The People’s Vote is still an attainable goal to many Remainers, 3 years on from the original referendum that only a handful of people wanted. Now half the country is angry about either their vote not being respected or the referendum itself being a lie. However, UKIP and other Leavers got what they wanted, and made the most of a terrible political decision made by David Cameron.
Several local elections and a General Election later we have reached the EU elections we were never meant to have. What was the low point of the political calendar in the past has become the Waterloo of Brexit. Both sides seem to be gearing up for battle on Thursday, and yet again one side seems to have the upper hand: the Brexit party.
Manifesto-less with a handful of political nobodies and former politicians that have worn out the reality TV circuit, the Brexit Party is leading in the polls with ex-UKIP personality, Nigel Farage. He who ran away from the public when he realised no one had an answer to leaving the EU, despite being an MEP with that sole mission for over 20 years.
The Brexit Party are ahead, and the Farage’s former home UKIP has been highjacked by milkshake wearing YouTube personalities and ex-football hooligans. Yet due to the EU elections voting method, even Tommy Robinson could be given a position to spout his Islamophobic views from.
Britain is not alone with the rise of the far right. The Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy have all seen the return of far right nationalist parties, who are this week planning a trip to Brussels. Many feel this could derail the European project and be used as a weapon against its own goals. Liberty, freedom, inclusive communities and the European identity will be Remainers dreams of the past.
As this goes on in our own country, we ignore what is going on in the very continent the Remainers want to be a part of. Whether the leavers like it or not, we have to have a relationship with the EU.
The EU Parliament is made up of 750 seats. They are distributed depending on the size of the country, the UK gets around 75 seats. Inside this parliament there are several groups which form to represent their common political outlooks. You have groupings of different political parties from all 27 countries it includes groups of conservatives, liberals, greens and socialists.
Europe of Nations and Freedom which houses UKIP and the French National Front has 36 seats, another nationalist block is Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy that the Brexit Party plan to join along with far right Alternative for Germany, they have 41 seats. These are predicted to increase.
The biggest block at the moment are the right leaning liberals the European People’s Party group, of which Germanys ruling party is a member of and the group that Change UK plan to join if they are lucky enough to get any seats. Pictures of their half dead political talks make you wonder if they will be lucky to get any seats.
68 seats belong to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group, which the Liberal Democrats are members of and are likely to increase their importance in the group even though it may only before a short time. A group that sits just above them is the Conservative Party’s group the European Conservatives and Reformists with 76 seats. Something tells me that Theresa May’s Party won’t be much help, as they still haven’t realised these elections are happening, they have a visible lack of manifesto and campaign.
The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats are the second biggest group with 186 seats. The Labour Party remains a member of this centre left group despite their move to the left since the election of Corbyn. Following the EU elections this week, the group with the largest number of seats will get to nominate new President of the Commission to replace current European Commission president – Jean-Claude Juncker. His job includes giving political guidance to the Commission who set the agenda for the parliament and formulate the policies they will vote on. The President also leads the Commission’s work in implementing EU policies, and contributes to debates in the EU.
If the Socialist and Democrats group could increase their majority then their nominee Frans Timmermans to have an influence on the current liberal-right heavy EU. Things included in his party’s manifesto include stopping austerity, greater rights for workers and women and making sure all of Europe has some form of minimum wage. They also seem eager to address the ongoing devastating refugee crisis.
This would be a change for Europe, and it would also address some issues that are pushing people to vote for far right populist parties, who are also making the EU the enemy. Firmly cementing the vision that the EU is a technocratic system that only looks out for banks. Whilst the EU have not helped themselves made evident by their treatment of Greece, among other countries during the crisis. Not forgetting their poor handling of the refugee crisis and lack of help to the poor countries that are on the front-line dealing with it. We could force it to work for good.
Now is the time to put your vote to good use rather than digging in and fighting with other Brits. Remainers and Leavers should back the Labour Party. They can help get Socialist and Democrats group over the line, as they are one of the more popular socialist parties in Europe, this alone could make a change in the direction of the EU and get a socialist as President of the Commission. We cannot achieve this if people protest and vote against Labour.
Labour are the only party committed to ending austerity, enabled by the Liberal Democrats, in the UK. They are the party of Leavers and Remainers, the only party with a viable plan for Brexit to keep a relationship with the EU whilst respecting the result of the referendum.
The point of the EU was to encourage solidarity in Europe, voting remain is not solidarity with Europe it is putting the Remain cause before Europe. The far right has already hijacked the Brexit debate, don’t let them take control of the European Union otherwise all of this would’ve been for nothing. Let’s do what Britain does best, with or without milkshakes, stand up to bullies.