>SEI on EU
Sussex European Institute’s roundtable on the euro-elections tries to inject some early academic analysis into interpretation of last week’s election. The debate offers more than the sum of its parts. The underlying issue is not who’s up and who’s down, but how and why we should study the elections (the ‘so what’ qiestion): as a failing institutional device for addressing the democratic deficit in a multi-level EU political system?; as a set of case studies about ‘Europe’ in domestic politics; or 27 parallel ‘second order’ national electoral contests in which disenchanted voters give a pointer to the way that party systems are really going at an underlying level (the UK has is an 8 eight party system struggling to break out of a two-and-half party system.
There’s discussion of various factors influencing the results: the impact of economic crisis; national electoral cycles; the willingness of social democratic voters to vote for the radical left; the format of national party systems and so on… I wonder if it might be possible to cluster the 27 cases inro 4-5 configurations rather than picking out patchy trends or making qualified generalisations, or falling back on series of national stories.
Afterwards I duck into theUniversity of Sussex library. A library assistant in an anarcho-syndicalist T-shirt efficiently helps me find the book I’m after.