Update: I've now had a third leaflet from the Conservatives, and 1/8 of a Libdem election leaflet on Europe. Still none much the wiser!!
It's Euro election day on June 4th, and I've had 8 leaflets now from 7 different parties, all after my vote:
1. The British National Party, a leaflet composed by searching Google for 'white family', which declares "it's not racist to oppose mass immigration and political correctness - it's common sense!" Maybe, but it is racist to bar black people from your party. NEXT!
2. The Labour leaflet had glued itself shut, possibly to hide the endorsement and picture of Gordon Brown inside. However, despite lots of words, I couldn't find anything to say what Labour would do as part of the Euro Parliament. It was either about domestic responses to the credit crunch, sideswipes at other parties (how can you brand an opposition party a 'do nothing' party? It's not allowed to do anything!!), or immigration. I couldn't see any positive reason for voting for Labour.NEXT!
3. Fair Pay Fair Trade Party - I initially thought this was an invitation to something run by a friend from the church, it came through the letterbox on an A5 slip of paper. They call themselves 'the most exciting political party ever' (possibly true, though there's not much competition), and have a platrofm of certified fair trade products, free rail transport, and EU help to eradicate global shortages of water for 1.2 billion people. PENDING
4. Pensioners Party "everyone is or will be a pensioner", a fascinating pot pourri, or possibly quiche, of policies, including a commitment by the MEP's to donate £20k of their salary to charity. Great idea. How they can increase interest rates on savings I have no idea, and there's some populist stuff on police and immigration. There's a whole lot more policies on their website. Ok, some may be impractical, but at least they have some ideas (see Labour). PENDING while I get my teeth.
5. UK Independence Party . 'Say No to European Union' Folks, Churchill died, like, 50 years ago. It must be said that in the very limited local poster wars, UKIP are winning. I guess anyone supporting the 3 main parties is currently too ashamed to say so. Their principle platform is to leave the EU (along with the regulation sideswipe at immigration). Single issue party, but with Post Office closures bringing EU interference onto the village green, it's a powerful single issue. RECYCLE?
6. Green Party 'Facing up to the Future'. Nice, clear, green (in both senses) leaflet. 3 commitments: economy (clean technology, workers rights and banking regulation), global responsibility (ethical foreign policiy, climate change, poverty), and environment (safe food, protect countryside, waste policy). PENDING
7. The Conservative Party sent me 2 leaflets, one through the letter box, one from David C himself. 'Vote for Change'. The letter states that my vote on June 4th will be (effectively) a mass opinion poll on the government 'it's your chance to show you want us to take a different direction', and then lists various domestic political matters. The message of the leaflet is to use June 4th as a national referendum on ID cards. There's also a picture of a serious (but open-necked) DC and bullet points on the economy, NHS and a referendum on the EU Constitution. The trouble is that it's not an opinion poll, it's an election, I will be voting for MEP's, and I want to know what they will do. Cameron's message is 'oh, forget about all that and tell us what you think of Labour'. NEXT!
the Libdems Euro leaflet hasn't arrived, though the local county councillor's was the first through the door (for the local elections, so far nobody else seems to be campaigning on those). It had some of the, now notorious, Libdem bar charts, but he got us £6k for Street Pastors so I'm happy.
- The really really sad thing is that the parties with the most ideas, and the most positive message, are those least likely to be elected. The most negative parties are the two biggest ones.
- Some parties are trying to make this a single issue election (UKIP, Conservatives, BNP to some degree), whilst others are about using Europe as a means to deliver change (Green, Fair Trade). I guess the Pensioners Party are more focused on UK issues, but are standing anyway.
- Whatever the result, it will need to go down in the history books with an asterisk because of the Daily Telegraph and the MP expenses saga. We have lost all chance of it being a proper election based on proper debate about real policies and philosophies. That's a great shame.
- Pretty much everyone is promising curbs on immigration, so they virtually cancel each other out (except the BNP, who would close the borders to anyone with a sun tan or a funny accent. Don't holiday on the Med if the BNP gets in power, you might never be allowed to return home!). With the credit crunch, immigration is now curbing itself anway.
If it's all too confusing, Church Mouse has some handy tips on how to work out who to vote for.