Friday, 25 April 2014

The far right, UKIP and why we should vote in the European elections

May 22nd Europe will vote, even the bit of Europe that isn't on the continent, yes, by that I mean the UK.  What's interesting is that until about last week I thought UKIP and Nigel Farage were going to be the embarrassing winners of  a lightly attended vote thus sticking them further and more firmly on the front pages of every newspaper in the land. Turns out however that in the last few days the shine has come off of the UKIP penny, and that by their own hand.

By making it known that the money guy paying for the ads won't let the party craft the message and accepting the message this man is putting out, UKIP acknowledge once and for all they are out and out racists. No better than the BNP, The National Front and the EDL. It gets worse for them and better for us, suddenly, it would appear, parties including the Lib Dems and Labour are growing a spine, saying nice things about immigrants, talking about the real issues  of  a level labour playing field and the unchecked power of big business. The deflection of immigration and other racial issues that seemed to seep into the mainstream with the disgraceful apology by Gordon Brown for having called a racist ,  shock..... Racist, and seemed to have slipped in the  way of reasoned discussion is now giving way to a more cautious and careful approach that has in recent days broken into a full blown defence of the previously indefensible. Faced with a choice of allowing the further radicalisation of the British electorate  or fighting back, the instinct seems to finally show the revulsion of having to compete for the same handful of racist bigots who are even now tearing the Tory party to pieces. In point of fact, the rise of UKIP is directly tied to the moment the mainstream parties abandoned the moral high ground and egged on Farage and his goons in the hope of hurting the left or hurting the right. All three parties are guilty of  not seeing the danger earlier. Like the German power brokers who thought they could harness Hitler in the hope he would stop the left, they learned, tho not fast enough, that there was no holding him back once they had given him the room to grow and flourish. Are Nigel Farage and UKIP, Hitler and his Nazis? God no, but only because most of us like to think that no one would actually vote for these barking mad pedlars of fear. So far so good.

For an interesting read.... Is UKIP a party of  bigots from the New Statesman.

Links with European far-right parties ( from the article cited above)

Ukip is part of the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD). The group includes representatives of the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns Party, the Dutch SGP and the infamous Italian Lega Nord – all of them far-right. Nigel Farage is co-President of the group along with Lega Nord’s Francesco Speroni, who described multiple murderer Anders Breivik as someone whose “ideas are in defence of western civilisation."

That said, I don't for a second think that a person who is a racist and ignorant of the general easily verifiable truth out there will stop being a racist in a sudden flash of remorse; that would be too Moffat  love conquers all, but I do think that people who might have bought into the surface bile and lies and might have voted UKIP now won't. They will either stay at home or vote for parties that aren't trying to ignite a race war in the streets of Britain. What with Russia, Ukraine and fuel prices showing conclusively that we not only need the EU to stop WW3 but we need it to establish a fair social and economic balance across all of Europe. If enough rational people vote on May 22nd, the rise of the far right will not be contributed to by voters in the UK, it may even be given a solid kick in the chops by greens, socialists and even fiscal conservatives across Europe who have no problem with gays, blacks, Jews, Muslims, Romanians or Polish plumbers.

The sickening tone of the far right message regardless of where it comes from is the single greatest cause of concern in Europe today, and if isn't, it should be. The rise of the far right and it's reach into the very heart of the discussion of what it means to be European and where we should go as a block,  has so intruded on the debate, it has derailed the very real important questions that need asking even now. Is it necessary to re-arm the constituent states in order to protect ourselves from Russian hunger? Can we create a larger fairer marketplace for labour and manufacturing to thrive where even now some governments would prefer to keep stifling protectionist measures up. What ever happened to the green agenda? Like all the other issues, it's been sidetracked by apologists, climate change deniers and Eurosceptics intent on showing how bad the EU is by trying to break it.

As long as the right continues to pillory immigrants, we continue to loose sight of things like  recently released figures  showing an increasingly aged population with a shrinking pool of young people in employment also being asked to care for the elderly. Any nation state that permits immigrants, will have an easy pool of working tax payers to cushion this blow, those that wish to remain closed off will find not only that the ill equipped poorly trained local labour force is not willing to take up certain jobs but is also simply not trained to.  If you want your society to collapse, by all means, stop immigration.

And if that weren't enough.... the jobs these immigrants are going to steal have been created by a ratio of 6 out of 7 by other immigrants. In my time in North America and here in the UK I have always been aware of a certain over representation of ethnics and immigrants in the riskier parts of the economy. These people, these dangerous people, are  the ones who have been creating jobs for decades and will continue to do so. And yet, we see the ignorant and the closed minded politics of the far right in every corner of Europe scoring points on the backs of Gypsies, Jews, Turks, Africans and Muslims amongst many other selected targets. How can these people get on with life and what they do best when around every corner there are parties who's principle aim is to come to power by solving the economic woes of a country by advocating the 4th Reich?

Most recently has the acceptability of anti-Semitism, which had been on the wane overall and had in fact all but disappeared in some places, become so strong that a group of  Russian sponsored activists thought it was ok to pass out a pamphlet that appeared to officially demand that Jews in the Donetsk region register or leave. In Hungary an anti semetic and anti muslim party is the 3rd largest in Parliament, Nordic democracies long known for tolerance and social activism are lurching to the right with Muslims first and foremost in the line of fire, but hardly exclusively.

