Except For Swedish Pirates, Old Europe Gains At The Polls

Center-right parties have won a majority of seats in Europe's Parliamentary elections, the results of which were released today. If you thought the financial crisis had given capitalism a bad name, election results show E.U. politicians have done their part as well.

In Spain, the standing socialist government lost seats to its conservative opposition and acknowledged "the warning" sent to them by voters concerned about the economy. At 18.1 percent, Spain has the highest unemployment rate in Europe.

Though the next presidential election in Spain is three years away, La Vanguardia reports that Rafael Rajoy, the leader of the conservative party and a presidential hopeful, is calling for a vote of no confidence against President José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The Right made its mark in other national contests as well.

Britain's Conservative party outperformed Labour making it even more difficult for the embattled Gordon Brown to reassure supporters he can survive the calls for his resignation. Labour took third in the E.U. election behind Ukip whose platform calls for the U.K.'s withdrawal from the E.U.

Since the rejection of the E.U. Constitution four years ago, Europe has been searching for a way forward. The elections, however, show that the popular attitude toward the E.U. is more skeptical than ever with only a 43 percent turnout, the lowest in the history of the Parliament.

In an interview for Le Monde Denish MacShane, Minister of European Affairs under Tony Blair, said that we are witnessing a "renationalisation of Europe."

"Europeans are afraid, afraid for their work, their salary, their standard of living, the future for their children. In this anxious atmosphere, the electorate was put on the defensive."

Still, center-right parties did not gain all the new ground.

Green parties won more seats than expected in what is seen as one of the E.U.'s primary responsibilities: environmental policy. Global warming is the most daunting political and moral challenge today and the one policy issue that most clearly extends beyond national boundaries.

If liberals are looking for solace in Europe's right-hand turn toward nationalism, they can congratulate Sweden's Pirate Party which will fight for shorter copyright terms and non-commercial file sharing between individuals.

Winning 7.1 percent of Sweden's electorate, they now occupy their first seat in Brussels.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less