A quick online guide to the minor party and independent London European Election Candidates
If you are one of those people who feels like giving our mainstream political parties a bloody nose in the upcoming European Elections, you might be thinking of casting your vote for one of the smaller parties or for an independent candidate. You can find a guide to who is standing in your area at the UK office of the European Parliament website.
I wanted to find out what my voting options were in London, and so I did some research on the candidates and their parties. In London this time around we elect 8 European MPs, and first of all I wanted to find out a little bit about the independent candidates standing in London.
Gene Alcantara is standing as an independent candidate. His campaign website states that he 'firmly believes in defending the rights of legal immigrants and ethnic minorities, but advocates tighter border and immigration controls'.
Jan Jananayagam has a website at votejan4mep.org. Her most prominent policy pledges are to:
"To defend Britain’s long tradition of civil rights and freedom of expression;
To oppose and reverse the past decade’s erosion of the civil rights of individuals and communities;
To oppose the encroachment of the state onto the freedom and privacy of the individual, particularly in this electronically connected era."
Sohale Rahman is standing as an independent candidate, and is very prominent on his campaign website about the fact that he has put up his own money and refused political donations. Rather than a policy manifesto, Sohale has made election pledges.
Haroon Saad is on Twitter as We Can Europe and is blogging his election campaign here. His manifesto, which is about being a 'transparent service' rather than a career politician, can be found at wecaneurope.org
I also looked at some of the lesser known political parties who have candidates up for election, to see if they had London specific campaign material online:
Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"
On the ballot paper: The Christian Party - CPA
The Christian Party have been pitching themselves as anti-BNP with billboard advertising in my area, although you may also remember them for their anti-atheist advertising campaign which drew over 1,000 complaints. There was also a controversy over their electoral broadcasts in 2008. If you want more information, they have a page on their website dedicated to the current campaign, and a separate European campaign website.
English Democrats Party
On the ballot paper: English Democrats – "Putting England First!"
The English Democrats Party are, perhaps confusingly, not the same as the English Democratic Party. Domestically they campaign for an English Parliament with similar powers to that afforded to the Scottish legislature. In this election The English Democrats advocate withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). There are more details on their London candidates here.
On the ballot paper: Jury Team
Never mind 'citizen journalism', the Jury Team represent a recent phenomena in 'citizen politicians'. The state they are 'a political movement created with the goal of making politics more accessible, politicians more accountable and political institutions more transparent'. Essentially a broad coalition of independent candidates, you can find out more about their 'Open Source Politics' and European Election campaign here.
No2EU: Yes To Democracy
On the ballot paper: No2EU : Yes to Democracy
No2EU is a coalition of 'trade unionists, political parties and campaigning groups which have come together to defend democracy here and across the European Union'. Whereas many mainstream political views of the EU see it as a creeping socialist threat to the free market economy spewing red tape and enshrining uncompetitive practices, No2EU view it as a facilitator of globalisation that threatens worker's jobs and rights.
Londoners may have a vested interest in voting for this party. Number one on their candidate list is RMT leader Bob Crow. It is just possible that sending him to Brussels may reduce the level of strike action on the London Underground.
Pro Democracy: Libertas.eu
On the ballot paper: Pro Democracy : Libertas.eu
Libertas.eu describes itself as 'THE pan-European movement dedicated to creating a new, democratic and open European Union, from the ground up'. In the UK this seems to have mostly taken the form of UKIP bashing. The party is fielding candidates in several EU countries, including Greece, where I used to live.
Socialist Labour Party
On the ballot paper: Socialist Labour Party (LEADER ARTHUR SCARGILL)
The Socialist Labour Party is prominently fronted by Arthur Scargill. The party is firmly against the EU:
"The EU is a capitalist club that makes it easier for the multinational companies to exploit workers throughout its member states. Factories are uprooted from one country to another in pursuit of the cheapest labour, without any social responsibility being accepted towards the devastated communities they are leaving behind."
The Green Party
On the ballot paper: The Green Party
The Green Party have one sitting MEP in London, Jean Lambert, and there is a separate London Green Party campaign website and blog. Their platform for the election is the promise of a 'Green New Deal' to create a million jobs in the EU.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain
On the ballot paper: The Socialist Party of Great Britain - The Socialist Party (GB)
The Socialist Party of Great Britain are a little older than the Arthur Scargill brand of 'socialism' on offer in London. This socialist party was formed in 1904. They have a specific London European campaign website at spgb.blogspot.com.
United Kingdom Independence Party
On the ballot paper: United Kingdom Independence Party - UKIP
There's always something that gives me a wry smile about the concept of an Independence Party representing a United Kingdom in which England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall (and probably FSCoN) all also have their own sub-independence parties. UKIP's website can be found here.
Interestingly, in the metadata displayed on Google they declare themselves to be a 'Libertarian, non-racist party seeking Britain's withdrawal from the European Union'. When you visit their site, you are immediately plunged into an opening splash Flash movie that leads with immigration as the topic...
Yes 2 Europe
On the ballot paper: Yes 2 Europe
It says something, I think, about the British attitude to Europe that in London there are several parties standing firmly on an anti-EU manifesto with 8 candidates each, but that the 'Yes 2 Europe' party can only field one candidate. 'A new political party for those who believe that Britain should be more fully engaged in the European Union', their London candidate is also their chairman, Brendan Donnelly.
In London, you are also able to vote for candidates representing the British National Party, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats. I suspect you'll already have your own established opinion about each of those. I certainly do.