The British people have spoken. Europe has spoken.
Lets first briefly address the local council results.
The Conservatives lost a substantial number of seats. Hard to say where or to whom although the press will offer many suggestions. Labour made reasonable gains but not overly impressive numbers.
The Liberal Democrats suffered substantial losses.
Then comes UKIP.
They made many gains especially in Tory (Essex) and Labour (South Yorkshire) heartlands . They struggled in London (where it has been suggested the electorate is younger& more intelligent) Which is the greatest multicultural population in the UK.
Yes they did very well. But and this is a big but. They do not control any councils but
merely have significant numbers to mess things up for others. They will not be making local councils work I assure you. They are not that type of party. Their record of achievement in European parliament is atrocious. I will come to that shortly.
Yesterday Europe counted its votes and the far right made significant gains. The French leaped enthusiastically to the far right embracing intolerance and racism with the same verve that UKIP do in this country. UKIP had the largest share of the poor turnout beating the two big parties and gaining the most seats.
The most seats in a parliament they want no part of which represents people UKIP want no political ties with. Strange isn’t it that they are so keen to get elected? However the British people voted for them.
The Liberal Democrats were virtually wiped out beaten into fifth place by the Green Party.
UKIP’s leader Nigel ‘Incubator’ Farage declared this as the most significant electoral breakthrough in a century. Our Nigel is never one to make sweeping statements without any foundation of truth.
The press are sharpening knives and making trouble for the other parties. They are all being encouraged to look at what went wrong and why they failed to see off a rag bag army of xenophobes and bigots largely plucked from the ranks of the geriatric and disaffected. Renegade party outsiders are rattling their sabres and demanding policy as well as personnel changes.
The result however leaves the European Parliament a slightly less governable place. The disruptive, absent or disgruntled will now be more numerous. The result leaves the Conservatives wondering if a shift even further right would win back disaffected voters who sided with UKIP. Labour are wondering if migration control and tightening borders is worth pursuing. Nigel’s bunch have succeeded in exploding the hand grenade right in the centre of the political circle. They have not however caused an earthquake. They just think they have. Ok maybe a mild tremor.
So what does all this mean?
My views for what they are worth are this.
Protest votes are a tradition of this country’s political history. General elections lead the disaffected to vote in more predictable fashions. UKIP will make gains in the next general election but not in the numbers they will claim between now and 2015.
The two main parties will have time to pull apart the extremist and generally loony manifesto pledges sufficiently to properly discredit UKIP and its messianic leader. They will show them for the racist, intolerant, nimbys they are. Led by a privileged wealthy ex city trader. He is not a man of the people but is very good at telling others that he is.
I suppose I am what would be described as a traditional socialist Labour supporter. I believe the world can be a better place if we work together for the benefit of all with the exclusion of none. I am not a communist. More of a idealist I would like to think!
This is not a popular view seemingly in our current political climate. Thatcher did her best to demonise this view. I believe in nationalised transport and utilities working for the benefit of the population not the shareholders.
These principles dragged the post war UK with optimism for a brighter future. Sadly greed and privilege won eventually.
I’m not even sure the party I have voted for since 1983, stands for the values I have always held.
Scotland will have its chance to vote on its status as a nation this September. Mr Salmond will bang his patriotic drum loudly much as Nigel F waves his union flag. They complain about oppression, outside influence and not having sovereign powers. That does not make it true.
The unedifying prospect of living in an Disunited Kingdom standing alone on the margins of Europe is not one I cherish.
Some suggest we form trading alliances with other English speaking nations throughout the globe. Many of these fought long and hard to detach themselves from British domination!
The British right wing will often make the assumption that they corner the market in patriotism. This is of course arrogant in the extreme. The German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Dutch people are fiercely proud of their nations but still manage to see a Europe of partners not opponents. Yes these countries have opposition to the EU but cooperation is seen as a more preferable route to take. Paying for a meal in a taverna in Crete recently in Euros didn’t make the experience any less Cretan.
I wish politicians worked harder at explaining what they believe in; less on what their opponents do; and even less on creating fear in the minds of the ignorant.
They are a bit like modern journalists who spend more time generating stories than reporting on actual news.
As for UKIP. To those who voted for them, you’ve made your point albeit a ridiculous one. How many UKIP voters are really prepared to the privatisation of state education the NHS and a flat rate of tax which would raise the majority’s tax bill for the benefit of privileged few? How many of them think this is the answer to a decent fair country. How many would like discrimination on the grounds of race and sex to return to 1950’s standards? What did you really vote for? You voted for the illusion of change. It is an illusion because this is not a world that could survive in the 21st century. The rest of the world would move on and we would be stuck 50 years behind.
Remember those older people who voted UKIP how amazing free state education was when it was introduced? Remember the a national pride we had for having a health service free at the point of use? The days before then were not bright and rosy. It was hard, stark and a struggle for ordinary folk.
Smoke and Mirrors Mr Farage because you are too young to remember.
A word to the unsure, sceptical amongst you. Go read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tresswell. Written in 1911, the views about wealth, poverty, foreign workers are as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago. Read it and realise you have made the same mistakes those in the book did all those years ago.