Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Shades of 1989 ?

I referred in my last blog to the time I was a European election candidate in 1989 and the spectacular (but seatless) result the Green Party achieved that year. This weekend just gone, opinion polls for European election intentions reminded me of that year as well! Of course circumstances are very different this time round, and much can happen between now and polling day, but given the sleaze and scandal surrounding other Parties it is hardly surprising.

The media are still very much focused on Westminster politics and barely acknowledge that a European election is just around the corner. In the light of that, as I left our North West Euro-launch I was pleased to see a set of stalls in Albert Square informing the public of the work of the European Parliament. I was also pleased at the response of one of the organisers whom I spoke to who informed me that 'lots of people I know are voting Green'. Whilst they weren't getting much response, they seemed to be getting more than the forlorn looking 'No2EU' stall in the corner of the Square.

One area which needs more public information about the European election is the voting system. The emphasis on Westminster-style first-past-the-post means that there is hardly any understanding of how seats are allocated, or even that people vote for a region-wide Party list. To fill the gap here are links to
- a vote calculator (NB this time round the North West has 8 seats, not 9 so adjust accordingly),
- a simple graphic, illustrating the importance for us to beat the BNP see here
(Incidentally, adding in UKIP to the mix doesn't change the principle - try it)

Voters thinking of voting UKIP or BNP as a protest against sleaze should consider the following:
- That UKIP' MEPs also have a bad record on expenses and sleaze, for an example see here
- The record of the BNP's local councillors (they have only about 60, half as many as the Green Party) can be found on the Lancaster Unity site (in list on the right) - look for 'Crap councillors' - its a long list

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