Monday, 26 May 2014

Apathy and extremism in Euro Elections

The results of the European elections came with no surprises as far as Britain was concerned. All the results are in now (except for Northern Ireland, where politics are a wee bit different to elsewhere). UKIP have topped the poll, 2% ahead of the Labour Party with the Tories pushed back into third place. Nick Clegg is finally reaping the rewards of his party's betrayal by losing all but one Lib Dem MEP and coming below the Green Party who also won an extra seat.

Of course this result is unlikely to be replicated in the General Election and it does need to be pointed out that the turnout in both the European and local elections was well below that which would be expected in 2015.

Only 34% of the electorate bothered voting for their MEP which means two thirds of the electorate failed to participate. Something that the political elite should take note of, especially when the Tories in particular carp on about turnouts in trade union ballots. Just saying.

There was some good news of course the odious Nick Griffin lost his seat, although worryingly the BNP still polled over 179,000 votes. Their vote was well down from the 5.10 % they polled last time.

So how did the far-left fringe parties do.?

Frankly the results from the far left in the UK are so derisory they are almost not worth commenting on. The largest of these wasted efforts was the NO2EU slate backed by the Socialist Party, the Communist Party of Britain and the RMT union. Their candidates polled just 31,757 votes or 0.20%, down from 0.81% last time round. Hardly surprising. Anyone wanting out of the EU would opt for UKIP as a protest vote.

Meanwhile Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party was only able to stand in Wales where their "paper candidates" managed to get a grand 4,459 votes or 0.03 of the vote. Also contesting seats in Wales were the archaic Socialist Party of Great Britain who did slightly better with 6,838 votes (0.04%).

The only other Marxist group running candidates was the Socialist Equality Party (a breakaway from the Workers Revolutionary Party) who were likewise barely noticed by the electorate with 5,067 votes (0.03% of the vote).

Whatever one might think of UKIP, their vote will decline come the General Election (although they may win the Newark by-election next month), what is of concern is the rise of political extremism across Europe.

The neo-fascist National Front came top of the poll in France and the far-left Syrzia led the vote in Greece. If the Nazi Golden Dawn vote is thrown into the mix it means one in three Greek voters have voted for parties that reject democracy.

Despite the apparent stability of British democracy, voter apathy and economic woes across Europe mean that there remains a serious threat to our freedoms if we do not remain vigilant. 

In particular keep an eye on Hungary where the openly anti-Semitic and anti-Roma Jobbik Party made gains and is now the second largest party in the country. This at a time when anti-Semitic attacks are on the increase across Europe as the attack in Belgium recently demonstrated.

Recommended further reading:

The following two articles by Phil BC over at All that is Solid are well worth reading for those following the elections:

Calling UKIP racist won't stop them

Lazy thinking and election results

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