… ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the Normandy beach landings, undertaken in the knowledge of inevitable sacrifice in order to bring about the liberation of a Nazi-occupied Europe and a move toward peace and co-operation, which would lead to eventual political and economic union, established with intent to limit the possibility of a for centuries war-torn continent beating ten bells of shite out of itself ever again…
…and the collective short-term memory of the apathetic lottery-ticketed British, taking, in their condemnation of politicians’ expenses, their self-righteous disgust out on the government – when it’s parliament’s fault (wrong election!) – thus mandating populist reaction-exploiting, allowances-skimming reactionaries, whose actual European agenda are, at best, questionable?
Worth considering, perhaps.
The Nationalists did relatively well in Scotland in these Euro elections. Luckily, they’re kilty, cuddly, friendly Scottish Nationalists, who just hate being part of greater Englandshire; rather than British Nationalists, who hate anything that isn’t warm beer, fish’n’chips, Al Murray, or sanctioned by the Daily Mail.
See this article for a very cogent explanation of why more than 900,000 people voted for the BNP.
What irritates me beyond measure is the reaction to this fact. We live in a democracy, wherein people are entitled to vote for what they like, even if it’s for parties whose views you find abhorrent (and I do find the BNP abhorrent).
What we have is a kind of self-indulgent hand-wringing on the part of the Guardian-reading classes, who bemoan the success of the BNP while doing nothing to address the causes of its success, or changing the minds of the people who exercised their democratic right in the BNP’s favour. (It is typical of Guardianistas to say that everyone is entitled to their views provided it doesn’t differ from their own).
Where did all these BNP votes come from? They came from parts of the world that were once Labour strongholds – the industrial Northwest, and Yorkshire. However, what seems to have happened is that New Labour has lost touch with their grassroots support in these places. While the NuLab apparatchiks quaff champagne and sun-dried organic tofu in Islington, talking about Diversity and Equality and Political Correctness and sending their accounts to Comrade Fidel D’Expenses, their (former) voters worry about immigration. Whether they are right to worry about such things is another matter (I’m for completely unrestricted immigration), but in politics, particularly under NuLab, perception is reality.
What’s happened, then, is that the Labour vote collapsed. The Tory vote did very little to fill it (I suspect that most disaffected Tories vote UKIP anyway), leaving a dangerous power vacuum.
Whole lotta irony on this thread this afternoon… ;-)
I’ve re-tagged my post on a similar topic to be in line with your tag, but would simply remark that the fair lack of interest in our two posts reflects general non-interest in European politics. Except for those who really care, as in Henry’s postulated immigration-obsessed former Labour voters, or the newish Green party in France, which had quite a surprisingly decent showing in the end this time around.
But you are right, Lee, that the juxtaposition is ironic.
In my home we voted the pirates higher than the Swedish[national]democrats…. (Sweden and the Pirate Part) and the two major parties took a hit or two. It’s rather looked as “we don’t like the politics at the moment” than anything else. Like Henry was alluding to. After all, both the party in majority in parliament and the party in majority in the government did very poorly (not that you would know reading what their leaders say but rather what the people and everyone else say).
My own interpretation of this is that there is a similar feeling in Europe like back in the mid 20ies (although I am guessing here since I didn’t live then) with unemployment and a feeling of “how are we going to live through this” [insert something about “national culture” that will or will not withstand the test of time].
If nothing else I personally wish for the european parliament [or our own national parliament for that matter] to listen to what this means and look for what people care about to make this apathy and disdain go away. After all, the people we elect to do this job needs to do something that we all care about since we are paying them money for it, right?!?
It’s not ironic at all. People died so that we could make this kind of choice. That people tend to be closed-minded and blinkered should come as no surprise to anyone. I don’t see why you’re so superior about it all.
Richard – who’s being superior about what? People died, yes, but the elective choices made in different countries differed quite a lot from one another. No pirates were elected in France for one thing, and the Front National made a very poor showing for another. The only thing that was in common across the continent, was the relative indifference. And that was as true in Germany and Italy, as in the other set of countries allied amongst each other 65 years ago.