Mosley black shirts
In the 1930's, Europe from the streets of London to the Black sea, was awash with strong  read brutal regimes and parties that espoused a view of the world that we thought had died with the extinguishing of the last oven in the last German concentration camp in 1945. Alas, even the upheavals and soul searching of the 60's and 70's has not extinguished the appeal of the far right. As a child who's own father's family was split between fascist and socialist, I chose to insure in the most absolute way that never again would a Nazi, Fascist or other such scum be allowed to flourish let alone come to power. I have a bookshelf full of books  about rebuilding entire nations dating from the post war period, all of them demonstrating the incredible waste of resources and the destruction of cultural, commercial and agricultural capacity that took in some cases  over a decade to recover  and some cases never, as for the human toll, not including military deaths and collateral damage to civilians, over 12 million died in the camps that we know of .  Do we really want to go through that all over again?

So with  the next great European war simmering away on the front burner in Ukraine, Putin being hailed by the right as a strong leader who should be admired and an economic crisis hanging over the Eurozone and Europe over all, what are the actual issues that should be exorcising people today? I'm glad you asked.  How about getting on with the job of finding a new source of gas and oil other than Russia till we find new greener ways to keep warm, cook and build things. Extending the benefits of justice to every corner of the EU, keeping open a road and rail system that hasn't been this free and easy to use since the start of WW 1.  Creating a better Euro or finding another way to insure the economies of Europe already interlincked one way or the other don't fall victim to the poor judgement of one country or one sector. How about training people to participate in labour intensive lucrative industrial sectors that would make multiple parts of Europe, World leaders in industries that will not fade and die as quickly as the dot com bubble or the building boom fuelled by reckless bankers who are still asking for double bonuses and want us to pay for their mistakes.

Of course to do that, European leaders and people themselves need to admit that some of this won't be easy, and issues like food security have to take into account reality and  be less driven  by the wide eyes innocence of the 70's and 80's. Issues like regional security will include a component of choosing to stop pretending that Russia under Putin is in any hurry to become part of the Union or to be democratic. Energy security which has become more pressing since the ongoing problems in Ukraine, recently hotted up, is far from resolved. There is a school of thought that feels regulatory powers are used with little regard to reality or regional circumstances. A more focussed approach by politicians and technocrats can find the solutions if the process is not distracted by growing numbers of far right protest parties who's only goal appears to be sabotage.

So what's so bad about having a few clown fish from every nation sitting in Strasbourg? Surely these far from rational people are not harming the greater dream of an integrated Europe? Well maybe they are. Every time deputations like those of UKIP do not vote on key issues or worse vote against what even the most Eurosceptic Tory would find reasonable , even important, they help create a block of hate that gives oxygen to the views of parties  like Golden Dawn, Jobbik and many others. Despite the lack of  awareness the average British voter has regarding The EU or because of it, small numbers of determined nutters are taking the jobs of what should be Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and Green MEPs . The voice of Britain in Europe is the sound of screeching hyenas baying at the moon and waving their toy plastic swords in defence of the fantasy white world that never existed. In their haste to show just how useless the European Parliament is, UKIP were 6 among the 14 to vote against a ban on elephant ivory poaching.  Just what did the elephants ever do to UKIP ? There isn't a day that doesn't go by where yet another elected UKIP swivel eyed loon pops his or her head over the ramparts for a shot at everything the Daily Mail hates and a few things even the Daily Mail have yet to hate.

And so what is it that will convince the great British electorate that what happens in Europe, even far off Kiev with whom the UK have 5 iron clad treaties of cooperation and defence, is as important to them as Paris, London or Manchester?  How will the suffering and deaths of people in Donetsk, the consequent ripples of worry all through Central Europe from Warsaw to Vienna, the utter misery of being Greek or Spanish in austerity finally convince Britons it has something to do with them? I would like to think they care now, but I know most of them are oblivious to events further than their doorstep and couldn't even name their own MP let alone consider what occurs in Brussels as significant to them. However there will come a time when the specific events in the Ukraine and the need for a united Pan European reaction to Putin and his empire will make it all very close to home. Will it take the near break out of WW3? Will it take the tripling of gas and oil prices? Will it perhaps come when the average Briton sees the rest of Europe as just another place where they can, like anybody else, go forth and seek work, their own back yard, the next county over.  Maybe then . At some point the people of Britain will take as seriously European elections as they do the ones to Westminster, till that day we need to keep working at getting the numbers up steadily in order to insure that come election night, we won't be sending any more UKIP etc... fruitcakes to  Brussels than we absolutely have to.

 I'll be voting Labour as they are part of the Socialist block (S & D), their platform is one  I find practical to apply, creating a world closer to my liking. I have chosen a path that is not hatred and isolation, I have chosen a path that promises a solution to the  challenges facing the greater society we live in. I urge you to explore the blocks on your own and see where you fit in. Be part of the dialogue that is Europe.

If you have not yet registered for the election , you have till May 6th.... don't delay.

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