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BRUSSELS — The only results to cheer in the recent European Parliament elections came from Greece, where PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) went up to nine seats, and Ireland, where the financial crisis and public re-evaluation of regulation saw the Irish Labour party win two to three seats. Meanwhile, the sugar daddy of the transnational Libertas Party, Declan Ganley, failed to win a seat.

But before we look at the continental calamities, it is instructive to start in my home country, Britain. The bad news was the twin victories of the BNP (British National Party). Andrew Brons, former activist in the National Socialist Movement and the National Front, edged out Labour’s Richard Corbett of Yorkshire and Humberside, and Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, scraped by with fewer than 1,300 votes in the North West.

UKIP (U.K. Independence Party) was resurrected as a result of the Westminster expenses scandal, although the concerted campaign of “Love Music, Hate Racism” and “Hope not Hate” prevented an anticipated wider breakthrough. In the East Midlands, the BNP would have won a seat in 2004 on their recent vote, but failed this time because the region was down one seat following EU expansion to include Romania and Bulgaria. Still, it is difficult not to be dismayed over England’s electing fascist and extreme-right members of Parliament for the first time.

The Greens, despite pushing their vote share up from 6.2 percent to 8.6 percent, had to settle for two seats. There may be a silver lining: The collapse of Labour’s vote in Brighton, where MEP and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas is the prospective parliamentary candidate, may augur well for Britain’s first Green MP in the next general election.

The Tories and Liberals were essentially flat with the former up 1 percent and the latter down by the same. Labour was the biggest loser, slipping to a 15.8 percent poll share, the worst in a national election since 1910.

There was scant consolation for the left as the combined forces of Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party, Bob Crow’s No2EU and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) performed the same as Respect and the SSP did five years ago.

What was the curse? Voter fatigue with Labour was one factor. As we saw from 1979 to 1994, Labour in successive European elections saw its seat count go from 17 to 32, 45 and 62. Since the introduction of proportional representation in 1999, it has been 29 and 19. This time was only worse.

Even if intervention by RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) gave Richard Corbett’s seat to the fascists, it may be another case of English exceptionalism. There were no comparative expense scandals and midterm blues across the Continent, yet the socialists had similarly disastrous results. Germany’s SPD polled its worst-ever performance with 20.8 percent, and in France the socialist parties’ 14 seats were the worst results since elections to the European Parliament began in 1979.

In Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and Italy’s Partito Democratico were both disappointed, barely gaining a third of the seats. In Hungary the ruling socialists returned with only four of 22 seats, as the country’s own brand of UKIP and BNP — one a nasty xenophobic party and the other a violently anti-Roma and anti-Semitic party — picked up seats. Maybe the voters of Europe have collectively fallen out of favor with social democracy. The 6-percent drop in the vote across Europe (for a decline of 159 seats) from 2004 was not far from that in Britain.

The far-right had mixed fortunes. In Romania, the Greater Romanian Party continued to be represented even if it lost seats. In Austria the two extremist parties split the 18-percent vote between them in the wake of Jorg Haider’s death.

France’s Front National elected Jean-Marie Le Pen himself as well as two putative successors, his daughter Marianne and his deputy, Bruno Gollnisch. This is not a recipe for harmonious relations, nor is it clear whether they have the numbers to form an official “fascist” group.

The main winners were the center-right in Germany, Italy and France, plus the pro-Europeans in Old Europe: the Greens and Liberals in Germany and the Greens in France.

Promised Tory allies in their new, skeptical rightwing groupings in Poland and the Czech Republic did poorly, as Scandinavian voter turnout rose significantly.

The showing by the communist left was disappointing. France’s Trotskyists are back this time in the guise of the new Anti-Capitalist Party, though largely at the expense of the now virtually defunct French Communist Party.

Even the promised surge forward of De Linke — the union of the old East German Communist Party with Oscar La Fontaine’s Left Party — was more of a stumble forward as their new resolutely anti-European stance saw them finish with 7.5 percent, outstripped by the Greens (12.1 percent) and the Liberals (11 percent).

The others who gained across Europe were the flotsam and jetsam of politics, or if one lumps in the likes of UKIP and BNP, the Mad, the Bad and the Sad.

The Pirate Party of Sweden, campaigning against laws that protect intellectual property rights, Hans Peter Martin in Austria with his guerrilla campaign against MEP expenses, and others who gained 17.9 percent of the vote increased the number of incoherent and single-issue MEP seats by three to 90 in a Parliament of 736.

What happens now? Certainly for the last decade at least, there have been a number of coalition options in Parliament. At one time it was Socialist-Christian Democrats, then the Christian Democrat-Liberals, and in the last Parliament, a German-led grand coalition of Christian Democrat- Socialists. They swapped and changed steps to the music of legislation almost monthly, with the center-left leading on social legislation, the center-right on liberalization, and the two large center parties on much of the rest. Now the numbers indicate the only game in town is a grand coalition between Christian Democrats and Socialists.

Martin Schultz, the German Socialist Group MEP leader, is on track to continue to run the group for the next 2 1/2 years before moving over to preside over Parliament in exchange for hand- clapping support of Jose Manuel Barroso’s continuing as European Commission president. Much of the blame for the socialists’ unprecedentedly bad showing in Germany is being laid at the doors of this coalition.

The continued march of Europe may depend on someone’s challenging the cozy arrangement that rewards positions at the expense of coherent progressive European policies and politics.

Glyn Ford, a British Labour Party member in the European Parliament, was defeated in the recent election. He will continue to serve as an MEP until July 14.

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