Here are the Scottish results in the European elections:
Scottish National Party - 29.1%
Labour - 20.8%
Conservative - 16.8%
Liberal Democrats - 11.5%
Greens - 7.3%
UKIP - 5.2%
BNP - 2.5%
Pretty good, I think. At least the fascists have been given a good kicking here, although that’s partly because the names of the far-right parties (UK Independence Party, and British National Party) are hardly likely to appeal to a Scottish electorate (for foreign readers, the Scottish National Party are a left-of-centre group, whose policies include Scottish independence, but within Europe, and a tolerant, multicultural society)! Racism is as alive in Scotland as anywhere else, and those results give no reason for complacency.
The BNP won two seats in England – the first time ever a far-right party has achieved that, which is worrying. Some people are dismissing it as a protest vote. I disagree and think it shows that BNP (and UKIP, who came second overall in the UK – what?!!) propaganda against Europe, especially eastern Europe has succeeded (“they’re stealing our jobs!” – yeah, right. You mean the jobs you don’t want to do – everything from heavy labour to NHS dentistry…). Casual racism against Eastern Europeans is rife. I hear it all the time, almost as much as I used to hear it against asylum seekers, or whichever foreigners the tabloid press are scapegoating at any given time.
Harriet Harman has said that voters were obviously furious with Labour due to the expenses scandal. I think Labour are in complete denial. They either have no clue why voters have abandoned them or don’t want to admit it, perhaps not even to themselves. Voters have voted against Labour because:
a) Afghanistan and Iraq and all the lies surrounding that.
b) They are sick of spin. They are sick of excuses. They are sick of Labour politicians apologising for mistakes – because even that sounds like spin, a way of getting people on their side, as opposed to genuine regret
c) Gordon Brown, a very nice guy by all accounts, is a useless leader. Why Labour are so slow to depose him is beyond my comprehension. The next election may be lost anyway, but the only way they will have even a small chance is to pick a more able leader.
Of course, the Conservatives will be even worse, but many new voters won’t have experienced life under the Tories. There’s nothing like a Conservative Government at Westminster to send Scotland on a rush to independence and, therefore, on a major collision course with London. Interesting times ahead.