the Disillusioned kid
| Email | Home | Linkage | Profile |

Monday, June 14, 2004

In case anyone's sufficiently boring to be interested the results of Thursday's European Parliament elections are available. The good news is that the BNP failed to win any seats. Additionally George Galloway's Respect Coalition, about which I was more than a little dubious given Galloway's history, the central role of the SWP and the focus on communalist politics, failed to make good on its rhetoric and secure a place in Strasbourg. The Green Party won two seats, less than they had hoped, but hardly a humiliation. While the parties positioning themselves on the "left" achieved only limited gains, the UK Independence Party now have 12 representatives in the European Parliament, which is unfortunate given their reactionary ideology which positions them somewhere to the right of the Tories.

Labour were routed, leading many commentators to conclude that the elections constituted a protest against the war, but my feeling is that while this is probably an oversimplification. The two parties who remained consistently anti-war, the Greens and Respect achieved only limited successes and it is difficult to see what a vote for UKIP (the party of Robert Kilroy-Silk fired from the BBC after anti-Arab remarks).

Of course, other factors could have served to reduce the impact of the anti-war parties. It is possible that the emergence of Respect took votes away from the Greens, however given the coalition's very limited vote, this is not clear. Additionally the Lib-Dems may have picked up some of the anti-war vote as hypocritical as their supposed opposition to the war was and remains. Dr Spencer Fitz-Gibbon the Green Party's media chief remarked, "Over-simplistic reporting of the LibDems' highly equivocal stance over the war has misled millions of people in Britain into thinking the LibDems are an anti-war party."
Charles Kennedy has been saying the LibDems 'strenuously opposed the war', but I don't recall him saying he 'strenuously opposed' it at the time. I recall him saying, and I quote directly: 'We are not the all-out anti-war party.' I recall him mumbling about the case for war 'not having been proven yet' and 'asking Tony Blair some tough questions' and saying he would find it 'difficult to support the war' but I don't remember a single instance of the LibDems saying 'we are opposed to this war for the following reasons' as the Green Party did.

And in the end, of course, the LibDems abandoned all their conditions and all their talk of the case not having been proven, and supported the government's policy on the pretext of 'supporting the troops.' It beats me how you can be opposed to a war yet pledge your 'genuine support' to the means of its execution. I think most people would agree with the Greens that the best way to support the troops would have been not to risk their lives in an illegal war. But because journalists never challenged the LibDems on their somewhat spotted 'anti-war' record, they've probably gained hundreds of thousands of votes, including thousands in London, under false pretences. This is probably the major factor in their having gained a seat.
A complete analysis of the local and Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections which took place on the same day would probably be needed to draw any serious conclusions about the influence of the war on people's voting patterns.

As a caveat to the above I should probably mention that I didn't vote. In part because of the effort needed to get and complete a postal ballot, but primarily because I consider the whole thing a bit pointless. I am something of a EU-sceptic. While I'm all for greater integration with our continental brothers and sisters I do not believe that the top-down, bureaucratic approach embodied by the EU is the way to go about it. Additionally the system is very undemocratic. While the most important body in the EU is the Council of Ministers, made up of ministers with portfolios relevant to the area under discussion from the various member states (ie agriculture ministers in a discussion about the Common Agricultural Policy), day to day decision making lies with the unelected commission. The Parliament has only very limited powers. Of course, there are real questions about the efficacy of voting even at the best of times, but that's a story for another post...

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Side Projects

Carnival of Anarchy
The Peace Pipe
UK Watch Blog


Against the Current
Culture hits and gendered bits
Daniel Randall
In The Water
Mike Wood
On The Barricades
Pizarro's Sword
Space Cat Rocket Ship
Surveillant Assemblage
TashCamUK FotoPage
The Naked Lunch
The Peace Pipe
The World of the Dynamite Lady


Anarchoblogs Blog
Arte & Lingua
Barker in Valencia
Blood & Treasure
Bombs and Shields
Born at the Crest of the Empire
Chase me ladies...
Chicken Yoghurt
Craig Murray
Dead Men Left
Disreputable Lazy Aliens
Empire Notes
Friends of Al Jazeera
Global Guerillas
Guerillas in the Midst
I Blame the Patriachy
Informed Comment
Janine Booth
Lenin's Tomb
Life of Riley Blog
Media Watch Watch
Neil Shakespeare
NO2ID NewsBlog
One Hump or Two?
Otto's Random Thoughts
Pitch In For Uzbekistan
Run over by the truth
Solidarity With Iraqi Workers
Shut Up You Fat Whiner!
Sudan: Passion of the Present
Talk Politics
The Anthropik Network
The Daily (Maybe)
The Devil's Kitchen
The Disillusioned
The f-word
The Head Heeb
The Killing Train
The Revenge of Winston Smith
The Socialist Unity Blog
The Wicked Truth
Theory of Power
Things I Don't Have Time For
This (Fresh) Gringo
This Is My Truth
Thumping the Tub
Time The Dreaded Enemy
UK Watch Blog
UK Poli Blogs
Under The Same Sun
What Fresh Hell Is This?
Where is Raed? (RIP)
Who Are You to Accuse Me?
Words and Rocks
Z-Net Blog


Asbo Community Space
Eastside Climate Action
Faslane 365
No Borders
Nottingham Student Peace Movement
Refugee Forum
Stop the War
Sumac Centre
The Demo Project

Ivory Towers

Anarchist Studies Network
Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice
Postanarchism Clearinghouse


Anarchist FAQ
Chagos Discussion List
Chagos Support Forums
Electronic Intifada
Future of Iraq Portal
Index of Political Blogs
Indymedia UK
Iraq Occupation Focus
Refuser Solidarity Network
Socialist Unity Network
The New Standard
UK Chagos Support Association
UK Watch
Weekly Worker

The Progressive Blog Alliance

Register here to join the PBA.