It’s the European elections, everybody!
I know, you can hardly contain your excitement. Please, try to simmer down a bit though, for I have sobering news.
At the moment we have a choice. We have a choice between several different groups of parties who offer different things depending on what you’re after. Some offer a good, solid choice and some offer no choice at all. Some offer even less than that.
To start with, we have the big three. The Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem conglomerate who have been around the block and in power between them since Bruce Forsyth was a lad. We know what they stand for (much the same thing on many issues), we know what we’ll get from them and we know what we think of them. They all take an active role in trying to shape EU policy and, by extension, those UK laws the EU has a say over.
Now, many of us are fed up and disillusioned with these behemoths of British politics. They try and fail and try again and fail again on an endless cycle, getting our hopes up, initially fulfilling, then dashing them once more. Most are happy to vote for one of these three and, if you are, then great. Taking a role in our country’s future, even if only by voting, is important and I’d urge everyone to do it. However, if you want to vote, but are fed up with the LibLabCon stranglehold then you still have choices.
In Scotland and Wales we have the nationalist parties, SNP and Plaid Cymru. Both are giving an alternative voice which concentrates particularly on prominence for their nations within a wider Europe. They advocate close working ties with the EU and, again, taking an active role. Both top choices for a vote.
We then have parties who promote themselves as “patriot” parties, such as BNP and Britain First. If racism, hatred, fear, lies, intimidation, ties to violent neo Nazis and all round vile human beings are your cup of tea then these are the guys for you. If this is the case, please take a long hard look at yourself. And I hope you’re otherwise indisposed on polling day and unable to make it out to vote.
We then have UKIP. Nigel “friend of the common man because I’m one of them” Farage and his band of faceless people who never get to take the stage away from big Nige for fear of appearing, you know, insane. Now, I can actually see where they get their votes from. The EU is far from popular in the UK and mass immigration, however overstated the issue has become, is a concern for many. However, as I wrote here, the UKIP way of addressing these issues is by fear rather than proper debate. The other problem I have with them, though, is their attitude to the European Parliament. Their voting record is a disgrace, either not turning up or intentionally voting against proposals as a form of protest. This has led to them voting against attempts to protect workers, women and animals. That’s not democracy, it’s the political equivalent of picking your ball up and going home in a huff. It achieves nothing other than ensuring that this who vote for them have even less of a say in the way Europe us run than they already think they have. Ludicrous. If you want to put in a protest against the EU then wait until the general election, when the real power is decided. Then read the UKIP manifesto. Then wonder why the hell you considered voting for them.
Finally we have the Greens. Parties (different ones for England and Wales, Scotland and NI) who are different to the big three, who offer more than the latent racism of the extremists and the pathetic whinging of UKIP. Parties whose voting record in Europe has helped the environment, workers’ rights, women’s rights, social justice and many other things which affect us all. They sit in the European Parliament with the other Green parties, one of the largest groups there, who recogPpnise that the EU is far from perfect, but are willing to work with it to get things done whilst working for reform at the same time.
That’s where my vote is going and why. I’m not a member, I’m not campaigning and I’m not asking you to do the same. Just asking you to vote, and vote wisely. Look at what’s on offer, listen to what they’re actually saying and how they’re saying it. Vote for hope, for people, for a future. Don’t vote for hatred, fear and exclusionism.
But please, vote. Because if you don’t, there are those more extreme elements who will. And it’ll be all of our fault.
P.S. If the National Health Action Party are standing near you, consider them, too. The NHS is being systematically destroyed and they’re fighting back.