Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So what about the European elections?

Every year part of local government in the UK is up for election, and this year it also coincides with the election of representatives to the European Parliament.

The local election for me is simple, I have to choose one candidate between Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Labour is contemptible, the Greens are unimaginable, the Liberal Democrats are liberal with my money, so Conservative is the best of a bad lot.

The European elections are a bit different. It uses proportional representation with party lists, and the UK is split into 12 constituencies. The PR method of allocating seats is the d'Hondt method, which in explained here. In effect there isn't a threshold, rather each constituency has a number of seats to be won, so seats are allocated proportionately.

At the moment, the parties representing the UK in the European Parliament are:
Conservative 27
Labour 19
Liberal Democrats 12
UK Independence Party 12
Scottish National Party 2
Green Party (England/Wales) 2
Plaid Cymru 1
Ulster Unionists 1
Democratic Unionists 1
Sinn Fein 1

So while there have been 78 MEPs, no party has anything close to a majority.

MEPs form "blocs" of common political interest.

The biggest bloc is the "European People's Party - European Democrats" grouping, which is conservative centre-right. In the UK, this includes the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists. It is fair to say the bloc is split between pro-European Christian Democrats and the Euro-sceptic European Democrats, the Tories are in the latter, so this is hardly a unified bloc.

The second biggest bloc is the "Party of European Socialists" which forms the leftwing bloc. In the UK, the Labour Party is a member.

The third bloc is the "European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party" which forms a liberal bloc, sitting between the first two. It is made up of a diverse lot as well, with the ACT like Free Democrats of Germany, and the pro private enterprise small government People's Party for Freedom and Democracy of the Netherlands on the one hand, whilst in the UK it is the "left of Labour" Liberal Democrats who represent it, and in France the centrist (do nothing) UDF.

The fourth bloc is the "European Greens- European Free Alliance" part of which is self explanatory with green parties, but it also strangely includes "stateless nations", in other words leftwing nationalism. The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru are both in this group (as are Basque separatists from Spain).

The fifth bloc is the "European United Left - Nordic Green Left" bloc, essentially communist and hard left parties. It includes The Left (successor to the Socialist Unity Party which was the communist party of East Germany), French Communist Party and in the UK, Sinn Fein represents it.

The sixth bloc is the "Independent/Democracy" group basically Eurosceptic parties. UKIP sits comfortably here.

The seventh bloc is the "Union for Europe of the Nations" which is another conservative bloc, more socially conservative. No UK parties in the European Parliament belong to it.

So from that I have a choice of 14 parties and one independent. So who are they then?

Animals Count: Basically campaigning on animal welfare as a single issue, includes granting animals the legal status as sentient beings. A nice message of kindness to animals, which means putting them ahead of human welfare. So that's a no then. No chance of success.

BNP: Yes, the racist party when you're not having a racist party. It wont let British citizens born in Britain, who aren't white, to be members. On top of its opposition to immigration, and promotion of encouraging non-white citizens and residents to leave, it has a highly socialist agenda of nationalised industries, education and healthcare, as well as national military service. There is a message of opposing appeasement of Islamists, but this is a bunch of white trash poorly educated malcontents who are personal failures that project their poor self esteem into hatred of foreigner. Ugh. However there is a reasonable chance of success this time.

Christian Party/Christian People's Alliance: A clearly Christian conservative agenda, which seems to combine transparency with radical environmentalism, banning abortion, voluntary euthanasia and apparently promoting a quasi theocratic view of the EU. Um, no. Again no chance of success.

Conservative: Well you know them, demanding a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, and wanting less EU influence over member states. However, is this really about significant change? Conservatives are likely to do very well though.

English Democrats: Believe in England having its own Parliament, and withdrawal from the EU (but membership of EFTA), free vote on social issues, opposition to mass immigration. BNP without racism and without the socialist agenda. The nationalism puts me off, but it has little chance of success.

Greens: UK branch of big government intervention in the economy, statist health and education, more welfare, more tax, legalising cannabis (and eventually all drugs) and scepticism of action against Islamism. Likely to do well as Labour supporters direct protest votes to them, and spreads the usual phobias around electricity, recycling, transport and trade.

Jury Team: Party based purely on selecting politicians by public referendum, interested in representation by people not parties. So why support it? Who knows, and that is likely to be reflected in the result.

Labour: The status quo. Not worth saying anymore about that. Labour is likely to be slaughtered this European election, I expect it could well slip to fourth behind the Lib Dems and UKIP.

Liberal Democrats: Embrace Europe, embrace pan-European laws and programmes. Talk of civil liberties, whilst also embracing the environmentalist agenda and welfarism. Likely to be where many unhappy Labour voters place their tick. Will seek to come second, but faces a tough battle with UKIP.

