It’s the day when results for the European Elections across the EU and far right parties like the National Front in France have won a number of seats. Here in the UK, our far right party of the day is UKIP who have, sadly, won themselves a number of MEP’s, including one in Scotland which is depressing to say the least. Nigel Farage is now saying UKIP are the ‘third force’ in a four party system.
Problem is for UKIP, reality says another thing. As I write this, Scotland still has to declare but this is the percentages of the parties as I write this.
UKIP are indeed top of the pile. The first party that ins’t Tory or Labour to win a British national election since the Second World War.There are however things to note and let’s start by pointing out where The Greens are. They’re fourth on with an addition MEP on a slightly reduced share of the vote. Imagine if those parts of the media that alleges itself to be ‘progressive’ like say, The Guardian, had pushed for the Greens instead of telling their readers that UKIP were racists in a stream of articles which according to Private Eye, have been fed to them by the Tories.
If true, then that’s simply extraordinary. It’s also something which if found to be true should make Alan Rusbridger resign as they had a chance to present an alternative vision, but instead jumped to help out the Tories. Think about the implications of that for a minute and when you’ve picked up your jaw realise that there is an establishment that was working against UKIP but instead of The Guardian telling the Tories to fuck off, they allegedly jumped into bed with them. So much for ‘progressive’ politics, or offering any sort of genuine left wing alternative.
As for the BBC’s cheerleading for Farage and UKIP thanks mainly to the odious Nick Robinson. Well, that’s also creating a media-led narrative which paints UKIP as ‘outsiders’ (they’re not) against the establishment. It makes good, tabloid telly and it’s a narrative much of the media lapped up. It’s entirely wrong of course but it doesn’t stop it being repeated across a media mainly based in London.
Now I admit to having voted Green as I outlined here, but with reservations but they seem to be a good protest vote against the establishment that isn’t a bunch of xenophobic fascists and racists. Had say, The Guardian fell behind them, or presented the other options instead of shilling for the Tories or preaching to the converted, then things may possibly be different. We’ll never know. We do know they put out this extraordinary piece with the headline ”Ukip results reveal divide between London and rest of England” on Friday which pushed the line that smart, educated, cosmopolitan London were too clever for UKIP. The facts however are that virtually every major English city, so Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Manchester, Wigan, Sunderland, Newcastle and many others have no UKIP Councillors. Here in Bristol where UKIP spent what must be tens of thousands of pounds judging by the amount of billboards across the city, they only walked away with one seat.
UKIP’s ‘earthquake’ actually wasn’t anything of the kind on Friday, and although the European Elections have been a victory for them, there are reasons for this. Go back up and look at the graphic of what party got what percentages of votes. Look at how the BNP vote has collapsed. It doesn’t take a genius to work out where that vote has probably went to, especially when you note the amount of EDL supporters who are very vocal UKIP supporters on social media. For example:
A wee shufty through Twitter will find hundreds, if not thousands, more like this. UKIP may not be openly racist, or saying they openly court racism but they and it’s getting them support. It’s worked but it’s too easy to suggest it’s only just EDL and former BNP voters voting UKIP, it’s not. There’s people who want to simply give the establishment a bloody nose and if UKIP are racist, well, it’s not the point. It’s about using the system to voice dissent. UKIP have been smart enough (either by design or accident) to take advantage of this so that Farage sets himself up outside of the establishment and is giving Westminster a bloody nose. The truth is that Farage is as much part of the establishment as Cameron, Milliband and Clegg, and doesn’t stand for free speech, and in fact has tried to actively suppress free speech in this election. This doesn’t matter though to UKIP voters as they see UKIP standing for something which is a vision of Britain, and more specifically, England standing dominant over all, including the other countries of the United Kingdom. For them England Prevails and they see Farage’s vision so they vote for it. It’s smoke and mirrors but people voted for it. UKIP are for something, even if the smarter among us know it’s a lie.
Here’s the problem with many of us on the left. We’ve been against so many things for so long, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be for something so it’s easy to complain about the Daily Mail, or Tweet about ‘Bullingdon Boys’, but presenting a decent, alternative to right wing politics that people of all classes can look at and consider something to vote for?
So when Russell Brand says that voting is a waste of time vast chunks of people on the left, especially young people, think this is a great idea. Selling a vision of apathy or that voting changes nothing looks pretty fucking hollow today as UKIP sail into seats across the UK, including one in Scotland. it doesn’t look like voting is a ‘waste of time’ today. I think Nigel Farage is quite grateful of people like Brand ensuring younger voters don’t turn out as they buy into Brand’s sixth form political rhetoric. It allows the media to shape the idea that it’s only London that votes against UKIP, or that in the words of Nick Robinson, UKIP are causing an ‘earthquake’ when the reality of the night is that, well, UKIP won on a 34% turnout.
That’s 66% who didn’t vote. They couldn’t even muster up the energy to spoil a ballot paper. I don’t blame UKIP voters for this. They’re wankers but they’re wankers who voted for something, even if it’s xenophobia and racism. You lot who didn’t vote did nothing to help, especially in the European elections which uses PR and your vote actually means something. You could have voted Green, or No2Eu, or SNP, or Plaid Cymru, or any of the leftish alternatives. Fuck, you could even have voted for one of the three main parties but no, you didn’t do anything so you’re now going to sit back an complain about how the EU does things, or Nigel Farage/Ed Milliband/Alex Salmond. David Cameron/whomever, or how your city is run but you didn’t do that one thing that people have died to get, which is vote.
Well done, you’re as culpable for this as someone who put an X by UKIP on the ballot paper.
So what now? Well Nick Robinson on the BBC is still wittering on about how so very important Nigel Farage is, and Labour and the Tories are trying to work out how much more like UKIP they can become, while the Lib Dems are going to tear themselves apart. The post mortem in Scotland is going to be an interesting one but it speaks volumes that the UKIP MEP for Scotland has a home address in London. Will UKIP even win a seat in the general election next year? Possibly, but now they have over 20 MEP’s that’s over twenty opportunities for the sort of enormous fuck ups of the type we’re used to from UKIP.
Like the BNP before them, UKIP have to prove they walk the talk. They won’t, or at least, the majority won’t as there’s rattling skeletons (there’s already rumours all their new MEP’s are donating 10#% of their salary to be paid into UKIP’s coffers, something not permitted by law) still to be exposed with UKIP’s new MEP’s and fantastic groups like Hope not Hate, and the odd journalist here and there will expose. However without something for people to vote for, UKIP aren’t going away.
Democracy is hard. That’s the point. Sitting on you arse apathetically complaining leads to this. People now have just under a year to wake up and work out what they’re going to do.
So just what is it that you want to do?