I’ve been thinking long and hard about who to vote for in the elections on 10 June.
I think it’s definitely got to be Ken Livingstone for London mayor. I’ve been an admirer of Ken since the 70s. I don’t always agree with everything he does but at least he stands for something clear and has always seemed to have the best interests of London at heart. On top of which he’s been a bloody good mayor for the past four years. The great improvements in the buses, the Congestion Charge and just the general feeling that London may be going somewhere are good enough for me. My London Assembly vote will also probably go to Labour simply because there doesn’t seem to be any decent alternative.
My main problem is the European Parliament elections. I believe in Britain being a part of the EU even if I don’t like the way the EU is currently run. All that crap which the Tories and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) spout about being controlled from Brussels is just that. Crap. The EU is about sharing sovereignty not surrendering it. If we’re being controlled from Brussels then so is every other EU country. To listen to the UKIP you’d think that the other 24 countries were members primarily in order to crap on the UK.
There are loads of small parties standing, most of which I can dismiss because they’re mainly standing on single issues. That more or less only leaves Labour, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Respect. The Tories can forget my vote. I know who they are and I know what they stand for, whatever they might say. Respect can forget my vote too: their main issue seems to be the war in Iraq and, while I’m furious about it, I don’t see it as a European issue. Besides, Respect is a silly name for a party and we have the obnoxious George Galloway standing as their candidate here.
That leaves just three. Since I’ve got more than one vote I can afford a bit of shuffling, I guess. Labour though will be my first preference. I’m determined that I’m voting on European issues. I’m not interested in using the election as some sort of referendum on the war or on Blair. If we do that then we negate the whole purpose of the election which is to send people to represent us in Europe not to govern us in the UK. It also signals that we in the UK just cannot take the EU seriously.
The one thing I do know is that it’s desperately important that we all do go out and vote. To stay at home means risking the election of loony, rabid folks from the UKIP or, even worse, vile racists from the BNP.
Posted 2 June 2004, 23:59 BST