So the results of the European election are out.
…And UKIP won. Labour came a close second, then the Tories, then the Greens, with the Lib Dems being pushed into fifth place.
Apparently this is the first time in 100 years that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have won a UK national election.
But I just can’t believe the majority of voters thought the bigoted neoliberalism-on-steroids party was a good idea. It’s scary how ready people across the country seemingly are to blame all our problems on an easy scapegoat – in this case immigrants. Ukip have cashed in on people’s justified anger at the political system, at austerity and unemployment and etc, and channeled it into a racist car-crash of an ideology – fuelled by hyperbolic catch-phrases like “getting our country back”. As if we don’t already ”have” our country. As if Britain has just drifted off somewhere, and we’re just too stupid to notice we’re all pitifully splashing around in the Atlantic.
Anyway. I could bitch about UKIP all night, but I want to get on to the more positive side to the results.
The Greens won a seat in the South West region for the first time, bringing their MEP count up to 3. A modest gain, but pretty good when you consider the Lib Dems lost almost all their seats, from 11 down to just one. I’d of been happy if the Greens just kept what they had, so to gain another seat is brilliant. They also came third in many areas, and came second in Brighton and Oxford.
Also despite UKIP gaining the most seats in the UK and far-right groups doing well across Europe (the National Front actually won in France) – the make-up of the European Parliament is still very much Left-leaning, with the Green group thankfully outnumbering the far-right EFD group which includes UKIP and like minded parties from across the EU.
The Green party came fourth in these elections, beating the Lib Dems. A pretty big achievement, even if it mainly happened because the Lib Dems did so atrociously. But still, beating one of the main parties is a big deal, and I’m surprised there wasn’t more media coverage of it. If you’re sick of hearing segment after segment about Nigel Farage on the BBC while the Greens are often completely ignored, please sign this petition calling for fair representation, with all five parties being represented in political programs.
Lastly, although I may be clutching at straws here, the saving grace of the UKIP frenzy is that the BNP (an even more racist party) did terribly in the election and lost their two MEPs. Thank god. I can’t believe they had two seats in the first place.
Another thing worth remembering is there’s no reason to suggest UKIP will do anywhere near this well in the general election next year. They came an impressive second in the last Euro election and then got 1% of the vote in the following year’s general election. This is partly because the European elections use proportional representation, an electoral system often thought to be fairer than the one the UK uses for national elections, because it allows every vote to count equally. Because of this, it is easier for smaller parties to gain seats under proportional representation.
We’ll have to wait and see. But I’m happy the Green party is still making steady progress.