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European Elections 2019
In the UK
As the dust settles, and everybody tries to claim some sort of victory, several things are immediately clear.
Firstly, the British election result is null and void. There are sufficient reports of EU citizens living in the UK, with the right to vote there, being denied their right to vote.
Okay, this may not have changed the result of anything, but we don't know that. It is the British government, once again, cherry picking who gets to vote for what. That is not democracy.
Secondly, the result of the vote made some gains for Farage's Brexit party. This is a good thing because although Farage is a total twunk, he stole the votes away from a bunch of nutters even worse than him. But much better than that is the rout suffered by the Tories and Labour. Both parties have failed the country, both parties deserve to burn in the fiery pits of hell. Which, frankly, is better than they deserve.
Thirdly, the Brexit Party didn't do as well as they'd like to proclaim. They were the one main anti-EU party, so all the anti-EU types that were a little too normal to vote for UKIP, voted for Farage's mob. The pro-Remain parties actually garnered a larger share of the vote. But being the disorganised mess that they have been for the past three years, the vote was split across multiple parties meaning everybody got a smaller share of more. And thus Farage came out ahead because his vote wasn't diluted.
And finally, the utter lunacy of people electing as their representatives members of the Brexit party. They are a single issue party that didn't even bother to make a manifesto. Seriously, you get about the scope of it if you imagine the reply to everything to be out means out and we want out. Like...
Basically, a large group of people elected a one-trick pony to be their European representatives, thus amply demonstrating their level of unbelievable stupidity.
- So, now, let's take a vote for the extension of fishing rights. Out means out and we want out.
Who wants to talk first about a guaranteed minimum wage? Out means out and we want out.
What are we going to do about the likes of Google? Out means out and we want out.
Think I'm being rude? Farage might have sailed a boat up the Thames to make a big deal about fishing, but as a member of UKIP, Farage sat on the fisheries committee for three years and only managed to attend one of the 42 meetings that were held in that time. UKIP, in general, missed about a third of all of the votes. A spokesperson claimed this was a good thing, claiming that the only reason their MEPs bother turning up is... out means out and we want out.
But, of course, the party might not put in the effort but they certainly put in the claims for pay and allowances.
Given it's Farage who has left the shambling ghost of the former UKIP and created a shiny new Brexit party, does anybody think that things will be any different? They will expect nice fat pay cheques while not bothering to actually represent their voters at all. And no, "out means out and we want out" is not a representation. Who knows, maybe things between the UK and EU might be better if these cretins had bothered to do their job in the first place?
Meanwhile here in France...
I, a PROUD European, was denied the opportunity to vote. There was a date by which voter applications had to be made (there has been a change recently - now everybody has a unique voter ID). Unfortunately the date was prior to the date of Britain's leaving the EU.
Which never happened. But by then it was too late. Registration closed.
And then this turned up:
Yup. I'm not sure if it was the state or the local mayor, or both, but that's the back of my voter registration card. Somebody somewhere pulled out the stops to ensure a legally resident European had the opportunity to vote. The bit in quotes says: Voting is a right, it's also a civic duty.
That's democracy, bitches.
On Saturday, for both of us, arrived a large envelope containing manifesto and candidate information for the major parties. There were about thirty parties running, but some like Action for Kids and Furry Fandom (well, Animals Forever or somesuch) were so niche that they didn't bother including those papers.
I looked at and examined each of the papers to work out who would be the best party to vote for. Some of the highlights...
- Rassemblement National
This is Marine Le Pen's mob. It's what the National Front are calling themselves these days. Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that she is no longer all about dumping the Euro and pulling France out of the EU. I rather suspect that as right wing as she may be, she's looking at Brexit and realising that France needs to be a player. That in the modern world, a single small country trying to go it alone is foolhardy and reckless. She pitched her campaign against Macron, Merkel, and Juncker - calling instead of "A Europe of Nations".
This, clearly, resonated with a lot of people because she came out in the lead in France. Not a big lead, only a percentage point above Macron's party, but in the lead is in the lead.
All that said, I wouldn't vote for this because they're the National Front no matter what they call themselves.
- Les Républicains
This is the party that gave us Sarko. Actually, I have no idea who is running it now, suffice to say they're the French equivalent of the Tories (trying to pose as the new centre). Straight in the bin. And given that today they are worried about extinction, I guess I'm not the only person to think that.
Oh, and I noticed this in the manifesto:
- Europe Écologie (the Greens)
Not voting for them because I believe the Green agenda to be why I can no longer use glyphosphate to control the weeds on our large area of land, while my neighbour (a pig farmer) can chuck it down wholesale. If it was banned, then that would be one thing. But to ban it from domestic use while allowing farmers to carry on using it... who exactly do they think causes the most pollution? Who exactly do they think puts all those nitrates into the waterways? Be fair!
Plus, as you might expect, their manifesto pledges are based around ecology and less around such things as social equality, defence, and so on.
- Union Populaire Républicaine
I guess this is because Le Pen is softening and realising that some sort of Europe is better than none at all.
But, yeah, go for it guys. Because Brexit is working out so well.
- lutte ouvrière
Coming from an anglophone background and knowing what the Americans think of the Commies, I found it really rather funny that this party couldn't be more Commie if it tried. Their logo is the bloody hammer and sickle! And loads of red! Commies through and through!
