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SALFORD STAR ALTERNATIVE EUROPEAN ELECTION GUIDE
 

Star date: 21st May 2014

THE SALFORD STAR ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO THE EURO ELECTIONS 2014

What the hell is the Euro Elections? Eight seats, one vote, twenty zillion candidates – and then you never see any of the elected MEPS ever again. Confused? You will be. So join the Salford Star for an attitudinal, alternative guide to the Euros.

Here you'll find the Pirate Party UK, the No2eu party, the Green Party and the Hope Not Hate campaign, plus more. It's not all about Nigel Farage and his BBC PR machine!

Full details here…


NO2EU Hope Not Fear Green Party at Barton Moss
Pirate Party UK Hope Not Hate
click image to enlarge

At the polling station in Salford tomorrow, voters will be presented with two ballot papers – one for the local elections and one for the Euro election. The Salford Star has already tried to cover the local election (see here and see here), but what about the Euros?

This is the election that no-one's ever bothered much about before - but this year seems to be taking on a greater significance in the North West, given the unprecedented coverage of UKIP by the British media, plus the chance to boot the BNP's Nick Griffin out of office.

First of all we'll try and explain the voting system, which is Proportional Representation…

You get one vote and there's eleven parties standing in the North West. And you just stick your cross next to the party you want to vote for. That's the easy bit. But behind that, each of those eleven parties have up to eight candidates hoping to get one of the eight seats available in the North West. A total of 83 candidates altogether. Seats are dished out according to how many votes each party gets. Here's the official explanation (skip this bit if you've got a life)…

The party with the highest number of votes is allocated the first seat. The candidate at the top of the party's list is elected. The votes of the party winning the first seat are then divided by the number of seats they have won + 1 ( i.e. 2 ) and the resultant number of votes go forward to be compared with the number of votes for the other parties and candidates to decide who wins the next seat. The exercise is then repeated. As each successful party wins its first seat, its votes are divided by 2. This divisor is then increased by 1 each time this party wins a further seat. (NB it is the total number of votes cast for the party which is divided by the divisor, NOT the number resulting from the previous division.) In the event that an independent candidate is elected or all the candidates on a party's list have been elected, the votes cast for that party are excluded from the remainder of the exercise.

From the media coverage you would think there are only four parties standing – Tories, Labour, LibDem and UKIPbut there are actually eleven…

There is the very, very interesting Pirate Party UK, which has already has two Swedish MEPs. The Pirates are pro-Europe but want to see it more democratic and accountable. They also campaign for an end to mass electronic surveillance, the right to free speech and less control of the internet. The Pirates are about `Digital rights for the people'…no idea where they stand on fracking and EU-US trade treaties...

Meanwhile, if you are not in favour of Europe but can't be doing with all the right wing nationalism and racism associated with the anti-Europe parties, no2eu is for you. Under the banner `Exit Left', their slogan is `no2eu:Yes to Workers Rights'. They reject EU policies which, they say, will privatise transport and postal services and the existence of the NHS. While being in favour of `international solidarity of working people', and against all racism and fascism, no2eu campaigns for withdrawal from the European Union.

Also standing against Europe `and for the United Socialist States of Europe' for the from the far left is the very strange Socialist Equality Party, which is very concerned about Ukraine… "the EU is neck-deep in US-led provocations against Russia" it states, adding in a catchy, vote winning soundbite that "The contradiction between the globally integrated nature of capitalism as a world system and the nation-state structures within which it is historically rooted are destroying the basis for international coordination and stability between the capitalist powers, leading to the re-emergence of virulent nationalism and inter-imperialist antagonisms. A new period of wars and revolutions has begun. There is no peaceful or easy way out of this crisis. No reformist palliatives will suffice. Only the mobilisation of the international working class to overthrow capitalism can provide a way forward…" Quite!.

The Green Partygrowing in the polls but getting almost zero media coverage – missed out on getting an MEP elected at the last Euros by just 0.3% of the vote, which allowed the BNP to sneak in. Massive at the Barton Moss anti-fracking protests in Salford, the Greens obviously have low carbon, affordable, renewable energy policies at the forefront of their campaign – but they are also anti-austerity and against secret US-EU trade deals amongst other things. They say that a vote for the Greens is the best chance of booting out the BNP's Nick Griffin, and even have a Green Not Griffin website.

