So tomorrow we are encouraged to go and vote for MEPs to represent us in the EU Parliament, in an election if Article 50 had been duly followed would not have happened. There are 12 Regions and a number of MEPs are elected from each region; in mine (East of England) that number is 7. Having just gone down the list for own region, I find I know NONE of the candidates (see here) and except for leaflets in the door from UKIP and the Brexit Party, that do not say much, I have little information to go on, not helped by media coverage which at best takes a national perspective if not a regional one. It then becomes a matter of finding what each party stands for, which isn’t too difficult to work out given media coverage, and voting accordingly. While EU elections are traditionally seen not to matter much and are often not a lot to do with Europe, given the current Brexit debacle this time it will take on extra significance.
As I have discussed in recent blog articles (see here and here), I have little problem identifying what each party stands for as we are awash with information. While I have enough to go on when deciding which party to vote for, if that were the main criteria, I don’t if I want to vote on the basis of who is the best candidate. I am an unashamed euro skeptic that voted leave in the referendum and then looked on with consternation at the mess our politicians (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat) have made when it comes to deciding on which basis we should leave and their individual acts of betrayal (discussed in my 7 previous Brexitwatch articles). That whittles the choice, as far as I am concerned, down to two parties: UKIP and the Brexit Party. While it is difficult to work out what the Brexit Party stands for other than getting out of Europe. UKIP have struck me as being too extreme, and unlikely to win many seats given they are up against the Brexit Party this time. Even though, as far as representing regional / UK interests, Brexit like UKIP before them are more a spoiler party, I have little doubt that when I vote it will be for them. Regarding Nigel Farage, he is a flawed character to be sure and the dirty tricks cabal have been out to get him over his expenses and the way the party he now leads is funded, concerning Brexit he gets it, arguing his case well!
If opinion polls are to be believed (often they aren’t) Brexit will win the lion’s share of the seats on offer in tomorrow’s election and this will have a significant bearing on the end game phase leading to the UK leaving the EU. Nothing is decided to be sure and Mrs May’s attempt at being all things to all men looks likely to backfire and her fourth attempt at getting her Withdrawal Bill through Parliament looks likely to fail. This will only intensify the impasse we are presently in if as is currently the case Parliament is against leaving with no deal. Unless something changes, options include a second referendum or even a general election, we are set to leave October 30th, even if no deal has been agreed. Neither are prospects I relish given the state of the parties and none of the front runners to replace Mrs May as leader of the Conservatives, elections for which will shortly happen, I am particularly supportive of. But two things could change all that: the European move toward popularism looks likely to continue and if other EU countries return euroskeptic MEPs that will have a bearing on future negotiations. It could even lead to the break up the EU as we know it – but then I am running ahead of myself. And of course, if the Brexit Party and UKIP do well, this will send a strong message to our Westminster politicians as to what the people think. Despite disrespecting what people voted for 23 June 2016 (see here) they will under much pressure to rethink.
If asked who I think people should vote for, my first answer is the best candidates that will represent your views and the needs of the British people, but if pressed further I have to say: the Brexit Party.