Despite their alarming success elsewhere in the country, on Friday I was selfishly quite cocky about the fact that UKIP hadn’t managed to win any seats in the local elections in Exeter. What an enlightened, multicural region I thought. My gloating was brought to an abrupt halt however as the last thing I saw before bed on Facebook last night was an article from the local paper announcing that they had beaten everyone else in the European elections in pretty much every area of the south west and now have 3 MEPs representing the South West (compared with the Conservative’s 2, Labour’s 1 and Green’s 1). My heart sank.
With only Scotland left to declare, UKIP got 27.5% of the vote in England and Wales and are the first political party in history with no MP’s to win the European elections. Farage has confirmed that he will stand as a candidate for Prime Minister in next year’s general election. A sombre day for British politics.
So where do we go from here? I’m not really sure but I know that I definitely dont want to live in a UKIP led Britain. The thought terrifies me; this meme is going round with some of their policies and when you look at it, it seems unbelievable that almost 30% of voters would have picked them. The only saving grace is that hopefully a lot of those were protest votes. But even that is small consolation, voting in protest is not the answer and just gives more power to those you don’t actually support.
Add to this the increasing frustration and anger at the media’s (especially the BBC’s) bias against the Green Party. To quote one petition on the matter:
We feel the BBC News coverage of the European and, specifically, Local Elections has, to date, been unfairly biased against the Green Party. This bias is not only evident in the almost complete absence of coverage of the Green Party during the Local Election results, but also prior to this during the campaign for the European and Local Elections on Thursday 22nd May.
Whilst we understand that UKIP have made gains in the Local Elections, it has gone largely unreported that the Green Party currently have a total of 162 Councillors and are now the official opposition in Liverpool, Solihull, Islington, Lewisham, and Norwich (15 councillors to Labour’s 21). They gained two seats in Bristol, one with over 47% of the vote and retained a third seat, bringing the total to 6. They have one MP, one member of the House of Lords, two MEP’s, two MSP’s, two London Assembly members, as well as a Green-led Council in Brighton & Hove; none of these (with the exception of the MEP’s and House of Lords members) are privileges enjoyed by UKIP.
To quote ‘Tim G.’ in the comments section below: “The continual swamping of our news services about UKIP (a single topic campaign party), gave them an unfair advantage over parties trying to address the real problems in the UK, both political & environmental…”
The BBC prides itself on painting a fair and unbiased picture of events, however in this case we feel they have not done so. UKIP should be receiving coverage proportional to their achievements, acachievements which are currently less than those of the Green Party.
(You can sign this petition here)
So we have three main parties that have isolated much of the population with not much difference in policies and a habit of keeping the rich rich regardless of how that impacts everyone else, a far right party gaining support and attention with sensationalist tactics and outrageous statements and as far as I can see, just one major party that seems to actually care about the people, the environment and is committed to evening out inequalities in our society and working towards a sustainable future.
What I do know is that those of us that are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs and what looms on the horizon need to stop just complaining and actually get up and do something. Which is why I will be joining the Green Party and doing what I can to campaign for them in my area. If we want the status quo to change and improve for the better we need to get in on the action and become participators, not just spectators.
What are you going to do?
There’s not much left to say at this point so I’ll leave you with the words of the Once-ler at the end of The Lorax:
‘UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.