Here in the UK, we are soon to have the chance to elect our members of the European Parliament. This is one of the elections that gets the least attention from the Great British Public, and the only one where proportional representation is used to determine the winners nationally. Like many voters, I am not a fan of proportional representation. We don’t really understand it, and we don’t like the idea that our vote might be transferred to someone completely different, in a second round ballot. There is a lot of coverage of the forthcoming elections on TV news, both nationally, and locally. If you didn’t know better, you could be forgiven for thinking that the average person is remotely interested.
The constituencies for members of the European Parliament from the UK are very large. It is impossible to see how the elected person could possibly hope to represent the diverse interests of the electorate from such a wide area. The costs of paying salaries and providing expenses for these members is well-known to be ridiculously high, and the fact that many of them just sign in and then go home again, is also well-reported. It is little short of a scandal that it exists at all, and the constant increases in running this European farce are unjustified, and unnecessary. We should all be very angry about it. We should be behind barricades, burning tyres in protest, We are not though, because we are just bored with it all. We cannot get out of it, and nobody in a position of power seems to genuinely want to escape the clutches of the Euro-monster that has us in a death-lock. If you are told enough times that there is nothing that you can do about it, then boredom sets in, along with its usual bedfellow, apathy.
The various parties are parading their platforms on TV news. Labour want to stay in, at all costs. Lib-Dem want to stay in at all costs. The Conservatives want to stay in at all costs, but add that they will promise a referendum on continued membership. But not until 2017, and only if they are the sole party in power. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) have gained ground, with an anti-European stance, and a pledge to keep the pound, and to oppose further immigration. Pundits predict that they will do well in these elections. So will this fervently anti-European party get us out of the EU? They can’t. It takes the government in power to do this, not the members of the European Parliament. Will they refuse to take their seats in protest, decline the salaries and expenses, to protest and to highlight the problem? Not a bit of it. They will take the wads of cash, turn up in Europe, and moan about being there. They can rest easy, knowing that they are unlikely to ever be in power in the UK, leaving them with the luxury of blaming the traditional parties for keeping us in. Hypocrites all. More members for the club of greed, opportunism, and hypocrisy that is the European Union.
Those other smaller parties, what of them? The Extreme Left is virtually non-existent now. The Greens want to stay in Europe, and the Extreme Right want out of it, but will never be in a powerful enough position to make that wish come true. So, after the election, we will see a list of those elected, with parties claiming victory, or conceding defeat. We will forget the name of our MEP as soon as we hear it, and the whole circus will continue, with this under-elected crowd getting rich from the system. Nothing will change, except for a few faces, and the sound of some speeches.
Is it any wonder we’re bored?
I have never really seen the point of a democracy. Most people don’t vote anyway. Many that actually bother to drag themselves to the polling station, just vote for the same party every election, irrespective of changes in the leadership, or policies. Some are proud to say that they vote the same as their parents did, or quote issues that supposedly inspire their choice of candidate. Very few can actually name their MP, ( Yes I can. He is a Tory, worst luck.) and some cannot differentiate between National and Local elections.
When Thatcher was first brought to power, many women cited having a woman Prime Minister as their reason for voting Tory. When pressed, few could actually name the winner in their own constituency, and even whether or not that winner was actually from the Conservative Party. Most votes are purely motivated by self-interest. If someone wanted to buy their council house, they voted for the party that promised to let them do so. They gave no thought to the other policies that arrived on the coat tails of this promise.
The current system does not give us a government that the majority either want, or care about. Proposals to change to proportional representation will result in even greater confusion, and governments with tiny majorities, constantly doing deals with other parties, to avoid a collapse. Just when you think you have voted in one party, you find yourself governed by three others as well. It is all so pointless, so expensive, and so unnecessary.
My proposal is simple. Hand over power to those who actually have ideas and policies that are not driven by the needs of big business, international corporations, and the super rich. Get rid of the Landed Aristocracy, the Royal Family, and all those who prosper by privilege alone. Re-nationalise all industry, Railways, and Utilities, and take back all the parts of the NHS sold off to the private sector. Get out of the EU, cut all ties with NATO, and politely ask the USA to stop using our airfields, giving them a date to leave. Learn from the past, and begin to realise that there is no longer a British Empire.
If you need someone to implement all this, and who is ready and available to take control; I am not too busy at the moment.
Just don’t ask me to stand for election.