Vote on Europe: The parties Debate

Conservatives/Labour/Liberal Democrats…who should get your vote? Students make a case for each party and why they deserve your support in the European Parliamentary Elections

Conservatives

I’m sure you have read many articles written by prospective MEPs touting their plans if elected. Personally, I have trouble believing any of them. Even if the parliament did have important decisions to make, UK MEPs make up less than 10% of the chamber, making changing anything incredibly difficult.

From this position I can only think of two roles for MEPs. Firstly, they get a chance to yell at each other, national politicians and members of the commission. Secondly, their election sends a message or image to Westminster as well as the rest of the world.
I would suggest you decide who you want to vote for based on the following three criteria. Who can yell at politicians about the issues you care about. Who can deliver an entertaining, concise, YouTube friendly speech. Who sends the message you want delivered across the globe.

In my opinion this immediately eliminates Labour and the Lib Dems. If the majority of the Labour party can’t even be bothered to campaign why should we trust them to do anything if they are elected? The Lib Dems, on the other hand, may represent your views on polling day but, as well as being completely anonymous, they will probably have changed their mind by the time they get to Brussels.

The BNP aside from sending a frankly dangerous message to Westminster and the world, have shown in numerous councils that their elected representatives might as well not be there. Many have never spoken in the council chamber in their entire time in office.

This leaves you with the Conservatives and UKIP as viable options. Both have well spoken representatives such as Daniel Hannan and Nigel Farage (both have clips on YouTube). As for an image, it depends whether you favour a vaguely eurosceptic position and want to suggest that it might be time for a new government or if you want to tell your MPs that you think it’s time the UK left the undemocratic, illiberal and wasteful EU behind.

As you may have guessed I favour the latter and would encourage you to do the same, but the decision is up to you.
Ralph Buckle

Labour

Travelling abroad, you’ll now pay less to use your mobile, because roaming costs have been cut. If you or a friend has ever gone on an Erasmus exchange, it’s probably because it’s been extended. If you (or someone you know) happens to live on planet Earth, then you’ll be happy about a raft of environmental policies, including cutting CO2 by +20% and ensuring +20% of electricity is from renewables by 2020, and setting up the Emissions Trading Scheme. And it has been Labour MEPs who have been fighting for these policies.

Or, you could support a party who voted against banning products from culled seals (like the Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire did). Or even better, you can support a party that has a shocking environmental voting record, praises Iceland’s economic policies and thinks that the NHS is a mistake (their hero: Dan Hannan), condoned Italy ethnically profiling Roma children, and voted against condemning female genital mutilation and criminalising rape within marriage. That’s the cuddly Conservatives, who plan to leave the mainstream EU conservatives and set up a new grouping with far-right MEPs, isolating themselves at the moment we need to work together on climate change and the global economy. This decision prompted a retiring Tory MEP to resign the party: “I cannot watch my country head for the rocks, which it will do if Cameron becomes Prime Minister and has no allies in the major governments of the European Union.”

Lastly, the reason you should vote Labour in the Euros (aside from their good work and the poor quality alternatives) is that it is the best way to keep the BNP out. In Yorkshire, the BNP look likely to win a seat, which would mean a massive funding and publicity boost. If/when the UKIP vote collapses, Labour are the closest to beating the BNP for that seat (voting Green is helping the BNP in this sense, as they are the furthest from winning). So vote on June 4th, vote in Yorkshire (rather than at home, unless you’re in the North West where the BNP are strongest), and vote Labour!
David Levene

Liberal Democrats

A vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections is a vote for Diana Wallis and a vote for European reform. She has a wealth of experience that no other candidate can boast, leading the Lib Dems in Europe for two years and being elected to the position of Vice President of the European Parliament.

With these positions, the Lib Dems have been able to cut roaming mobile phone charges by 60% through legislation and proposing fairer anti-terrorism laws that do not have an impact on our civil liberties. The Erasmus scheme, which is designed to allow students across Europe to study abroad, has been put in the care of Liberals across Europe for the next four years who intend on putting 950 million Euros into the project.

Diana Wallis and our local parliamentary candidate Madeleine Kirk have been working together to push for improved environmental policies by demanding an increase in targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% by 2020 and changing car registration tax to be based on CO2 emissions.

Many of the travesties of the EU need to be removed and our candidates are advocating the abolishment of worldwide trade barriers to create a free market – protectionist policies benefit no one.

The Common Agricultural Policy is a major obstacle in tackling poverty in Africa since it causes Europe to dump cheap produce into African markets. This suppresses local job markets and makes it difficult for local agricultural economies to thrive. With this in mind, Diana Wallis wants to achieve drastic reductions in EU funding for agricultural subsidies and transfer this budget to investment in rural development.

UKIP and the Conservatives agree with the Lib Dems on the problems that the EU are facing. We will only be able to tackle goals like climate change and poverty by working together.