Also dedicated to booting out Nick Griffin is the Hope Not Hate campaign, backed by the Daily Mirror and an array of celebs, political parties and trade unions. At this year's May Day rally, anti-BNP speakers urged voters to "vote something, anything but BNP in the European Elections"… "Racism is a very old tool to divide us. We are not stupid. They think we are. We have to show them that we're not stupid…We know that there are problems in the North West but the BNP and far right don't have the answers."

Indeed, the Hope Not Hate campaign has expanded to include a Hope Not Fear campaign against UKIP and the English Democrats (which would "seek to work with" the French National Front's Marine Le Pen if elected)…

"It's easy to be taken in by parties like the BNP and UKIP, who point to people who say immigrants are the cause of our problems…But they are wrong… Immigrants are not to blame for our economic problems. They are not the ones cutting public spending; they are not the ones imposing pay freezes while the cost of living rises…The real culprits fleecing the system are the big companies and rich people who owe £35billion in taxes…"

The leaflet currently circulating, called Why UKIP Is Not Your Party, quotes Nigel Farage…"I'm the only politician keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive"…and points to UKIP's policies of tax cuts for the rich, schools for the elite, privatising the NHS and slashing maternity pay. The leaflet comes complete with the slogan `UKIP: They are not on your side'…

And somewhere to the left of UKIP and the BNP are An Independence From Europe which is anti-EU immigration, anti-HS2, anti-regulation, er anti-Europe and anti-everything, it seems...

The Salford Star is independent, not alligned to any political party and never tells anyone which way to vote...

PS Also standing are the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats.

For a full list of candidates see the official European Election website for the North West – click here

Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 3:06:00 PM on Friday, May 23, 2014
Alice you are correct on Europe we do not seem to get the things that are on offer ln the EEC I have my own family working and living in Spain) Germany )Eire). They get better paid/ have more working Rights/ a lower cost of Living/ Higher Wages More Holidays etc. As usual we have a Political Structure in the UK that belongs in 1614 not 2014. You only have to listen to the little Englanders and the task ahead looks formidable. PITY ?
 
Alice Searle wrote
at 1:42:55 AM on Friday, May 23, 2014
Whilst sitting here on mainline Europe I feel I must say something in favour of the EU. So little is understood by most people about Europe that they are manipulated by many of these narrow single issue parties. Being a member of the EU is beneficial to the UK. Many improvements in law, the environment and in workers rights have come about because of our membership. There are opportunities for training and education through the EU but sadly these are not known about. Of course there are issues which may bother some people but the principle of a group of nations working together for the benefit of the whole and for peace is worth working to perfect. I object to the TTIP but that is one those matters of big companies and US greed. This is not the EU! Let us get more educated on Europe before the cranks and the bigots lead us down a path we will regret.
 
Jack Allnutt wrote
at 3:11:02 AM on Thursday, May 22, 2014
I'm one of the Pirate Party candidates in the Euro elections. We are against fracking (what we need is more investment in offshore wind and tidal generation, as well as nuclear power - not more gas). We also vehemently oppose the EU-US trade agreement (TTIP). Treaties should not be secret, should not be negotiated behind closed doors and should not contain things like investor-state dispute settlement.
 
George Walkden wrote
at 3:10:58 AM on Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Pirate Party would only endorse EU-US trade agreements if they were negotiated transparently and fairly, which isn't the case right now with the current TTIP. You can read more at https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/campaigns/issues/ttip-trading-away-our-rights if you're interested.
 
Bordiga wrote
at 12:11:46 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
My problem with the Green Party is that, apparently, they are very prone to opportunism, at least at the local level. Take last year's Salford candidate, Joe O'Neil. Now the guy is standing for UKIP! At the opposite end of the political spectrum! I considered voting green back then, but the guy sounded dodgy in the first place, he is obviously someone who couldn't care less for the matters relevant to the Green Party, he is just looking for a seat somewhere for himself and would do anything with anyone to get it. If the Green Party doesn't have a proper candidate selection process and allows characters like this enter its ranks it will be up to no good!
 
The Fat End of The Wedge wrote
at 12:11:39 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
HopeNotHate are supported by the Daily Mirror, yet are requesting donations to fund the printing of newspapers, and even to pay for coverage in the Daily Mirror. Source: HopeNotHate website.
 
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