Wednesday, 28 May 2014

What didn’t just happen?

A week ago was the eve of the UK’s round of the European Parliamentary elections. Here’s what didn’t happen next.

Trooper Lee Rigby did not cast a ballot; nor did any of the 52 Londoners murdered on 7/7 who might have been entitled to vote. But perhaps some people inside and outside our sophisticated multicultural capital city remembered those events and did something a little…off while remembering them, despite being told that doing something a little off might eventually bring violence to Britain’s streets. Join the queue.  
The unemployed unknowingly and innocently displaced by cheap immigrant labour did not strike a blow for serious immigration reform, but perhaps some of them noticed not being picked for the factory job or the cleaning position at the motel and decided to do something probably ineffective about it.
The nation’s patriots did not rise up as one to demand an end to the UK’s membership of the EU. In fact a majority of those who voted at all did so for parties committed to staying in the EU and which notionally offer instead thorough, deep and lasting reform of EU institutions to the betterment of everyday life and international prestige for Britain, unlikely as it seems. But, hey: people still buy lottery tickets every week despite the odds against ever winning a large sum. But voting for political parties is rarely the exercise of fine-tuned choice: parties are portfolios of interests so diverse as to make cable TV bundling seem like pick ‘n mix by comparison. But some folk may have noticed that the peace and plenty (and the banishment of right-wing nationalism often predicted if the European Project does not roll on unchecked) that the EEC, EC, EU’s enthusiasts promised us are not too obvious today. Maybe some Britons remembered those promises and threats and did…something else. Rather like lots of other Europeans with whose parties our masters would prefer UKIP not to associate because pan-European political alliances are a bad thing – did you notice that?

Oh, and after three days of editorial postmortems it doesn’t seem that a significant part of the British electorate has given the three parties with a combined age of 400 +years much reason to reflect, remember, and change their ways.

Other things that did not happen that you might like to remember sometime in 2015:

Overall government debt did not go down. Pension funding did not increase for most people. Savers still aren’t getting much return for investing in our banks. The two million or so baseline unemployed figure did not shrink noticeably. Britain’s streets and housing estates did not become visibly safer or more peaceful. Nor did the parts of Europe where Britons visit to trade and study. Educational standards did not rise nor, as far as I can see, did the efficiency and cleanliness of our hospitals, the nutrition provided for the children of this country or the care for its pensioners, though I may have missed some spectacular initiatives. Our jurisprudence did not become simpler nor justice easier to access, nor did convicted criminals show much sign of seeing the error of their ways. Our mobile phone and other internet services might have become cheaper and better but, well, who do we have to thank for that? Not, I think, any of the institutions in charge of our roads or the parties who have governed them for decades.

You could argue that none of the trivia in the above paragraph is the direct or even indirect responsibility of the EU and its institutions… But if the EU is so remote from our daily lives, what’s the point of being in the EU at all?

Notice. Remember. 2015.

Picture from here.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Exciting time - they do appear a bit worried in the "legacy" parties.


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