Roberts said: “These types of remarks can and do push people over the edge … There are literally kids in the suburbs killing themselves.”

Similarly, Greens leader Richard Di Natale­ condemned the 2017 postal survey on same-sex marriage because­ it could lead “young people (to) take their lives on the back of a hateful and divisive debate in the community”.

But it is not merely with LGBTQ issues that indirect-harm arguments are used to condemn or silence speech. Progressive leftists seized on the Christchurch massacre of 51 Muslims to launch an all-out attack on conservative critics of Islamic immigration and multiculturalism. TV presenter Waleed Aly said he wasn’t surprised by the March 15 massacre, given the anti-Islamic sentiments of the media and politicians. Former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs called for a new “hate speech” law in response to former senator Fraser Anning’s comments blaming Muslims themselves for the mass shooting.

Di Natale went further and called for new “laws that regulate our media”. Speaking of “people like” Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, and Chris Kenny, Di Natale said “if they want to use hate speech to divide the community then they’re going to be held to account for that hate speech”.

To be blunt, suicide, social division­ and terrorism are being weaponised to silence conservative speech. There are three serious problems with the justifi­ca­tions offered for the restrictive speech laws so beloved by many progressives.

First, the causes of social traged­ies such as gay suicide and anti-Muslim terrorism are com­plex­ and diffuse, making it impossible to determine the exten­t to which speech is responsible. Surely drug addiction, relationship break­down, isolation and mental health issues play significant roles.

Second, banning speech that allegedly feeds into a dangerous atmosphere seriously under­estim­ates how much speech would be silenced. As well as the Kennys and Bolts, shouldn’t we ban leftist critics of Israel and US foreign policy, whose ideas resonate with the justifica­tions of many anti-Israel terror attacks? Why stop there — what about climate change? Greens MP Adam Bandt has declared we need to announce a state of climate emergency in Australia. If anything justifies the banning of speech, it’s the possibility that the world could end if we listen to climate change deniers. What about sexism that feeds into systemic inequality and even domestic violence? Let’s ban everything that perpetuates sexist stereotypes: Disney cartoons, Barbie­ dolls, the Koran, the Bible, sexist jokes and hip-hop music.

Third, criticism of Islamic immigr­ation or policies on gender and sexuality is political speech, and what speech is more valuable to a democracy? No doubt such debate sometimes degenerates into abuse, but even then regulation must be relucta­nt lest it morphs into the wholesale suppression of controversial speech.

The attitude of Di Natale and Triggs, among others, shows how real this danger is. Folau’s criticism of homosex­ual­ity is religious expression, and freedom of religion is foundational to any liberal democracy. Get rid of it and you are left with a kind of progressive atheocracy.

Conservatives and liberals need to learn how to respond to “harm arguments” against basic freedoms because these are rhetor­ically powerful and will become only more frequent. It is necessary to point out that such arguments render valuable speech open to censorship.

A potential, indirect link betwee­n contentious speech and actual harm is not enough to justify incursions into freedom of expression. The public policy emph­as­is must be on a realistic approach to social problems, focusin­g on evidence of the many contributing factors, while keeping in mind the importance of our liberal democratic freedoms.

Of course there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech any more than there is absolute freedom of association (I cannot join the mafia) or freedom of movement (I cannot just move into my neighbour’s house). Yet all too often calls to regulate speech look like opportunistic attacks on conservatism and religion, or exasperated attempts to create the appear­ance of control over intract­able social problems.

Enemies of free speech and religiou­s freedom have been maddene­d by the Coalition’s May 18 victory. But they have not been beaten. Defenders of fundamental freedoms need to arm themselves with good arguments for, as progressives have just learned, empty slogans are never enough.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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