This is Part 2 of an 8-part series of short articles by EWI's Head of Global Research, Murray Gunn. Murray is based in London, where he documents European hot-button issues in great detail. Murray also views the world and forms his conclusions from a social-mood perspective. It's an eye-witness series you don't want to miss.
by Murray Gunn
Updated: April 17, 2019
Far-right populists are aiming to storm the European Parliament.
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, politician, writer and philosopher during the Renaissance. He has often been called the father of modern political science, and the term "Machiavellian" is widely used to identify unscrupulous political behavior of the sort Machiavelli prescribed... err, described in his most famous work, The Prince (1513).
In simplest terms, "Machiavellian" means, "by ANY means possible." Ethics and morals are of secondary concern.
The former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, is known for his strong, not always mainstream views. For the past couple of years, Mr. Bannon has been ensconced in Europe in a not-so surreptitious attempt to unite far-right populists across the continent in order to gain seats at the upcoming European Parliament elections, due to be held on May 23-26.
Mr. Bannon's Brussels-based organization is called The Movement. It offers polling, advice on messaging, and data targeting to a network of right-wing parties across Europe. Bannon has said that The Movement's aim is to offer a right-wing alternative to the Open Society Foundation of George Soros, which supports liberal causes.
Mr. Bannon is on record as calling Soros "evil," and he has been working closely with such populist right-wingers as Nigel Farage in the U.K., Marine Le Pen in France and Viktor Orbán in Hungary. According to The Guardian newspaper, in 2016 Mr. Bannon advised Matteo Salvini, now Italy's interior minister, to attack the Pope over the Vatican's immigration stance. Salvini appears to be The Movement's darling, announcing this month his ambition of bringing far-right parties from across Europe into an alliance.
Rather than aiming for their respective countries to exit the European Union (something most would want), these euro-skeptic groups are seeking to play the E.U. at its own game -- gaining seats in the Parliament and disrupting the European project from within.
The question, of course, is will The Movement be successful in helping bring more nationalists into the European legislator. The latest data from pollofpolls.eu shows that populist parties have not gained any ground on traditional groups since the start of the year. For socionomists, that is not surprising, given the rally in equity markets (positive sentiment) since last December.
However, with the social mood trend in Europe having been negative for the past 19 years, as evidenced by the lackluster performance of the pan-European index EuroStoxx 50, the groundswell of support for anti-E.U., nationalistic and populist parties remains a force to be reckoned with.
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