Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to vote with your conscience and suffer a BNP MEP, or to take the compromise choice and by opposing end them?

There's a lot of worry about the BNP getting seats at the Euro elections next month. Here in the North East there's 3 seats up for grabs, and it has been suggested that, with the BNP getting 5th place 5 years ago, they could get a seat this time round (although not everyone takes this too seriously and if you look at the actual difference in percentages between 3rd and 4th place it's still fairly unlikely).

Still, what better time to ponder the options open to the discerning voter?

There's the usuals of course, Con, Lab, Lib - I suppose I'd consider voting for Clegg's men if I had to, but let's see if we can't do a little better.

Hmm. Bit of a mixed bag, as it happens.
BNP, Greens, UKIP, No2EU, Jury Team, English Democrats, Socialist Labour, some random god-botherers, and Libertas. So a total of 12 parties, 3 of whom I'd never even heard of. How do we narrow it down? Well, first off let's find out who the 3 randoms are.

Jury Team. Who they?
Esther Rantzen's backing this lot apparently, so already things aren't looking good for Jury Team.
Then there's the name - sounds like a really shit mid-afternoon crime-solving drama involving 12 people with minor superpowers, like the ability to induce migraines or grow aubergines quicker than you might expect. GO, JURY TEAM! GO!
What do they stand for? According to their website they stand for assonance, and plenty of it:

'Politics for the People Politics without Parties Politics with Principles'

is their battle cry.
What does this mean? Well, their actual demands seem fairly reasonable, if limited. More accountability and an end to whips, that sort of thing. But if they mean 'politics without parties' in any kind of literal sense then you can count me out until after the revolution. Anarchism is fine, but let's make sure we've got some kind of equality and production on the basis of need in place first, eh? 'Cos, you know, if there're no parties then there are no united blocs to push for change and everything loses focus.

Christian Party - Christian People's Alliance. Who they?
Self-explanatory really. No. Next!

Libertas. Who they?
They're the 'fresh and exciting new political force sweeping across Europe' apparently. So the party equivalent of a Glade plug-in, then.
Pro and pan-European apparently, which to me sounds like an SNCF breakfast croissant, but what do they stand for? Well, it's 'democracy, accountability and transparency' - much like Jury Team. But they've got a lot more ambition than that: in this set of elections they want to create a brand new bloc, from scratch (they're a brand new outfit). This bloc is pushing for things like an elected commission, which is fine as far as it goes. But for me it's not enough to democratise the institutions, the point is to change them. This all sounds very laudable, but it's not going to devolve power to workers' soviets any time soon or bring action on climate change to the top of the agenda. It's all a bit meh.

So, that's the new ones, who's left?
Well we've got the fascists, so they're out. UKIP, ditto. English Democrats - oddball far-right English Nationalists, they can sod off.

SLP is Scargill, so it's got the nostalgia vote sewn up. Plus their policies seem pretty good - nationalisation, socialism, democracy, the environment. That all sounds like the sort of thing you can get behind. Pity their website's so bloody awful though. Come on guys, we've moved on since the miner's strike, you're not on Teletext now!

Greens are also pretty nice looking though. Fairly left-wing, Caroline Lucas seems decent enough (if you've not heard her on Mark Thomas' podcast, do check it out, there's a dear), and of course this whole saving mankind agenda is hard to disagree with. And their website's nifty. And of course, they're polling pretty well, so could potentially outstrip the BNP this time round.

Bugger, it's going to be them isn't it? I'd better go and get me some sandals and muesli.

Update: Heh, completely forgot to do No2EU. I've been out of the activist loop for some time now, as the course I've been doing has taken up virtually every waking moment, and I've not had much time for news (hence all these posts about books and films, really), so I missed out on No2EU. Still, it's backed by the right people, like the RMT and Tony Benn, its focus is all those things Benn was talking about years and years ago, and which Greg Palast has touched on. They do make a persuasive case, especially on the prospect of enforced 'competitiveness'. I don't know though - the last poll I saw didn't really place them anywhere, and the Greens look to be well placed at the mo. But then... they do make a good video, don't they?


Anonymous said...

I went to a hustings and saw Jury Team, they were less than impressive. Every single question asked by the audience the guy basically shrugged off, on the grounds that the People Must Decide or some other bollocks libertarian nonsense. He only really got animated slagging off the other parties, especially the socialists on the panel.

I remember one of their policies was that if five percent of the population demanded a referendum on anything they would get it, which is brilliant and would lend itself to all sorts of amusing referenda. Apart from that, they seem to be wankers, pretty much.


Christie Malry said...

Sounds like they completely live up to the expectations I had of them then. Admittedly, the bar was *quite* low.

Marina Hyde's got a column in the graun today quite amusingly extracting micturation from Rantzen if you've not caught it yet...

hpwatch said...

This was a great line: "if there is a public-spirited talking canine out there, could it proceed straight to Luton South?"

Another thing about the Jury Team guy was that he had rather mad eyes, a disturbing wispy moustache, and looked like he spent his evenings lovingly fondling various phallic items. I'm not making any comment on that, I'm just sayin'.