Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Many voters are accusing UKIP of
misleading them, after it emerged that the party's
primary mandate is not, as many expected, an
invitation for the electorate to have a little
In case you’ve been living in a cave, (or in Switzerland) there has recently been another revolution of the European parliamentary merry go round. Considering the turnout of the electorate, the coverage given by television and the press to last weekend’s elections has been somewhat disproportionate. More people watch Eastenders each week than bothered to get to a polling station on Thursday, but we don’t see David Dimbleby anchoring a fully interactive-digital-via-satellite extravaganza charting the rise and fall of Dot Cotton’s popularity levels, do we? More’s the pity.
Needless to say I watched the coverage on BBC1, and quite a spectacle it was too. No wonder the journalists from television centre have been haranguing the Labour ministers about when a General Election will be called; they just cannot wait to bust out their newest CGI vote analysis experience. Forget John Snow and his ‘Swingometer’ – here we have Jeremy Vine pirouetting around a three-dimensional and interactive computer generated white room with more statistics at his disposal with a waft of his digitised hand than most Government departments could leave on a train in months. If you didn’t catch it, I’m sure the BBC hasn’t made it awfully difficult for you to find it online. In fact, it is so futuristic in a James Bond kind of way, that it might even find you.
And so, the computery bells and whistles confirmed to us what we already knew would happen to the Labour vote. To be fair to Brown and co, despite the drubbing, they kept their end up in London reasonably well, although I am convinced that the omnipresence of Boris Johnson will boost Labour’s vote in anything political (if even subconsciously) as long as the walking blonde disaster exists in city hall. BNP supporters will no doubt tear themselves away from beating immigrants long enough to celebrate Fat Hitler (look at his picture again, and draw a moustache) Nick Griffin’s victory in the North West. He will join party colleague Andrew Brons, who will both presumably sit huddled next to each other in fright inside the European parliament building, suddenly aware that they are surrounded by their worst nightmare; a bunch of angry foreigners. Good luck chaps.
They won’t be alone however. There has been a big swing towards the right this time around, with almost all of the socialist parties in continental Europe losing ground to centre right and beyond. Hungary has even elected a few strange looking military fascists in bodywarmers and Boy Scout neck scarves. How menacing. Aside from Germany, France and Italy, this swing to the right has been against the ruling party. Whether this is a just a ‘vote for somebody else as we’re all broke’ reaction remains to be seen, but a huge recession is never going to favour the party in power at the time (isn’t that right Gordon?).
For all its hot air, the Conservative party achieved a smaller gain than expected. It was Ukip that really stole the show, with a Kilroy Silk-free sheen that attracted much of the protest vote from the expenses scandal to land it second place overall of total votes cast. But the plaudits must surely go to Sweden’s Pirate party, who amazingly won a parliamentary seat lobbying for nothing but the freedom to share music over the Internet. This was in response to the closure of file sharing site piratebay.com and the imprisonment of its creators, and it does beg the question; what exactly does a Swedish computer geek with no real agenda do day in day out at the European Parliament? Will he even turn up? Or will he use his 70,000 Euro salary to actually buy his music and render himself obsolete?
Now all is said and done, it is back to work for the MEP’s. If the wage doesn’t prove enough for them, there is always the 200 Euro daily rate for actually turning up. That should pay for lunch. Back home in Blighty, we will all seek a vaccine to help treat our election fever, and hope that we can become immune for the next strain come the general election. Things might not look so good for him, but Gordon Brown should count himself lucky. At least he’s not stuck in a virtual statistic room until it happens like poor old Jeremy Vine.