June 1st, 2004


X marks the ... err ...

Last week I was amused to find the Lib Dems election literature delivered quite obviously at the same time as the English Democrats. Today's bunch are even less comfortable bedfellows: Labour, Respect, UKIP, and the BNP.

I continue to be amused (in an it's-not-funny-really kind of way) by the arguments about being "run by Brussels". Growing up in Newcastle during the Thatcher era, being "run by Westminster" didn't hold any appeal either, yet I don't think even the People's Democratic Republic of North Tyneside suggested the area should withdraw from the United Kingdom. The EU is far from perfect (and the CAP is particularly heinous) but if it appears more corrupt than our national government, it's probably just because we are better at keeping that sort of thing under the carpet. To suppose we would be better off outside the EU is to suggest that we are fundamentally different to the rest of Europe, a view I don't find tenable in the slightest. And joining NAFTA would be just plain barmy.

If you are entitled to vote and don't, then as I see it you forfeit your right to complain about the parliament elected in your name. If you can't bring yourself to vote for the party you disagree with least, then show you have made an effort by spoiling your ballot paper.