: A cleverly branded socialist opposition to EU membership, because it sees it as a bastion of capitalism and free trade, which is opposes. Think BNP without the racism again. It is opposed to privatisation, open borders, the Euro for the UK. One of the members is the Community Party of Britain, which blames the tyranny in the Soviet Union on "encirclement by imperialism" Enough said, apologists for murderers. No chance.

Pro-democracy: This one intrigues me, it appears to be for cutting the size of the EU, a higher level of democratic accountability for the EU and is a pan-European party with branches in all EU countries. It is endorsed by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, which is fairly positive for me. It believes in an EU that only deals with matters that need to be agreed between states. Sadly I think its chances are slim, and its emptiness of philosophy (mostly it is about more democracy and less EU) is disappointing. If I don't vote Libertas, it will almost certainly be my second choice.

Socialist Labour Party
: Arthur Scargill's vile party of moaning lazy socialists. A party once dominated by proud Stalinists, until Scargill expelled them because he wanted full control, but he halved his party as a result. Scargill is a denier of Stalin's mass murders and regarded unions as needing to be run as dictatorships that would tolerate no dissent. He believed the 9/11 attacks were undertaken by the Bush Administration itself. This vile little man wont get anywhere in the European elections, thankfully. Although the youth section looks like a party club, science club or somewhere to perv at girls' legs.

UK First Party
: The party with the least information, and the least chance. Anti immigration, less tax, less welfare, withdrawal from the EU in favour of EFTA, removal of "hate crime" legislation. BNP lite with some liberalism? No chance.

UKIP: Withdrawal from the EU basically IS the policy, and I was going to vote UKIP, because it is the most principled stance to take. Britain should be in a free trade agreement, but not subject to the leftwing agenda that permeates Brussels (tempered only by some promotion of competition within the EU). UKIP supports fundamental reform of the gravy train of the European Parliament. However, the UKIP ads didn't inspire. One ad said "the EU prohibits the British government from providing financial support to the Post Office to keep post offices open, and forces it to open it to competition". My response was "good". Another ad talked of how the money paid to the EU (£40 million a day) could go into hospitals, schools and abolishing university fees - not tax cuts. It ignored how part of that did come back to the UK in agricultural subsidies. So screw that, UKIP can go to hell. I want my taxes back, I don't want to protect the poorly performing Royal Mail or subsidise feather bedded university students.

So is it Libertas or the Conservatives? Is it a statement of principle that wont get elected, or the least worst option that will be elected? I have a couple of days to decide.


KG said...

BNP: "It wont let British citizens born in Britain, who aren't white, to be members."
A Lie.
You've bought the bullshit big time, haven't you?
Nowhere on their application for membership form does it mention colour, race, ethnicity or anything else other than name and address.
I assume you believe they employ teams of clairvoyants to weed out the darkies, eh?
Personally, I probably wouldn't vote BNP, but the kind of lies and disinformation campaigns being run about the party speak volumes about those who oppose it.
If you're going to lie, then for chrissakes be a little more creative, eh?

Libertyscott said...

Um, so why have in the two times Nick Griffin has been asked about this on national TV (Sky News yesterday being the latest), he did not deny this is party policy, and he said it was "so we represent "our people" since every other group has its own group".

It's not a fucking lie, but if you want to be an apologist for a bunch of knuckle dragging loser white men who cloak their bigotry in the shrouds of "nationalism" then good for you. I guess Nick Griffin's past Holocaust denial comments mean nothing either.

Yes it confronts race and religion based preferences, and then wants its own - a Britain run by the prejudices and stupidity of the backwards underclass of proletarian losers. The very people that shouldn't wonder why their jobs are going.

DocRichard said...

OpenEurope has published an important league table of MEP performance here:

MEPs have been ranked using two main categories:
‘Transparency, openness and democracy’ and ‘Fighting waste and misuse of EU funds’.

I have gone through the data for UK Greens, Con, Lab, LibDem and UKIP and summated their scores, then divided by the number of MPEs. The lower the score the better.

Here are the results :

Greens - 51

LibDem - 116

Conservatives 152

Labour 205

Ukip 343

This survey is vitally important for the electorate. People are understandably angry with the three Westminster parties, and at the moment, due to deficient information, UKIP is the main beneficiary of the disaffection, polling 10-16% at the moment. This research shows that voting UKIP in protest at MP expenses scandals is to jump from the Westminster frying pan into the Brussels fire.

Foxie said...

This is a fantastic post. Well-written and informative. Thank you for it.

I hope you don't mind, but I linked to it from my own blog (