On Thursday 23 May 2019 there will be elections for the European Parliament. 750-ish MEPs selected across the continent to act as a revising and reviewing chamber for the activities of the European government, the Commission, and for the EU Council, the 28 governments of the member states. The MEPs will also vote on and elect an EU Commission president who will chair the government. There have been two head-to-head debates for the Commission president https://www.maastrichtdebate.eu/ and EU parliament debate. Deciding who to vote for is a balance between national interests and parties, significantly Brexit and Scottish independence, the party policies for EU legislation and the commission president they want to elect.
So what do the party manifestos say?
Conservative and Unionist party doesn’t have a manifesto. They don’t mention the elections anywhere on their website. The party of government of the UK can not be bothered with these elections. This is democracy at its most broken and they should be ashamed.
The Brexit Party has no manifesto. UKIP has no manifesto. These parties will win lots of votes based on populism and racism. This is democracy at its most broken.
New party Change UK has an 8 page manifesto. Their candidate at the hustings organised by my friends in Edinburgh4Europe and the European Movement in Scotland seemed competent and knowledgeable. Surprisingly they even have a few policies in the manifesto but nothing too radical. They want to be part of the EPP I think which makes them the new tory party assuming they manage to become a cohesive force. It’s not at all clear where their funding is coming from but they have quite a lot of Facebook adverts which can’t be cheap.
Lib Dems have made EU membership their cause celebre and they were the first with a manifesto. The Scottish manifesto seems an edited down version of the same. It’s full of good stuff. They are part of the Alliance of Liberals at Europe level.
The SNP are the party of government here and they published a 20 page manifesto which is just a love letter to the EU. That’s great but I don’t see any policies in it. What a let down.
Scottish Labour haven’t bothered but British Labour have a 15 page manifesto which doesn’t really mention their position on EU membership because of course they don’t have one. It’s full of irrelevant stuff like ‘Labour would urgently recruit 10,000 more police officers in England and Wales alone, and rebuild community policing, ‘ and ‘And we will bring our railways, water, energy and mail into public ownership – run for public service not private profit’ all very nice but they are policies for a UK election, I wouldn’t trust a party who don’t understand what this election is for.
Scottish Greens by contrast have done a stormer. Pro EU membership and Scottish independence of course but mostly they care about EU policy issues which is what the election is about. ‘Call for a European-wide net-zero emissions target to be set as early as possible. Push for continuing improvements to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Campaign to end subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy and redirect them to renewables’. Or ‘Stop Brexit and secure Scotland’s place at the heart of Europe. Create millions of jobs across Europe with a Green New Deal. Choose hope over hate, creating a welcoming Scotland in a welcoming Europe.’ As ever they are the only party to mention digital rights: ‘Continue to urge the EU to stand up for digital rights and avoid concentrating online power in the hands of a few corporations. Protect net neutrality rules and oppose unfair copyright reforms that would entrench corporate control. Campaign for easy, affordable access to all results of publicly-funded research to maximise scientific, cultural and economic progress.’
So I happily give my vote to the Green party who will join the European Green Group and maybe vote in Ska Keller as EU Commission president.
More info on Europe Elects website.