- La France insoumise
If you thought The Worker's Party was leaning to the left, allow me to present France Unbowed. His manifesto isn't actually that illogical, however Mélanchon is far left. Far far to the left. I mean so far to the left that he makes Corbyn look like a Tory hardliner.
He sees the EU as an enemy, whereas I see globalisation as an enemy and the EU as an attempt to lessen the impact by localised co-operation and interaction.
All of this leads us to this. Macron's baby. And since Macron is... well... Macron...
Now, French voting is an interesting idea. In the UK you get a paper and are supposed to put a tick next to the party you support. This, of course, leading to accusations of The Brexit Party's logo subliminally tricking people to vote for them.
- 🇪🇺 Renaissance Soutenue Par La République En Marche, Le MoDem, Et Ses Partenaires (yes, seriously!)
(if you see 'E' 'U' or empty boxes above, it's because your machine doesn't have the EU flag emoji)
Macron may be a disliked President, however he is very pro-European. Here's the back of his paper, with the manifesto pledges.
The only one that I'm not sure about is the European Army. I understand the need for such a thing, now that the current lunatic in the White House has made it clear that Europe shouldn't expect to rely upon America. Europe needs to have its own coordinated defence mechanism. It's not necessarily a bad idea, I just think that it is going to run into an awful lot of problems along the way. Perhaps a smaller step would be to make an integrated concept of existing armies of the various EU countries that can come together and fight on each other's soil if necessary to repel an enemy in common? Of course, we all hope and pray that such a thing will not be necessary, however that doesn't mean that the issue can be ignored until it's way too late. I mean, it could begin like an EU-private version of NATO, right?
As for the rest of his statements, yeah, I pretty much agree. I'd be inclined to go a little further in some cases, as I believe that the EU is in dire need of reform and desperately needs to re-engage with the people that it is supposed to be serving.
So when it came to voting, I chose Macron.
In France, on the other hand, every party gives an A4 piece of paper with the list of candidates in each area. You take the piece of paper for the party that you wish to vote for, fold it up, and put it into an envelope. The envelope is closed, and put into a big transparent box with a special handle that counts up for every envelope inserted.
I suppose spoilt votes are multiple papers, and null votes are empty envelopes.
The dust settles
Now all the results are in, the political landscape of the EU is changing. The far right have made some small gains, but not enough to be the big spoke in the works that they were hoping for. Instead we'll just have a few more people in the European Parliament getting paid for inadequately representing their voters. In any normal arena that would lie somewhere between hypocrite and charlatan. But this is politics, so it's just business as usual.
Speaking of which . . . which odious hypocrite and charlatan will be the next woe-begotten leader of the Conservative Party? Of course, having failed to learn the lesson of the recent elections, polls, and such - they're still on about delivering what the people voted for.
I wonder if they'd be so enthusiastic for "the democratic will of the people" if we allowed everything to be put to referenda? We're going to deliver what the people voted for - no more tax! no more speed traps in towns! no more wheel clamps! free buses for everybody! trains that are affordable and actually turn up! everybody will have a job that pays two grand a month minimum!
Well, why not? It's what the people would probably vote for. Dust off those election boxes and make it happen.
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|David Pilling, 27th May 2019, 23:09|
Careful with the satire "A Labour-backed report has called for the launch of universal basic income trials across the UK. Universal basic income (UBI), which takes the form of regular cash payments from the government to all adult citizens, has emerged as a popular concept in recent years because it could top up low pay and reduce inequality."
|Rick, 28th May 2019, 00:20|
UBI would be nice if it stood a snowball's chance in hell of actually working...
|Rick, 28th May 2019, 00:21|
Comment script added some spaces to break up the long string of characters. You'll need to paste the URL back together.
|Rick, 30th May 2019, 21:22|
By the way... Cash payments to all adult citizens.
Does that include pensioners? Or are they going to get screwed yet again?
|David Pilling, 31st May 2019, 22:10|
Thought the Guardian went to great lengths to demolish the idea - making comparisons with things which were not proposed. As I understand it, you'd give 17K a year to every adult. Would replace all the existing benefits, like old age pension. Believe current theory is that old age pensioners have done disproportionately well, with their triple lock.
|Rob, 14th June 2019, 20:01|
The positive thing about a fixed sum payment to everybody is that it's particularly cheap to implement. As soon as you start including any sort of assessment process or means test, and the associated appeals procedures, the costs skyrocket, and could easily outstrip the savings made from not paying some groups of people.
|J.G.Harston, 16th June 2019, 02:57|
My local election officials had been pestering Whitehall for a definite confirmation of the Euro elections being on or off as they desperately needed to get the non-UK EU elector forms out to people by sort-a January. Then the MayBot decided, oh by the way... barely a few days before close of registration for electors, let alone non-UK electors. It's as though Whitehall and Westminster don't understand how the electoral laws that they promulgate actually work.
|J.G.Harston, 16th June 2019, 03:01|
And the Brexiters in Brussels really needs to decide what they're doing. They could go the Shinner route and refuse to sit in a body they don't believe in, or they can do the SNP route and sit in the body they want us to leave and proactively work on getting things passed to enable us to leave. But you can't just turn up and keep shouting "NO!".
(Somewhere I read that a handful of the defectors from UKIP in Brussels did actually attempt to do that, but were frustrated by the general mindset of UKIP to just sit there and complain, so went Indy or joined others. I giggle that at one point there were more SDP MEPs than LibDems!)
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