Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Euro Elections 2004

Well, tomorrow it is, so I suppose I better work out where precisely I stand on the issues. Firstly, what are the issues? Let's ignore the blatantly national issue (Iraq) that the LibDems and some others are fighting and concentrate on ones that might actually be relevabt to the European Elections.

1. The Euro
Far less relevant than it was due to the fact that we will now get a referendum, and thanks also to Gordon Brown's own antipathy to the project. I'm against the euro, not solely because of the single currency itself but because of all it entails. A quick long at how the UK and the Euroland economies explains why.

2. The Constitution.
A very important issue, somewhat less than it was now that we will get a referendum. I am opposed to the current drafts of the Constitution, and I do not expect whatever happens that the parts I object to will change. I agree that some sort of tidying-up treaty is great, but that is not what the Constitution is (and given the fanfare about it, not really what it was about anyway). There are some nice ideas in it, but it has become a vehicle of lobbyists and bureaucrats.

3. Immigration.
Most parties (indeed, I think all parties) are anti-immigration to greater or lesser degrees. I, however, am pro-immigration, for reasons that I think I might develop in a different post.

4. The Performance of the European Parliament and Commission over the last five years.
In my opinion this is the most important issue, but it's barely on the horizon. This might be in part because the big institutions have made such a mess of things. It is probably unfair to castigate the EU for Parmalat. But why bother, this is an institution that has not been able to properly audit its accounts for 9 years, iirc. Again, subject to my memory something like 90% of the European budget is not properly accounted for. Then there is the Eurostat scandal, and the Parliament's craven response to all of the above. Essentially I'm not impressed.

So basically I draw negatives in all four major issues. Where does that leave me? Myself I am not ideologically opposed to the European Project. I am practically opposed to the European reality. I doubt my objections are ever likely to be met. Probably the Tory Party's stance falls closest to my own, but I think Michael Howard is being entirely dishonest if he thinks he can renegotiate the entire Constitutional Treaty at whim. The UKIP's stance is more hard-line than my own, but I think essentially more honest. It would be a good way to complain about the general state of affairs. Not that I think it would do very much, even if UKIP won every seat in the country.

So for me my vote is hinging on whether I protest vote, or positively vote. I'll probably wait until I am in the vooting booth before I make the final decision.

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