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Posts tagged with: World Have Your Say

Comment is Free post on True Finns and populist parties

After appearing on BBC World Service World Have Your Say to discuss the True Finns, I’ve now written a piece for Comment is Free about the same issue – you can read it here. The comments thread is full of bile, although there is one issue I would like to draw attention to – the alleged connection I make between UKIP and the BNP.

Note I am not saying that UKIP and BNP are the same thing, or that they are connected. I am saying that they both have some points in common with populist movements in other European countries. In UKIP’s case this is their effort to tap into anti-politics sentiment and discontent with the political mainstream. The case of BNP is different – their anti-immigration sentiment is what they share with populist parties elsewhere.

I’ve also written an additional post here about True Finns and coalition building.

Portugal’s emergency loan – why ‘bailout’ is the wrong word

I was on the BBC World Service programme “World Have Your Say” (programme site, blog) earlier to talk about the implications of the election success of Timo Soini’s True Finns party in yesterday’s parliamentary election. The discussion briefly examined the reasons for the support for this populist party, but the main focus was what the consequences will be for Portugal’s ‘bailout’ from the EU, as all 17 Eurozone members have to agree to assistance for Portugal. The BBC has a Q&A about it here, Gavin Hewitt is talking about political earthquakes here, and YLA has a summary of the main parties’ positions here.

But what is this ‘bailout’ actually?

What – importantly – does the image of ‘bailout’ conjure up in your mind? It’s the picture of water being thrown overboard from a leaking ship and – once the water is out – it’s subsumed into the rest of the ocean, lost.

Hence – in political terms – the very image of ‘bailout’ is wrong. It implies that the money (from the Finns in the case of Soini’s argument) will never be returned. But that is not so, as eloquently argued in this blog post by Henning Meyer at Social Europe Journal. Money is being lent, not given, and is being lent at rates at which lending countries will make a profit.

So this is not a bailout for Portugal. It is an emergency loan. That’s an important difference.

Photo: Amir Jina “Bailing
December 22, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution