Scotland leads the way in the not-so-eco-friendly revolution

Environmentally-friendly strategies are a key feature of the SNP’s new Programme for Scotland which was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week.

New petrol and diesel cars are to be phased out by 2032 – eight years ahead of the UK government’s target – and Low Emission Zones are to be introduced to Scotland’s cities, with the first one being implemented next year.

It all sounds wonderfully green and wholesome. But behind the surface gloss there’s a much murkier picture, with increasing tax burdens looking likely to fall on small businesses and hardworking commuters while big business is set to cream off fat profits.

Southern Electric BT59VTK

Electric vehicles are not quite as environmentally friendly as we’d like to think they are. Photo: Graham Richardson

 

Electric vehicles (and I would genuinely love to know if there are any remotely affordable alternatives to vehicles that run on either petrol, diesel or electricity) have been around for decades, but until recently they were almost impossible for ordinary motorists to buy – and to charge or recharge with electricity.

Most electric vehicles use lithium ion battery packs, which should last for 10 years or 150,000 miles. Replacement batteries could set you back around 40% of the entire cost of the vehicle.

Not surprisingly, the global lithium-ion market is expected to be worth more than $74bn by 2024.

And just in case you thought electric vehicles were more environmentally friendly than oil or diesel-powered ones, the batteries required to run them are made from scarce minerals like cobalt, graphite and lithium carbonate which have to be dug out of the ground.

Mining in Kailo

Child labour is often employed to mine cobalt, used in the production of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars and mobile phones. Photo: Julien Harneis 

The mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo involves the widespread use of child labour. Meanwhile, global mining interests are set to make enormous profits from these low-emission measures.

In addition, there is the problem of waste. Currently just 5% of lithium ion batteries are recycled in the EU.

And what about all the electricity that will be needed to run all these vehicles as petrol and diesel ones are phased out? Where’s that going to come from? Nuclear power stations? More wind farms?

I am certainly not against the idea of electric vehicles. I’m all for trying to find less polluting means of transport. It’s the way this measure is being steamrollered in, using the sledgehammers of taxation and government regulation that concerns me.

The governmental pride in setting ever closer deadlines, eager to win environmental Brownie points, glosses over the much less eco-friendly facts.

Has the Scottish government really thought through these measures, or is this yet another pseudo-environmentally friendly money-spinner for big business, with more taxation for the rest of us thrown in as a bonus?

 

 

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We Are The Fascists

Hillary Benn

Hillary Benn (Photo by CIAT)

I always felt that if I’d been alive in the 1940s I would have supported the war against Hitler’s Germany.

But last night, listening to Hilary Benn’s speech in the Westminster debate on air strikes against Syria, where he compared the hideous activities of ISIS to the Nazis of the 1930s and 40s, I started to question whether we really should have gone to war with Germany at that time.

This is not because I have Nazi sympathies, but because ever since then, “fighting the forces of fascism” has been used as an excuse for numerous invasions where the real motivation seems to be taking control of the invaded country’s resources.

However if Britain had not gone to war against Hitler, the Nazis would have invaded and possibly conquered. I am glad that the people of Britain and America fought against Germany in the Second World War (including my own father, who was training as an officer in Jamaica and Canada at this time, but the war ended before he was sent to Europe.)

We’re the invaders now

Thinking about this brought me to the depressing realisation that we are all fascists in the West. Our countries are now the ones doing the invading and the regime change.

In the 21st century the NATO governments have invaded a succession of countries, effecting regime change in each one: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and now Syria.

We’re not committing the mass genocide that Hitler’s Nazis enacted (arguably) – though when British-made weapons are trialled against Palestinian women and children it appears that we’re just distancing ourselves more than the openly aggressive Nazis did.

We have our own warmongering Hillary

Our leaders talk self-righteously of humanitarian efforts, of replacing tyranny with democracy and of fighting the forces of evil as they bomb and plunder. Hilary Benn drew on the historical socialist struggles of the International Brigade against the forces of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War to win support for air strikes.

Referring to Hillary Clinton, Professor Jem Bendel of the University of Cumbria said in his blog that “we have our own warmongering Hillary too”.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned of terrorist threats from ISIS in the run-up to Christmas, effectively using the brutal violence of the terrorists to achieve his own desired outcome. It’s not surprising that many commentators see ISIS as proxies for the West, not dissimilar to the use of the brutal Freikorps by the Weimar Republic in Germany after the First World War.

The UK government recently adopted the name Daesh for ISIS, apparently because it is an insulting term. I wonder if the real reason is to try and deflect the embarrassment of this group of killers having an English name.

Vicious cycle of barbarity

A distinct pattern has emerged since 2001. Terrorist groups carry out atrocities, then a country or countries are invaded in order to “fight terror” – but the terrorism is never conquered. Instead, more terrorism ensues, especially towards the people of the invaded country, who also have to suffer bloodshed from the invading forces.

Regime change in the invaded country is always a part of this vicious cycle.

So when people say that the Paris attacks are the reason that we must bomb Syria, I fail to understand. The Paris attacks were unimaginably horrific. Why would we want to inflict a similar nightmare on more innocent people?

Why would we want to perpetuate the cycle of violence and bloodshed which, as recent history shows, is always the result of such attacks?

Unrepresentative democracy

One politician who said that the Paris attacks had influenced his decision to vote for air strikes against Syria is Simon Hoare, Conservative MP for North Dorset.

Hoare told the Western Gazette that his decision to back air strikes in Syria was made “two minutes after Paris”. He told the local newspaper that out of 130 emails he had received from constituents on the subject, 99.9% were against military action, adding:

“I am sent to parliament to exercise my own judgement. If voters disagree with me they can get rid of me at the next election. That’s the nature of our system.”

This is the system that we are allegedly trying to inflict on puppet governments throughout the “Fertile Crescent”. The real aim is, I believe, to take control of more of the world’s resources.

It’s often said that socialism and fascism are two sides of the same coin – both systems favour strong State control. In this case I believe we are on the side of the fascists.

Do atrocities only matter if they happen in wealthy countries?

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Snippets from the front page of YouTube GB, November 15th. Great sentiments – but why do they only apply to atrocities in Western, developed countries?

I was horrified to hear about the Friday 13th terror atrocities in Paris. I completely understand why people are changing their social media badges to the colours of the French flag as they try to express their abhorrence of the slaughter and show sympathy with the bereaved. I personally see this expression as misguided, but their intentions are well-meant so I admire the sentiment.

Flags

Clockwise from top left: Flags of Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Iraq, all countries where innocent people have been barbarically murdered by terrorists in their thousands in recent years. Will YouTube stand with these countries?

But when I turn on YouTube and see it draped with the colours of the French flag, it seems to me narrow-minded, Eurocentric and chauvinistic. What happened in Paris on Friday 13th was hideous and I sympathise with all the victims and their friends and families. But this kind of bloodshed is a daily reality for many ordinary people in Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Iraq. I’ve never seen YouTube’s front page draped in the national flags of any of those countries.

It highlights how pampered and sheltered we are in the wealthy, developed West, compared to many other countries. I believe that our living, growing planet has more than enough resources to allow all countries to be wealthy and developed, without any loss of wealth and comfort for the vast bulk of the population in the wealthier, developed parts of the world.

But it seems that a tiny minority of immensely greedy and powerful people want to gain control of the area known as the “Fertile Crescent” via proxy rulers so that they can plunder that region’s resources. As long as the rest of us allow this to go on, the war and bloodshed will continue.

When the conflicts in places like Yemen and Iraq are aired in the mainstream media few people in the West take notice – not unless our soldiers are directly involved – because it’s just too depressing. People are confused and feel impotent. They don’t know how they could help the situation, so they just turn off.

If on the other hand there’s news about animals being badly treated, whether in the UK or South East Asia, people will complain in their droves. And quite rightly – but why is it that people in far off lands, including children, are seen as less important than animals when it comes to brutality and barbarity?

I reckon that many people just feel overwhelmed when they hear news about atrocities in conflicts they don’t really understand, and that’s why they generally don’t act until it’s on their doorstep, until the comfortable world they’ve built around themselves is directly threatened.

But the operators of a massive corporation like Google/YouTube should know better. They serve the people of the world, and they should treat all of their customers with equal respect.

Labour MPs to defy their leader – and the people who elected them

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Why do we even bother?

Observer front page

In 2013 the public outcry against military intervention in Syria was so strong in the UK and the US that David Cameron and Barack Obama had to back down on their plans. People had seen the results of military campaigns in Iraq and Libya – innocent people killed, atrocities on all sides and bloody mayhem ensuing.

Cameron is likely to call for another vote for military action in Syria soon, and according to today’s Observer newspaper, at least 50 Labour MPs are set to defy the wishes of their elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and join a cross-party bid for military action.

The cross-party initiative is being led by Tory MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour MP Jo Cox, who have co-authored an article calling for an “ethical solution” (ethical bombing) in Syria. The article appears to be a rehash of one that Cox wrote for the Yorkshire Post in September.

One significant element is notably absent from the article on the front page of today’s Observer article.

The electorate.

The people who actually voted Labour, mostly because they were desperate for an alternative to Conservative rule.

I wasn’t one of them – I gave up on the idea that the Labour Party would bring any significant change from the Tory Party decades ago. And my faith in the concept of democracy is hanging by a thread.

Many people who feel as cynical as I do about the senseless wars that the UK and US have been involved in this century – whose real purpose seems to be plunder and corporate oil interests – have given up on democracy altogether and refuse to vote. They see voting as giving assent to the corrupt system we find ourselves governed by.

I can see their point. Maybe I’m foolish in thinking that we can somehow improve our democracy…

But for the time being I will keep trying.

 

Cherry picking from international law

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Israeli PM Netanyahu’s actions are not open for debate in the UK.

108,000 people have signed a UK Government petition for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he visits the UK next week.

Under UK law, Parliament has to consider any petition that gets more than 100,000 signatures for debate. The government announced last night that a Committee had considered this petition and had found that since under international law visiting heads of foreign governments are immune from arrest, it will not be debating the issue.

The government, which holds power on a mandate of less than 25 percent of the electorate, is cherry picking from the international laws that it chooses to respect. It carries out illegal drone strikes in foreign countries and extra-judicial executions.

Netanyahu and Cameron are partners in crime.

We tolerate this at our peril

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The modern alternative to judge and jury?

The British government has taken a huge step towards tyranny.

The secret drone strikes that killed two British men in August were extra-judicial killings – in other words, these men were deliberately executed without recourse to the law.

It’s certainly not the first time this kind of thing has happened, but way that the mainstream media, from the BBC to the Daily Telegraph, is nudging the conversation towards making it seem perfectly acceptable is, to my mind, extremely disturbing.

Many people will say that as the men were planning terrorist attacks, possibly in the UK, they deserved to be killed. But what if they were doing no such thing? Are we expected to blithely accept the reports, despite the fact that one of the men, Reyaad Khan, who according to David Cameron was killed in the secret drone strike in Raqqa on 21st August, was also reported on the 21st July to have been killed in an airstrike?

Presumably some of the reports were mistaken. What other mistakes have been made? The law has been developed to protect us from injustice, which can sometimes be the result of mistakes.

The British legal system, no matter how corrupt parts of it have become, is part of the checks and balances that have (arguably) kept our nation free from the kinds of tyranny and dictatorships that we’ve witnessed in many parts of the world, where people disappear without trace simply for voicing opposition to their government.

While the Nazis ruled Germany, the Communists subjugated Russia and Eastern Europe, General Franco dominated Spain and a military junta tyrannised Greece, Britain was proud to be a democracy. Outside Europe dictatorships from North Korea to Cambodia to South and Central America have terrorised their subjects while the people of Britain have generally considered themselves lucky to live in a safe and free part of the world.

We are effectively assenting to the right of the government to kill any one of us.

If we consent to our government being allowed to kill at will because its agents tell us that the victims present a danger, but that the information it has on these people is too secretive for the rest of us to know, that crosses a very serious line. We are effectively assenting to the right of the government to kill any one of us.

The ancient right of habeus corpus – the right to be tried in a court of law – is one of the cornerstones of English law. It dates back to at least 1305 (possibly earlier) and has been established throughout the UK, the USA and the countries that were formerly the British Commonwealth, including Canada, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand, as well as several European countries.

We surrender this right at our peril.

Whatever the ultimate aims, allegiences or moral standing of the two men who were killed in this secret drone strike, if we give our consent to this action, every single one of us, each man, woman or child is at risk.

This, I believe, is a situation comparable with Germany in the early days of the Nazis, before people realised the full extent of what the country was heading towards. At that time anti-Jewish feeling was common all over the world and many people found it easy to shrug off acts of violence towards Jewish people as they assumed that the Jews were in the wrong and the authorities were just doing what they had to do.

We must not let this happen again. We can’t let our rights and laws slip back to the dark ages.

In the words of the Manic Street Preachers, if you tolerate this, then your children WILL be next.

Unorthodox thinker or conspiracy theorist?

If we allow freedom of thought and ideas to be curtailed, we are embracing tyranny.

A clumsily-written article in the Independent newspaper (30th July 2015) reports on a university study that appears to link “conspiracy theorists” with violent extremists who go overseas to join foreign terrorist squads.

As part of his research into Vice Epistemology, Quassim Cassam, Professor of Philosophy at Warwick University, is studying what makes people believe in “certain theories”. Professor Cassam, according to the Independent, believes that “some people” are more vulnerable to “intellectual vices” such as dogmatism, gullibility and close-mindedness [sic], and is quoted as saying:

“For example take 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Why do they hold onto their conspiracy theory despite the fact that there seems to be overwhelming evidence that it wasn’t an American government conspiracy to bring down the towers?”

This stereotyping of everyone who questions the official reports of a particular event as thinking with one mind and behaving in exactly the same way is, to my mind, not very scientific.

I would fall into Prof Cassam’s blanket description, as one who has always questioned the official portrayal of the events of September 11, 2001. Doubts arose in my mind from the day it happened, because Osama Bin Laden was identified as the official culprit from day one, before any proper investigations had been carried out. I also wondered why air traffic control radar had not picked up the aberrant planes entering the world’s busiest airspace during rush hour.

I have never said categorically that Bin Laden was not involved, but I did feel that there was more to this than the mainstream media was telling us. The questions that arose in my mind on that day have never been fully answered to my satisfaction by the official explanations and investigations. However unlike some people, I don’t think I’m in a position to say what actually did happen. My views may change according to new details that emerge­. I don’t see that as “closed mindedness”.

There have been many other cases where I’ve questioned the “official” version of the facts. One example is the conviction of Barry George for the murder of the television presenter Jill Dando. This high profile murder was initially reported as a highly professional shooting, yet the man convicted of the killing was a strange loner with several different personality disorders who was obsessed with Gary Glitter and Freddie Mercury. Going by the reports of the case, it seemed obvious to me that either the initial reports were wrong or that George was not the killer. He was acquitted of Dando’s murder in 2008.

People are often labelled “conspiracy theorists” simply because they dare to question the official versions of events, even when the mass media doesn’t bother to question them. Many of these so-called conspiracy theorists do an enormous amount of research work to back-up their claims. A more suitable term, to my mind, would be “unorthodox thinking”.

Conspiracy fact: the CIA strategy to discredit critics of the Warren Report

CIA doc p1The phrase “conspiracy theory” is widely believed to have been coined by the CIA in 1967, following the Warren Commission investigation into the shooting of President John F Kennedy.

CIA Document 1035-960 “Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report” aimed to counter rising public scepticism towards the official version of events, as a spate of books and articles at the time were criticising the Commission’s findings, and in most cases were suggesting the existence of a conspiracy, often implying that the Commission itself was involved.

In addition, a recent public poll had revealed that 46% of Americans did not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in shooting the President.

The stated aim of the CIA dispatch was to “provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.”

The document, which can be read in full here, presented several strategies designed to discredit the “critics”, such as the following:

“Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories.”

Dangerous developments

These strategies have been very successful over the years. But today, things seem to be taking a more sinister turn. Conspiracy theorists are not a political or religious faction. To be labelled one, all you have to do is express views that diverge from the mainstream way of thinking. If you don’t mind being laughed at, that’s fine – except that now the authorities are linking “conspiracy theorist” with “extremist”, which links to “terrorist”.

In my opinion, this is a very dangerous development, akin to the Nazis burning books and persecuting intellectuals. It’s an attempt to stifle independent thought. It effectively turns anyone who dares to challenge political orthodoxy or question the government into a heretic.

Totalitarian regimes don’t allow their citizens to question the political orthodoxies of the State. Freedom of thought is essential to a free society. If we allow freedom of thought and ideas to be curtailed, we are embracing tyranny.

Historic Parliamentary debate on money creation attracts less than 40 MPs

We have recently suffered the greatest recession since the 1930s and despite the efforts of the world’s greatest economists, the economic outlook for most countries is still shaky and in the UK an unprecedented number of people are dependent on the services of food banks.

A campaign group called Positive Money managed to garner enough public support for the first parliamentary debate on money creation in 170 years, the Money Creation & Society debate, which was held on Thursday 20th November.

 

2080 people (including myself) contacted their MPs to ask them to attend the debate. The result…

This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBSlSUIT-KM&t=17m40s

Out of 650 MPs, “more than 30” (which means less than 40) attended this important debate – considerably fewer than the number of MPs who turned up to debate their own pay rises. I wrote to my local MP, Gemma Doyle, to ask her attend, but I don’t think she did.

Those who did participate included Angus McNeil (SNP), Caroline Lucas (Green), Steve Baker (Con), Peter Lilley (Con), Austin Mitchell (Con), Andrea Leadsom (Con) Michael Meacher (Lab), Diane Abbott (Lab), Paul Flynn (Lab), Anne McKechin (Lab), Douglas Carswell (UKIP), Mark Durkan (SDLP). Well done them.

Notably absent were George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls.

What are the actual advantages of being part of the EU?

Italian EuroPushing tribal loyalties aside, and the belief that left-wing people tend to be pro-EU while Eurosceptics are characterised as crazed blue-rinse Thatcherites, what are the good reasons that we should be part of the EU?

After all, if we were not part of the EU we’d still be able to trade with European countries. What are the actual trade advantages to being part of the EU?

Until recently I was in support of the EU, but it was more driven by my heart than my head. I thought the EU represented sensible modern values of equal opportunities with respect to trade as well as for ordinary people, and I thought that opposition to the EU was mainly based on xenophobia and a backward-looking love of the British Empire.

The EU seemed to help smaller countries like Ireland and Greece stand up for themselves with equal trading opportunities.

This myth has now, for me, been totally shattered – not least due to witnessing how the financial crisis of 2008 affected the smaller EU nations like Ireland and Greece compared with non-EU members such as Iceland.

I now see that the Euro currency helps level the competitive trading field to the advantage of the bigger, wealthier nations like Germany, enabling their goods to be cheaper in the international markets.

In this interview (from 12 mins in) Simon Rose, campaign manager for the cross-party group Get Britain Out, argues against being part of the EU. He makes some very valid points (despite the fact that the Get Britain Out website to my mind plays right into the hands of the pro-European agenda, as its predominant Union Jack imagery is likely to confirm the fears of left-wing Euro-doubters that any anti-European feeling can only be due to excessive patriotism.).

At 14.40 Simon Rose says: “People seem to think it is a free-trade union. It’s not – it’s a customs union and it’s a very bureaucratic… one… We actually run a trade deficit with the European Union.”

At 18.20 he says: “One of the rules is that you can’t have more than 6 percent trade surplus. Well, Germany is currently up to about 8 and a quarter, the highest ever in its history in proportional terms, so they (the EU) should actually be applying sanctions against Germany. Are they? No of course not.

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Jean-Claude Juncker. He looks sensible enough – why not just let him get on with it?

“Given that Merkel actually helped [Jean-Claude Juncker] get the job, I can’t imagine that there’ll be very much chance that Junker will do that…”

He adds that Juncker is also very unlikely to help investigate EU tax havens, as the biggest by far is Luxembourg, and Juncker was in charge of this, as prime minister of Luxembourg for 18 years. (Juncker was also Luxembourg’s Minister of Finances from 1989 to 2009.)

19.25: Juncker has now been elected Head of the European Commission by secret ballot of MEPs on a candidature of just one, which is now the body that is investigating tax havens. “The man who was overseeing Luxembourg becoming a tax haven is now in charge of the investigation into tax havens, of which Luxembourg is the biggest,” Rose says.

20.50: Rose points out that our new EU Commissioner is the unelected Lord Hill (former Bell Pottinger lobbyist and co-founder of Quiller Consultants).

Finally, the film The Brussels Business demonstrates how corporate interests have hijacked the EU, taking advantage of the lack of democratic accountability. Since that film was made, it has been revealed that the highly corporate, undemocratic TTIP treaty is being negotiated, mainly in secret discussions.

So, taking all this into account, and pushing tribal loyalties aside, what are the actual benefits to ordinary people of EU membership?

 

Why Scotland has its first UKIP MEP – could it have something to do with the EU?

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The European Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany.

It’s the day of the European Election results, and my Twitter feed is full of expressions of dismay that Scotland has its first UKIP MEP. Most see it as a move to the right, and are blaming the BBC and the 66 percent of Scots who did not vote.

I too am annoyed at the news that Scotland has its first UKIP MEP – however I don’t see this as necessarily a “move to the right”. I see these results as an expression of a growing dissatisfaction with and mistrust of the EU, a position that simply has no political voice in the moderate left and centre political parties. This, I believe, is why so few people “bother” to vote in European elections – and why some people I know who usually take voting very seriously admitted that they had “forgotten” to vote in this election. Maybe they are not actively against the EU, but they have a growing unease about it. Yet their “political tribe” supports it. So what do they do? Many of them clearly prefer not to think about it.

The mainstream media has turned the focus on UKIP into a single issue: immigration. UKIP’s central demand, that of independence from the EU, has been simply ignored.

I am not and have never been a UKIP supporter. But over the years I have come to distrust the EU, and I would now prefer not to be part of the EU in its current form. This has nothing to with immigration concerns or xenophobia. It is because the EU seems to be supporting and encouraging an increasingly pro-corporate, centralised government agenda.

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Logo of the Council of the European Union.

I want to be part of a European Union, but not this current European Union that negotiates secretive, undemocratic treaties like TTIP; that succumbs to corporate lobbying; that welcomed the Western-leaning Yatsenuk regime in Ukraine with open arms, while turning a blind eye to its fascist elements.

I have observed the debt crisis in Ireland and the southern European countries with alarm, noting how some of the wealthier EU leaders berated those countries for their financial mismanagement, using stereotypes like Angela Merkel’s “Swabian housewife” – while at the same time happily accepting their euromillions in payment for arms. While the people in those countries suffered financial disaster and social unrest, bankers chortled into their champagne as they referred to them collectively as the “PIIGS” (just an acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, snort…). The PR machine has gone quiet on those countries now, in what seems to be a pretence that “the medicine has worked”, while in reality the economic hardship for many of their people continues.

The debt crisis was the excuse for the imposition on Italy of an unelected “government of technocrats” led by Mario Monti in 2011. A general election was held two years later in which Monti’s party came fourth, but a precedent had been set.

Another precedent was the “bail-in” of the Cyprus Popular Bank, whereby money was taken from people’s bank accounts. This measure was imposed as a condition of a €10 billion bail-out by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as a result of the debt crisis.

Iceland on the other hand, which had a dramatic economic collapse in 2008, has made an equally dramatic recovery. Iceland is not tied to the Euro. Iceland’s citizens also suffered economic pain, but not as a result of dictats from the ECB and IMF.

Political spin merchants like to think that they can divert our attention away from these issues by thrusting the spotlight on immigration, but it’s not that simple. Many people have a growing unease about the EU as a result of these events, even if it’s only at a subconscious level, and I think this contributes to low voter turnout. Others will vote for UKIP – some because they want to see less immigration, but some of them as an anti-EU protest. The mainstream media has not only massively promoted UKIP – it has also lumped together anti-EU feeling with anti-immigration feeling.

In voting for the European Elections, I looked for a party that did not want to be part of the EU. The only anti-EU parties on the list were far right parties and one far left party, no2eu. I looked at the information for no2eu and found that it had support from the Communist Party. The Communist Party represents highly centralised government, which in my opinion is what the EU is offering. I want more decentralised government. I would have voted for the Pirate Party if it had been on the ballot list.

In effect, the political choice for anyone who does not support the EU in its current form, is limited to extremist and right-wing parties.

In the end I voted Green, because it is the only party that has actually spoken out strongly against some of the issues I have highlighted above. However, I don’t think the Green Party speaks out strongly enough on these issues, so in a way my vote was a compromise.

The Green Party made significant gains in the European Elections, but if they had spoken out more robustly against the undemocratic practices and pro-corporate policies of the EU, maybe Scotland would now have its first Green MEP. How many people looked at that ballot paper and thought, “I’m fed up with the way the EU is going, so I’m going to vote Green.”? Not many, I suspect.

This to me is why UKIP did so well in the European Elections and gained its first seat in Scotland. It also explains why the Scottish Conservatives did better than usual in this election. It’s not just about immigration. People are questioning what membership of the EU actually means, but this is being played down by the mainstream media and political parties. Ed Miliband has ruled out an EU referendum. The SNP often say that the Scots want to be part of Europe, as if we’re an amorphous mass.

The SNP did well in these elections, but there is no room for complacency in politics. The rising tide of votes for UKIP represents a rising tide of Euroscepticism that currently has no other viable political outlet.

 

 

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