Well the election results are pretty much in and various commentators and 'experts are digesting and
pontificating about what the mean.
|This sculpture at Kew Gardens
by Eduardo Paolozzi |
a British artist, the son of Italian immigrants
Here are my thoughts and musings and some views ahead of the UK general election less than a year away.
The playing field of the elections has not been as we might normally expect – the Westminster effect on freezing Council Tax has meant that it has been largely about national issues unless (like Tower Hamlets) there have been very particular effects.
UKIP have benefitedfrom a protest vote (that the Liberal Democrats were the traditional beneficiaries of prior to their entry into Government) – UKIP have no competencies (apart from a few former councilors changing parties) in Local Government – any policies that they have are likely to rely on the UK leaving the EU –e.g. improving local peoples access to affordable homes.
The idea of a UKIP run local council does not appeal to me personally - expect more stories to emerge about Farrage and his motley crew over the next months as they seek to grow into an electable party.
Interestingly in myhome ward that has 'normally returned 3 conservative councillors we have 2 Labour and one Conservative returned (there were no UKIP candidates) The Labour council has increased its majority (Labour vote up 13%) and Labour did well across the capital, better than in much of the UK.
Some believe that the younger and more cosmopolitan population sees more advantage in free (er) movement of individuals and is more open to change.
European Elections UK
Watching some of the TV coverage I was pleased to hear one commentator mentioning how lucky/fortunate we are in the UK, we do not have violence can easily exercise our democratic rights and even those parties we disagree with are pretty much unreservedly committed to the freedoms and rule of law most of hold early – In France the Front National has made great gains it is far less acceptable (to me) than UKIP – in other parts of Europe there are plenty of parties (winning votes) far more extreme that the French right wingers.
The regional effect
As before London is non typical and more and more seems like a city state – but regional variations abound, Wales which has won funds by the nature of its 'impoverishments' has more cause to appreciate the benefits of European integration than some parts of the country and UKIP has not got such a share of the vote.
Scotland leader Alex Salmond will not be buoyed up by the vote his Nationalist party does not look to be gaining momentum ahead of the independence vote and some voters there have selected a UK based protest party to register (some sort) of disapproval.
It is important also to note the effect of a proportional representation system where borders and representatives are not something most of us can feel emotively linked with which is what the MEPs in UK are elected by.(The areas are big the MEPs role unclear)
Don't forget that the voter turnout was around 33% that means for every eligible voter who voted there are two who didn't bother – this is worth keeping in mind.
The Liberal Democrats have been the big losers if UKIP is taking voters more from the Tories than Labour the Ed Miliband needs to worry, many at the UK general election will think more carefully and there'll be a bigger turnout.
The idea of retreating from the EU is unrealistic immigrants from Poland, Italy and France (for example) are embedded – many UK nationals have retired to Spain, have second homes in France and a myriad of linkages to Europe (a civilised war free continent with much to celebrate)
Be careful what you wish for – a UK away from Europe is likely to be a sadder poorer place.