Who to vote for in the Euros ?
As one of that rare breed, a largely eurosceptic (but not little englander) left-leaning liberal who can I vote for in the 2009 EU elections ? I have never understood Lib Dem enthusiasm for the EU. It is a centralising, unaccountable, undemocratic institution which few people in the UK pledge any allegiance too. That unelected figures - previously discarded by the UK electorate - like Patten, Kinnock and Mandelson had more say than elected parliamentarians hardly endears the EU to me. The case for massive reform is unanswerable and you don't need to be a swivel-eyed right-winger to believe this.
It seems the EU of today is far removed from best liberal principles and practice. To vote for the most slavishly pro-EU party, the Lib Dems, is quite a challenge. Without question the rancid racism (and residue fascism) of the BNP is a no-no.The xenophobia and right wing nature of UKIP rules them out, as should their performance in Brussels. And, if we want to talk about dodgy expense claims and disreputable behaviour, their MEP's take some beating. The Tories ? They seem set to align themselves to the wilder fringes of the EU. They are swapping influence for ideological purity, which is never a good move by a mainstream party. There is the added factor of the Tories I see 'in action' or should that be 'inaction' locally. Of course I am many things, but never a Tory.
On the left there's the No2EU - Yes to Democracy group, with a ragbag slate including trade union bureaucrats, stalinists from the Communist Party of Britain, the 'tanned trot' Tommy Sheridan and the Liberal party's EU-obsessive Steve Radford. As one might expect, no-one got to vote on who the candidates should be. 'Leftism' of the worst kind.
Labour ? What position do they take on the EU ? The Greens ? Well more to the point which Greens ? At the last Euros, the UK Greens were pretty Eurosceptic, but the wider continental Green group was much more EU-friendly.
In short, who can a progressive, liberal, left-leaning voter positively vote for this June ?