However, unlike those who want to run away from the essential issues that must be dealt with, the Lib Dems are willing to stand up and put right what is wrong.
Craig Martin

12 comments

  1. Glad to see that Nouse is taking an interest in the Euros, and amused to see that the current incumbent in the Tories is slightly conflicted in his voting intention., I was Chairman of York Tories way back in 1992 when the Maastricht Treaty was ratified, and my attitude then as now has been that we must finally withdraw from the EU. To that end I am now fighting this election as a UKIP candiadte in the South West, and have been working as their press officer in Brussels for the past few years.

    In the end it is just about whether we can sack those who have power over our lives. Currently, while we remain in the European Union we cannot.

    Whatever, hoping that Hes and the Charles are still well.

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  2. Thanks Gawain.

    My personal intention is not conflicted. As I say I shall vote UKIP.
    I leave it open however as I recognise that some people would prefer to send the message that a new government is required in Westminster while others (including myself) think a “better off out” message is a more pressing issue or at least a message that is more likely to make a difference.

    As I see it:
    1) a vote for labour is a vote for broken promises, inconsistencies and lack of accountability

    2)A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for confusion, lies and forgetting Nick Clegg’s broken referendum promises.

    3)A vote for the BNP is a vote for hatred and incompetence

    This leaves UKIP and the Tories as the only viable options.

    Good luck in your election and the Derramore is far superior to the Charles.

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  3. I hear you have been expelled from the party for this article. Quite right too. You have done a complete dis-service to all of the party members and volunteers who work hard for the party.

    Not all will agree with all party policies, but the party is a broad church.

    You cannot hold a position in the party and ask people to vote for others.

    You should remain outside of the party until such point when you have proved your maturity as an adult.
    You can start by apologising to party members for a complete disdain for their own time and efforts in their own service to the party.

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  4. Well Ralph, now that you have been booted out your own Party, it’s easy enough to see who grassed you up to Iain Dale’s Diary and the like.

    Great to see that Gawain is with you there in the new consensus of the anti-EU right – until of course there is the chance to give each other a kicking.

    But then you know so little about the EU and the EP that you can, with a presumably straight face, type “even if the parliament did have important decisions to make, UK MEPs make up less than 10% of the chamber, making changing anything incredibly difficult.”

    Anyone who cannot ubnderstand a political system operating along something other than purely national grounds probably shouldn’t have had your job to start with.

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  5. Got linked here by Iain Dale’s blog – and once again this little incident shows just how awkward the issue of Europe is for the Tories – even on a small scale.

    David – I’m not sure what you mean by saying Labour have the best chance of beating the BNP. It’s a proportional system, so there’s no two-horse race between fascists and non-fascists. A vote for Lib Dems, UKIP, Tories or Greens is also a perfectly adequate vote against the BNP. And based on the disgraceful behaviour of Labour MPs and Tory MPs, i can see UKIP being the real challenge to the BNP for that 10% needed to gain the last seat.

    Shame really. We need Europe more than ever, but a democratic Europe that can be effective and proactive in major international affairs, not just a gravy train for failed MPs.

    For a strong pro-European voice, vote lib dem, they’d offer a referendum on membership of the EU altogether to make sure the argument’s settled once and for all.

    For a strong anti European voice, vote UKIP. They’d pull us out altogether.

    Labour have lied about the contents of a constitutional document, denied us a promised referendum and are afraid of the Europe issue because it divides the party. Similarly the Tories were torn apart by Europe and can’t let it happen again, so don’t know what to think. Their exit from EPP-ED to form a right wing coalition is also a pretty daft move. Confusion all round from the big 2.

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  6. Such a shame. Voting UKIP in the EU elections is the only way of showing Cameron (an opportunist) that there more votes for leaving the EU than there are for staying.

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  7. Here’s a video of Fraser Nelson from the Spectator and the News of the World about why it is not inconsistent for Tories to vote UKIP in the EU election:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlCJEfB5Juw

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  8. Ralph, you did the right thing and you should be proud to have been expelled over this issue. If you had just resigned as Mrs Dale suggested, then nobody outside York would have noticed. Instead, you’ve drawn attention to the issue, which is great. Far better to stand against something than just toe the Party line like one of the other chaps on this page; someone who will never resign or be expelled over any issue since the Party is always right.

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  9. I suggest Ralph that you look at the LPUK for your future

    Libertarian Party of the UK http://www.lpuk.org We will welcome you with open arms. Come read our manifesto at http://lpuk.org/pages/manifesto.php

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  10. Ralph, I favour none of the choices really, Daniel Hannan is a one man publicity machine, just for his own purpose not the party. My own personal opinion is, we should be working with Europe, but not controlled by them.

    UKIP, well I just don’t like Nigel Farage, one of their party MEP’s in our region collects his salary from Europe but does not attend as he does not believe in Europe, is that not as bad as the current MP expenses crisis?

    I do not think it was right to expell you and I am so unclear still which way to cast my vote?

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  11. Well done Mr Buckle for taking a stand, and shame on the Tory leaders who are afraid to become properly Eurosceptic.
    If the Tory leaders really shared the grassroots’ view on Europe, they’d join the IND/DEM grouping in the European Parliament, until such time as they can get us out of the EU altogether.

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  12. Ralph, what you have done is noble and honest, even if it was a school boy error as far as your party membership is concerned.

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