Monday, June 07, 2004

European Elections 2004

I've been meaning to post on this for a while, but haven't gotten around to it.

On Thursday I will be exercising my democratic vote in the European elections. At best only about a quarter of the British electorate will do the same. Across Europe we will be lucky if over half of the electorate votes. That is according to polls anyway, though as my father is fond of saying, the only poll that matters is the one on Polling (Election) Day.

To explain, this election uses a form of Proportional Representation. In other words this is an election designed by semi-corrupt political parties to further their own ends and so that they can ignore the democratic will of the people. Moreover, there are very large regions. I live in the South West Region of England for the purposes of this election. Incidentally the region also includes Gibralter.

Here is a list of my candidates, broken down by the party list. A quick look through the parties.

The British National Party (BNP). Racist hitler wannabes. The price we pay for freedom of Speech. Let's just say that I won't be voting for them, and if one of them does succeed anywhere in the UK I will be very, very angry at my fellow countrymen and women.

The Conservative Party (Tory). Party of Margaret Thatcher, fallen somewhat. Campaiging basically on an anti-Constitution, anti-immigration ticket. Also anti-euro, but that is no more than a latest issue this campaign. I might vote for them.

The Countryside Party Minor party campaigning on rural issues such as affordable housing and farming. Basically they mean well, and might have a very minor impact on the Tory or LibDem vote, but politically are insignificant. I won't be voting for them.

The Green Party Pretty much what you'd expect, except that unlike the vast majority of Green Parties in Europe it is euro-skeptic. Campaigning on an anti-constitution, anti-euro, anti-war ticket, and pro-environment policies. I think most of those so-called green policies will actually be more harmful to the environment in the long run, and display a very skewed view of priorities (sorry, but when it comes to animal testing human health comes first, every time). Because of the anti-war spiel I won't be voting, otherwise I would have considered them for a protest vote on account of their euro-skeptic credentials. NB: They argue against the euro on ecological grounds, according to the flyer through my door. I wonder how that one goes down with their european colleagues.

The Labour Party I have absolutely no idea what Labour is campaigning on because I've recieved no campaign literature through my door and missed all their election broadcasts. I suspect their concentrating their effort in the cities of the region, especially Bristol, Exeter, and Plymouth. Although I am very supportive of Tony Blair I won't be voting for them. If they can't be bothered getting someone to stick a flyer through my letter box they don't get my vote.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LibDems, LD). If this were a 'first-past-the-post' voting system with a proper constituency basis I would most likely be voting for a Liberal Democrat. His name is Graham Watson. He is currently an MEP for the region. Of all the current batch of MEPs he is the only one to have replied courteously to an email I copied into all of them. Courteously, and more importantly, seriously. His party is pro-constitution, pro-euro, and anti-war - basically exactly the opposite of my own views. I would vote for him however because I think he is a good man, and a man is a serious constituent MEP. However, since I am forced to vote for parties and not people, I will not vote for him. This is one reason why I loathe Proportional Representation. It disenfranchises people, and delivers them as helpless victims to the party machine. The Lib Dems also support PR. Well, as I commented below I make no claims about being logical.

The Respect Coaltion. Created by the Saddam-loving, al-Quaeda embracing MP George Galloway. As best as I can determine this party is founded on racist American-phobia springled with Marxist Socialism and general leavening of living in cloud-cuckoo land. So I won't link to them either, and most definitely will not be voting. Should they end up with an MEP from anywhere in the country I'll be angry, although not quite as angry as if the BNP got a seat. They might possibly benefit from a protest vote.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) Anti-European party that wants Britain to withdraw from the EU, though to remain within the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). The big political story here is that several recent polls have shown them doing at least as well as the LibDems, perhaps better. This is probably a reflection of the deep unease many people have with the EU, that has only hardened in recent years (contrary to expectations that after the introduction of the euro on the Continent it would soften). They rather surprisingly won 3 seats in the last election, two of them in the south west. If I decide to protest vote then I will mostly likely vote for them.

So that's the 'scene' for my vote. Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll get around to explaining my own thoughts in more detail - though the brief summary is that it is either Tory or UKIP. I don't yet know which.

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