euro election: good news, bad news and beyond

So elections to the European Parliament take place tomorrow in the UK.

We can be reasonably confident that Liberal Democrats will do very badly, possibly losing all their current MEPs. Hardly a surprise really given their recent track record in the coalition. Indeed, I can’t be the only person who finds it difficult to tell Tory and Lib Dem apart.

So what of Labour and Tory? I’m not really sure as the polls have been inconsistent. Labour should come out the better, but I can’t help feeling that they haven’t grabbed the public’s interest. Sure they are saying all the right things about falling living standards etc., but what really are they offering? As for the Tories… They always seem to survive, and will no doubt spin the outcome to claim it a victory, whatever happens.

The good news is that the Green Party looks set to do well, possibly even trebling its number of MEPs. And this is despite having very little media exposure. Indeed, almost everything I’ve seen about the Greens has been on social media and blogs. They offer a refreshing alternative to the Labour Party, and with proportional representation, every Green vote, including mine, will count.

Sadly it is the far right who look set to benefit most from this election. As much as it pains me to say so, UKIP will surely make advances. They have openly stood on an anti-immigrant and anti-Europe ticket, and in spite of regular revelations about the bigoted beliefs of individual candidates, their bandwagon has rolled on. They can thank the media for a big helping hand, not least the BBC who have given Farage more platforms than Clapham Junction. Then there is Ofcom for forcing ITV and Channel 5 to treat them as a major party, despite having no MPs.

I can only assume that the growth in support for UKIP is down to the failure of mainstream parties to appear relevant in recent year. This I believe, is in part a symptom  of our tired Westminster system of first past the post elections, an over-powerful executive, and heavy-handed party whips who stamp out any dissent. But it is also I suggest because successive governments have, despite their claims, done little to empower and improve the opportunities of the many. The risk if parliament isn’t reformed, and if the mainstream parties fail to make a difference, is that nationalistic fervour will spread further. Then before we know it, fascism has taken a grip on us all, and democracy becomes a thing of the past.

 

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