Well the elections are over and the dust has mostly settled, so how did it go? The BBC website has the eastern region results (the results for the UKIP are inconsistent but I have pointed it out to them so it may get corrected).
Basically what happened is that Labour and the Tories both lost a seat, the UKIP gained one, and the Liberal democrats held steady with one. These four parties took all the seats between them. Of the others, Martin Bell did the best with 6.2% of the vote, followed by the Green Party with 5.6% (disappointingly down 0.6% compared to last time). The BNP got 4.3%, up from only 0.9% last time so I guess they are happy.
Respect only managed 0.9% which must have been a devastating blow after all the work they put in - so why did they do so badly? Perhaps anti-war people were less likely to vote (below voting age or disillusioned with party politics), or voted on other issues, or voted for other anti-war parties or candidates. Did anti-war feeling actually affect the results much at all then? Well, the two distinctly pro-war parties were Labour and the Tories, who lost 8.9% and 11.9% respectively. Martin Bell picked up over 6% and he was staunchly anti-war. The Greens were also anti-war and I don't know why they didn't pick up a few more votes. The Lib Dems were sort of anti-war and they picked up 2%. The only other major change was the 10.7% gain for the UKIP and if they have a policy on Iraq I certainly don't know what it is. So I reckon that perhaps 10% of the vote moved due to anti-war feeling, and another 10% due to anti-Europe feeling.
I got into a discussion on a list today with a guy who did not vote in the election because he would consider that to be an endorsement of a system he does not accept. The last thing I said to him was that if he sincerely feels that way he should go to vote but spoil his ballot paper, because otherwise he is indistinguishable from the voters who don't vote because they simply don't care or can't be bothered.
That lead to an email discussion with another guy about voting systems in general. While checking out the stuff at wikipedia I came across Arrow's Impossibility Theorem and then later Starhawk's Consensus is Not Unanimity: Making Decisions Co-operatively, adapted from Randy Schutt.
Judging by the inordinate number of cars sprouting one or more England flags, and the lack of party political posters in people's windows, the phrase "Euro 2004" seems to be far more closely associated with the game of football than it does with choosing the people who will be making the laws under which we will all be forced to suffer.
I have learned that independent candidate Jim Naisbitt does indeed have a website.
Just one week left now. Leaflets have been appearing through my letterbox from all the main contenders. I can see how a lot of people might vote for the BNP based on what it says in their leaflet, but a quick look at Stop the BNP would probably dissuade most of them.
With only two weeks to go until the elections, the deadline for nominations is now well past and we know exactly who is standing (although someone in the Local Government Information Bureau is not doing their job because their list of candidates is incomplete and has not been updated for ages). The BBC however are on the ball and have got lots of useful information on this Eastern Region page from which I have taken the following list:
I feel so strongly about the US Invasion of Iraq that it is the primary issue on which I shall be voting - on this basis my choice seems to be Green Party, Respect or Martin Bell. Of course the Liberal Democrats are also trying to cash in on the anti-war vote, but although they probably stand a greater chance of gaining at least one seat I am not convinced that they have done enough to oppose the invasion so if I voted for them it would be a tactical vote. But I have almost made up my mind to say bugger tactics and vote for my first choice, which is the Green Party.
Jim Naisbitt is an unknown quantity - I have no idea who he is or what he stands for. If he doesn't make a damn good effort to increase his profile (or he has secret army of supporters) I would guess that his deposit is as good as lost.
On Sunday I went to check out an anti-racist carnival at Ponders End recreation ground, organised by Enfield Unite Against Fascism. There were a lot of SWP types touting for business and "Respect" were campaigning hard for votes. But the main message was for people to just get out and vote - there is a real fear that voter apathy will hand seats on a plate to the BNP.
A few days ago I got my first visit from a candidate but he was standing in the local elections, not the Euros. He was from the Labour Party and when I opened the door he said "I like the stickers" or something. He was clearly referring to the stickers on my door which include several for anti-war demos, one of an evil Uncle Sam type character gobbling up the Earth and saying "Just try and stop us", and one for Mayday 2003 including the text "All politicians are liars". Furthermore, when I explained how I was loath to vote for any Labour candidate because of the Iraq issue he told me that he supported the invasion - what a wally!
Charles Kennedy has made it clear that the Lib Dems are out to harvest the Iraq protest vote.
Mike Pitt has updated his Euro 2004 page incorporating a couple of my suggestions.
The board of Your Party have recommended against fielding candidates in June but members get to vote on it and the result will be known in a couple of days.
For what it is worth I may as well briefly sketch my thoughts on some of the issues. There has been much anti-European and anti-Immigration noise lately but I am fairly neutral on these issues. The BNP stands to gain support over the immigration issue but don't be fooled by the sanitised image of a party which is the natural home of neo-Nazi thugs. I don't know what to say about Europe - I just want as little government as possible and for it to be at the appropriate (local/regional/national/european/international) level. For those who fear that the UK might become little more than a state in a United States of Europe I would say that a likely consequence of a rejection of Europe would be for us to become little more than the 51st State of the USA (that being the alleged goal of certain elements of the UKIP). Regarding the Invasion of Iraq, I am loath to vote for any party that supported UK involvement. Finally there are green issues (climate change, GMOs etc) which are very important to me. So, of the officially declared parties here is how I would rank them:
I will discuss tactical voting closer to the election.
I was surfing the web today in search of any useful information pertaining to the June European Parliament Elections. As I live in Hertfordshire I will be focusing on the Eastern Region where we will be choosing 7 Euro MPs. I was planning to put up a comprehensive guide but it seems that Mike Pitt is doing a good job already so I recommend going to his Euro 2004 page.
One useful site that Mike has not mentioned is that of the Local Government Information Bureau which also has a pretty good guide to the elections, including links to many other sources on information.
The current list of candidates includes those from the three big "mainstream" parties (lib/lab/con) as well as ones representing the Green Party and the UK Independence Party. The closing date for nominations is 2004-05-13 so we won't have the full picture till then but I do know that the following parties have announced their intention to field candidates:
Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of UK political parties.
I only know of one person intending to stand as an independent - see Martin Bell For Europe.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010