I live in Brighton Pavilion and Caroline Lucas is my member of parliament. As a politically active
citizen, sorry, subject ~ we’ve still got a monarchy ~ I would like to be able to ask her to support various campaigns and vote according to my wishes. Trouble is, I don’t have to because her politics are virtually indistinguishable from mine and she’s already on the case. She works so hard for me that I’m becoming worried about the inevitable effects on her personal life. Does she even have time for one?
How many of us can joke about that? How many of us can be sure that our political representatives actually turn up at the places we’ve elected them to? Almost all Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs comply with a parliamentary scam known as ‘the pairing system’. Under this scheme, organised by the party whips, MPs intending to vote in opposite directions need not attend. That’s why the House of Commons is so often empty when it shown on television.
Call me old fashioned but I think people should turn up to work at the place they’re paid to be in. They shouldn’t be swanning around the world of business lunches and soaking up lobbying junkets. That isn’t genuine political work, it’s self-aggrandisement. My MP works every weekend. Remember her getting arrested at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe? That was on a Sunday! She was acquitted of all charges, by the way.
Elections to the European Parliament are run on a party list system, which means that the parties select candidates in order of their priorities and we just vote for the party. Members of the European Parliament are elected according to the proportions of votes cast for their parties and their place on their party list.
If I was an employer considering who to give a job to, I would want to know whether the candidates were:
- qualified for the post
- able to get along with others
- hard working
Before you vote for your preferred party in Europe, ask yourself whether they tend to respect international law and enforce sanctions against breaches of it. The Labour Party is damned on this front, with war criminals in its ranks. Have they previously chosen candidates which didn’t stick to their manifesto promises or are they unreliable? Obviously, the Liberal Democrats score very badly here. Parties which persistently ignore their European colleagues and show active disinterest in European affairs are unlikely to secure alliances across the borders. That ruins the suitability of the Tories. Do they persistently just claim expenses and complain from the sidelines? That’s UKIP stuffed.
I’m voting Green. I’m not a party member, before you ask. They’re not perfect but they’re a whole load better than the alternatives. This is the European Parliament we’re getting ready to elect, not a glorified seaside town council. It is stuffed with Greens from other countries. We’ll be electing more to join them, to work with them, to make Europe a greener, positive and constructive economy.