The European Elections

Saturday 17th May

Every five years all over Europe there are elections to the European Parliament. And the weird thing is that here in Britain it is a vehicle for a largely anti-European vote.  UKIP has done well in both the last two elections and is widely expected to top the poll this time.  We are ostensibly voting for legislators to a parliament which will help to make the EU a better place for its citizens and yet we regularly vote for a party that wants nothing to do with Europe, that wants us to leave in fact.  And even if every single one of the seventy three Members of the European Parliament were from UKIP, they could no more achieve their objective than if none were.

So, the big question is, “Is this simply a protest vote, or will it be business as usual in a year’s time at the General Election?”  In other words will UKIPs expected success in these fairly “harmless” elections carry over into the “important” one which will decide who runs Britain.  Of course Nigel Farage would probably say that until we leave Europe then no-one in Britain runs Britain.  I would like to think that of course, everything will return to normal at the General Election, that UKIP is just a protest vote, which will burst before long.  But the reality is that it probably won’t.  It may deflate somewhat come the General Election, I would be surprised if they get more than 20% of the vote.  Nick Clegg who had what many considered a very good election in 2010 did rather less well when the votes were actually counted.

Mind you 20% or anything approaching that would be devastating for both Labour and the Tories.  With our out-dated first past the post system anyone polling around 20% will upset the apple cart.  With four parties vying for votes and all in with some sort of a chance anything can happen.  MPs could well be elected with less than 30% of the votes cast on the day.  So, all those clever mathematically weighted predictions go out of the window, and there are bound to be more than a few rogue results.  I fear that we are heading for another Coalition, which could well be a Tory, UKIP, LibDem mix.   Unless Labour get their somewhat messy act together they can no longer rely on the Tories messing up.  In fact it is looking decidedly likely that the Tories may get the largest share of the vote, if not the most MPs.  Dangerous times ahead, and these Euro elections could well be a pointer towards that.