It does not feel like it in the UK, but these European elections are actually about something. The European Parliament is the only directly elected institution of the EU. Whichever political group holds a relative majority within it matters in more then one way. Which potential cross party majorities are possible after the elections will have an impact on the next 5 years of policy making on the European level.
In the last 5 years the conservative EPP-ED was the largest group in the European Parliament. 21 out of 27 member-state governments are run/dominated by conservatives. A majority of Commissioners are Conservative as is the President of the European Commission.
Conservatives in Europe have been driving a neo-liberal agenda, liberalising markets and doing nothing to prevent the economic crisis or at least attempting to engineer a softer landing. The Party of European Socialists PES (of which the Labour Party is a member) has been calling for years for better regulation of financial markets, and decisive action against tax havens and tax fraud.
It is of particular irony – if latest opinion polls are to be trusted – that voters in the UK are flocking to the Tories who have been part of the European conservatives who have been responsible for those policies coming out of Brussels which voters do not like.
UK voters are moving to the Conservatives and UKIP, if polls are right. Both parties are advocating less Social Europe – especially for workers in Britain- and some Tories are trying in Westminster to effectively do away with the minimum wage. UKIP and Tories alike have voted against the ending of the UK opt out on the Working Time Directive. They want a Europe of free trade only, with as little human rights, as little welfare state and as little protection of the environment as possible.
A land slide victory for the Tories/UKIP in these elections will do irreparable damage to Britain’s long term national interest and in particular the interest of a vast majority of her citizens. Low and middle income earners in the UK need more Social Europe not less, need more effective European and global regulation of financial markets.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP holds the view that too much EU regulation is responsible for the economic crisis. I am sure Poul Nyrop Rasmussen MEP (PES president) did not know whether to laugh or cry standing next to Nigel on “Record Europe” (the BBC EU news show). Farage pointing to his expertise on the subject – “I have worked as an investment banker in the City of London” is therefore attempting too steal the mantle from the Tories for UKIP to be the new political wing of the banking sector.
Economic crisis, banker bonuses, tax havens, tax evasion and tax avoidance, that’s yesterday’s news.
The British electorate is going to make a momentous decision on the future of Britain and the future of Europe without realising it, being too distracted by MP expenses.
Keep fighting for Britain’s future! – Vote Labour on June 4!