A poll card comes through the door, along with a smattering of xenophobic rants from UKIP. It seems there is a european election coming up. My region (the South East) elects 10 MEPs, using the D'Hondt method of proportional representation. But who to vote for? Well, the BBC has this rather useless list. The European Parliament information office has this slightly better one [PDF] (but that took me much longer to find). Anyway, all these resources have to be even-handed between the fifteen (!!) parties, so here's my personal run-down. In the D'Hondt system I only get to cast one vote (unlike in STV systems I can't put any sort of ranking on the ballot paper). But here's my list in order of preference:
- Green Party: Sound. Anti-austerity, anti-carbon, anti-privatisation, pro-social justice, pro-progressive taxation, pro-NHS. Maybe completely unelectable in the current climate, even in the regional PR system.
- Loonies (left). Ranked ahead of Labour, on the basis of
having their hearts in the right place and not including any war
criminals or Thatcherites.
- The Peace Party: Hippies. Non-violent, green, socially and economically left. Unelectable of course, and a bit loony, but at least their appeal isn't entirely based on xenophobia and hatred. Obviously much better than, say, the Tories.
- Socialist Party of Great Britain: More than a hundred years old, Marxist, anti-Leninist, anti-war, and hopelessly exclusive. You have to pass an exam in order to join. Sigh.
- Loonies (unclassifiable). Still ahead of Labour. It's good
to see diversity and alternative thinking about politics.
- The Roman Party: This is one French bus-driver, Jean-Louis Pascual, who lives in Reading. He doesn't seem to have any policies. Good for him.
- YOURvoice: Appears to be a couple from Petersfield and their friend from Weston-super-Mare. Differently crazy, they are trying to do a web-based direct democracy thing: issues get posted, debated, and voted on their website and then their elected representative(s) act accordingly. Or, you know, would, if they had any.
- Labour Party:Back in the day I would have campaigned for a dog wearing the red rosette. Then they turned into Thatcherites and I cut up my membership card. Then they took us into an illegal war and I stopped voting for them. Not many war criminals in their top ranks any more, and in a first-past-the-post election I might hold my nose. Perhaps.
- Liberal Democrats: Oh dear, oh dear. Obviously I can't vote for anybody in bed with the Tories. Or for anybody so hopeless at national politics. Before the 2010 election they had some sound policies and seemed to be serious about social justice and environmental issues. Now Nick Clegg looks like a victim of domestic abuse. At least they're pro-EU.
- Conservative: "No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now. Do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. He is a very good salesman. If you are selling shoddy stuff you have to be a good salesman. But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were. " - Nye Bevan, 1948. Nothing has changed since then. Nothing can ever induce me to vote Tory.
- Loonies (xenophobes, racists). Lower than Tories? Is it possible? Yes, it is.
- Christian Peoples Alliance:Loony, pro-life, anti-gay, anti-EU, Christianists. But distinctly left of centre on economic matters and strong on social justice, which does put them ahead of the other xenophobic parties.
- English Democrats: Loony English federalist nationalists: English Parliament, compulsory English flag-flying, etc. Anti-EU, "ending mass immigration", Closet racists, without a doubt, but at least English nationalism is interesting, in a "what would the world be like if we had a federal England" way. So not all the way down in the gutter.
- The Harmony Party:No website. Appears to be two blokes from Hastings. "Zero immigration, anti-EU, pro-jobs."
- Liberty GB:Loony xenophobes. "Mass immigration", "fundamentalist Islam", yadda yadda. Anti-EU, anti-ECHR. Their website actually works, which is a worrying sign.
- An Independence From Europe: UKIP splinter, formed after Mike Nattrass was deselected and then suddenly noticed that Farage is, erm, autocratic.
- UKIP: Properly dangerous, because electable. I should be glad that they are stealing mainly Tory votes, but in fact I am deeply worried about the way they have shifted the Overton window so far to the right.
- British National Party:Racist thugs. It's rather surprising to me that these scumbags still exist. I won't even link to them.