I popped into my mum’s flat today. She was out, but the postie had deposited two UKIP flyers bearing Nigel Farage’s smirking mug on the mat. (If you’re not from the UK, UKIP stands for “The UK Independence Party”, and Nigel Farage is its leader.)
UKIP has been achieving its aim of “ruffling a few feathers among the chattering classes” with the launch of a hard-hitting poster campaign which has been branded as “racist”, for the forthcoming European Elections on 22 May.
I expect the reaction of my mum, who lives in the west end of Glasgow, will be like that of most people who live in the west end of Glasgow – something along the lines of: “I’m not one of those crazed xenophobic immigrant-bashers! I’m voting for a party that supports the EU!”
So in my twisted, Machiavellian way of thinking, I’m starting to see the whole UKIP theatre as a political ploy to make voting in support of the EU appear to be the obvious “rational” option. If you are deeply distrustful of the EU – as I have come to be, partly due to the secretive and undemocratic TTIP treaty (and why is there an EU Minister for Enlargement?) – people will see you as a xenophobic, immigrant-phobic UKIP supporter. You will be seen as a pompous fuddy-duddy.
(Just in case there is any confusion, I will NOT be voting for UKIP, on 22 May or at any other time.)
Could the Green Party have the answer? Their stated policy on Europe is this:
The Green Party wants a reformed Europe with governing institutions designed to resist capture by corporations and instead work democratically and cooperatively in the public interest. We will promote self-determination of nations and regions acting independently on local issues, whilst protecting the ability to cooperate on global issues that affect us all, like fisheries protection, climate change or human rights.
Sounds a bit wishy-washy to me. I like the bit about resisting capture by corporations, but what is the Green Party going to do to achieve this? Pray?
The statement on the EU from the Pirate Party is more robust. I would vote for them if they had a candidate in my constituency, which, sadly, they don’t. I suppose there’s only one answer to that. I’ll think about it.