Surreal Euro polls put crisis of the British state in the spotlight

WESTMINSTER: literally crumbling – an all-too-real metaphor for what is happening on the green benches of the Commons (Photo: Stiller Beobachter)

by Ken Ferguson • Historically a bye word for stability, statecraft and order, the British state is now facing political and constitutional disarray on a unimagined scale.

Already gridlocked between Leave and Remain, forcing the resignation of the hapless Theresa May as a result, the entire edifice has been further shaken by the results of the European poll.

Indeed a Palace of Westminster literally crumbling, rat infested and shrouded in scaffolding presents an all-too-real metaphor for what is going on inside on the green benches of the Commons.

Of course, before reading overmuch into the actual results some caveats are advisable. The actual participation in the poll at 37 per cent suggests that most voters are more likely to be in the camp of the scunnered rather than Leave or Remain and thus stayed at home on polling day.

As a result, the electors actual casting a vote are likely to have been drawn from a hard core of Leave or Remain, committed to their outlook.

We also need to treat with caution the frantic media chorus telling us of the Brexit Party’s stunning victory and pumping up the fortunes of Trump’s chum Farage.

Hard figures
Outside the TV studios and now smoke-free newsrooms, populated by excitable hacks and pundits, on planet reality, a look at the hard figures throws a fairly big bucket of cold water on the tale.

In the last European election in 2014, Farage’s UKIP won 24 seats and polled 27 per cent and this time Brexit (UKIP 2) won 28 seats on 32 per cent vote share.

Given that the public have heard nothing but Brexit for the past three years and that the Leave case is constantly repeated, is this really such a “stunning” result?

We need to remember that in the 2017 election, which cost May her majority, sparked the current crisis and boosted Corbyn, UKIP were nowhere.

It would be advisable to apply a similar note of caution to the supposed Lib Dem revival which is also being breathlessly hyped. The probability is that it will not be reflected on such a scale in a UK poll.

Of course, we need also to remember that these were EU-wide elections and, although expressed in different voting patterns, the unease,despair anger and discontent of millions has cracked the decades-long centre-left/centre-right consensus, opening an uncertain EU future.

Then we need to talk about Scotland where whatever the details of the votes the long term divergence between Scottish and UK politics has one again been highlighted.

On the face of it, the SNP has yet again scored a triumph winning three of Scotland’s six MEP seats while Labour—not so long ago the hegemonic force here—was wiped off the map.

It is told how Roman emperors, in victory parades after triumphs in war, would be accompanied amidst the pomp and Laurel wreaths by a slave whose task it was to whisper in the conquering hero’s ear “remember thou art mortal”.

Such an approach—perhaps in electronic form—might well be a wise precaution particularly from the viewpoint of those who, reading the results, are tempted to conclude that the road to independence is now wide open.

The results both here and across the wider EU have at their core one cold clear lesson, the millions of voters across the EU increasingly reject the old decades long hegemony of the impersonal forces of money wether administered by the centre-right or centre-left.

In former mining areas, in ex-steel towns, beside closed shipyards and the ghosts of once confident industrial towns, across the continent a process of marginalisation pioneered by Thatcher but backed by New Labour and their EU comrades in sister parties, has produced simmering rage and despair.

Already in power, this was given rocket boosters by the 2008 crash, the bankers multi-billion bale out and austerity for millions.

In parallel with this, there is a growing awareness of the rapidly accelerating climate crisis spotlighted by the high profile actions of X Rebellion and the films of David Attenborough.

This burgeoning social, economic and environmental crisis and its solution will be the background to politics both here in Scotland and the wider planet.

Yet as in all crises, the solution will be determined by human action taken in the interests of either the powerful or of people and planet, and it is in this context that the battle for Scottish independence will be fought.

Like the SSP, the Voice stands four-square for an independent Scottish republic, not to adopt a business as usual mini-UK society but as tool kit for real social, economic and environmental change.

That’s why we welcome developments that reinforce the independence forces but reject the idea of a Yes movement forced to endorse an austerity ridden case based on the profoundly mistaken Sustainable Growth Commission endorsed by the SNP.

It will be on this hard territory of the fight, both for democracy with the increasingly desperate British state and social and environmental justice with the billionaire elites, that the future will be forged.

Not only our future but that of millions not yet born is at stake.

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