Nick Shaxson ■ How Luxembourg Leaks highlight Europe’s broken politics


A fascinating little European story emerged yesterday, which the Guardian covers like this:

“Jean-Claude Juncker’s fitness to head the EU’s executive for the next five years came under lacerating attack in the European parliament on Monday evening, with British, French and Italian far-right and populist leaders denouncing his record in facilitating massive corporate tax avoidance when governing Luxembourg for almost two decades.
. . .
“Mr Juncker, you are the worst image of this Europe. If you had a crumb of dignity you would resign,” said Marco Zanni, an MEP from Beppe Grillo’s Five Star movement, which organised the motion, backed by a tenth of the parliament including Ukip and France’s Front National.”

Now this is all well and good, and we’d agree with their analysis.

But the point we want to make here is this: why is it often the far-right parties that have been the ones banging the drums most loudly on this?

We at TJN are regularly accused by our opponents of being “leftists” – but we’re not: we’re a broad church with supporters all across the political spectrum, and this Guardian report highlights how our concerns about corruption, crime, corrupted markets and so on are shared quite rightly by those on the right as well as those on the left.

We have no particular love for far-right parties but we also have no problem with them getting annoyed about tax avoidance: anybody would and should.

The problem is highlighted in the following paragraphs:

“Despite the damage to Juncker’s credibility the leaders of the biggest caucuses in the parliament, the Christian and social democrats, made plain that they supported him and sought to use the debate to turn their fire on the anti-EU far right.”

What a sorry state of affairs that the centrist parties can’t bring themselves to get on the right side of history. Of course there are all sorts of other political shenanigans going on in there between the parties, but really.

Just have the courage to express your outrage. Please.

Broken politics, indeed. As if European citizens weren’t fed up enough.

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