I think the only underlying truth is that when the going gets really tough, the voter (or soldier) participation goes up, because the outcome matters. Which could be taken to mean either that things are not actually that bad right now, or else to mean that no political party has proposed convincingly useful solutions at a European level that the electorate thinks will impact their lives. I’d favor a bit of both hypotheses.
me too, actually. It was pointed out that there were only two seats, and it was only the councils… So given the disaffection it’s encouraging that the BNP did as poorly as they did.
You see this all the time, actually, in places like Lincolnshire where (usually: different this time round) they return a Labour councillor but a Conservative MP.
While the NuLab apparatchiks quaff champagne and sun-dried organic tofu in Islington, talking about Diversity and Equality and Political Correctness and sending their accounts to Comrade Fidel D’Expenses
Head asplode!ELEVENTY1111 ZOMG Whole Foods was totally out of the sun-dried organic tofu, so we were forced to buy the Mori-Nu extra firm tofu in a carton! Oh noes! I had to drink a handcrafted organic caffeine-free acai berry – opuntia – Asian pear – plantain soda, NOT made with HFCS, just to calm my frazzled nerves
The US equivalents of the NuLab apparatchiks are equally out of touch, so not surprising that they are politically blindsided on a regular basis. Perhaps the article that Henry linked should be translated into Elite Liberal Americanese.
… their children are always called Tarquin and Jocasta and attend expensive private schools, whilke the children of those they claim to represent, who are called Wayne and Chardonnay and attend the local sink state-funded school. They are all suposed to be just the same, but for NuLab, read Eloi and Morlocks.
Here their children are named after medieval European guilds: Cooper, Chandler, Mason, Taylor, Tanner, Farrier, Goatmilker, Weaver … oh wait, the last one is a mutant mouse name. Never mind. And they attend fancy private schools as well, but that’s a more recent trend, typical of affluent liberals. Liberal, progressive parents in the 1960s and 1970s were more likely to support public (American definition) schools, in both word and action. I was educated in the Houston public school system from first grade through high school, and I wuz liek edumicated reel gud.
Over here, it’s the children of the proles that are named after occupations. Taylor is a particular favourite, followed by Burglar, Mugger, Pimp, Scrounger and Junkie.
Junkie is not an occupation. It’s a lifestyle statement.
@ Henry – I think there was a Yobs strip to that effect … naming the kid Spike Mangler Hobnail Fistfight, or something like that.
@ Mike – “Junkie” is a lifestyle statement for more than just the proles. Witness any number of wealthy celebrities in the US.
A social worker is visiting a single mother who has ten boys, all of them called Wayne.
Why all the same name, the social worker asks?
Because, says the mother, when I want them to come in for tea, I only have to yell the name once.
Ah, says the social worker – what if you want to talk to one of the Waynes individually?
Easy, the mother replies – I call them by their surnames.
I just read a book about a culture where people name their children Rothmans and Mayfair in an attempt to seem sophisticated.
By the way, I am British and have never done the lottery. Any others?
Comments here have stirred some thoughts and ideas, which I was starting to put together for posting here, but have realised they are becoming lengthy enough to justify a separate post. So, as I’m in the midst of a seriously busy week, and I haven’t eaten yet – and because Amy Winehouse is on TV shortly – I’ll probably save it for the weekend. In the meantime, here’s a story I heard a while back and have just re-found:
A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin’s 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single attendant was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said,
‘I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS’.
The attendant replied, ’I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these people first, and I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.’
The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, ‘DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?’
Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: ‘May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please?’ she began – her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal. ‘We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14.’
With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, ‘F**k you!’
Without flinching, she smiled and said, ’I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to get in line for that too.’
I just read a book about a culture where people name their children Rothmans and Mayfair in an attempt to seem sophisticated
@ Maxine – Many of the “old money” wealthy individuals I know give their children some very odd (to me) names that sound sophisticated. Because I
have the social skills of an alligator garrefuse to stand on ceremony with such people, I’ve asked “What an unusual name … what’s the origin or meaning?” In most cases, it’s a family surname, or the name of the manor/township/fiefdom back in ye olde worlde.
I have done the lottery and I
have removed the broomhandle from my rectumdon’t care who knows it.
Indeed, Henry, it is a bit galling when one of the neighbours wins half a million, as happened on my road recently. So the last laugh will probably be with you, if you’re lucky, then you can buy that lovely house whose photo you posted the other month. And do it up.
The most that anyone in my family has won is £50. That was my Dad, and he took us out for lunch.