By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.
Well the European Election campaigns have started in earnest, so what can we expect in Europe from our political parties?
As yet Labour have not launched their national campaign statedgy, but here in Stoke Labour MEP Michael Cashman got his campaign underway yesterday. Speaking from the £2.2 million Silverdale Enterprise Park, built mostly with European money.
He said: “This is a wonderful example of what we have done with European money and the county council and European parliament working together to boost the economy for local people.”
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launched his party’s Euro Campaign by saying the UK must “stand tall” in Europe if the British people are to get the full benefit of EU membership.
Mr Clegg said the EU offered “safety in numbers” in a recession and help for jobs and the environment.
Labour was “finished”, he said, while a vote for the Tories would be “wasted”.
In the 2004 European elections, the Lib Dems were pushed into fourth place behind the UK Independence Party.
He said Labour was deflated and disunited while a vote for the Conservatives next month would be a “wasted” one as they were on the sidelines of the European debate.
“The Tories want to pull down the drawbridge, turn the clock back and retreat to the fanatical fringe of European politics.”
Mr Clegg urged voters to take next month’s EU elections seriously, saying Europe took collective decisions on key issues like climate change which affected people’s daily lives.
“We have to act together if we want to make Britain safer, if we want to safeguard jobs and protect the environment,” Mr Clegg – who was an MEP for five years before being elected to the House of Commons in 2005 – said.
“We are stronger together. We are poorer apart. It is as simple as that.”
The Lib Dems were the only party which could get out of Europe “what British families need”, he stressed.
Mr Cleggs party trailed in behind the UK Independence Party in 2004, with 14.9% of the popular vote.
Politicians from the three major UK parties have expressed concerns that voters could use elections for the European Parliament to punish them for the expenses row bedevilling the House of Commons.
Lib Dem West Midlands MEP Liz Lynne has served on the European Parliament for 10 years and says her party believes the UK is stronger working with its neighbours.
She said: “We believe that laws should always be made at the most local level possible, but there are some areas when Europe needs to work together. The global recession, climate change and cross border crime are some of the biggest challenges Britain has ever faced, but we can only tackle them if we co-operate with other European countries.
“No one has faith in Gordon Brown or Labour rule any more. The Conservatives and UKIP want to isolate Britain, which would be an historic mistake.
BNP Flag logo
The British National Party has launched its campaign for next month’s European Parliament elections, predicting it could win up to seven seats.
The party is contesting all 69 seats at stake in the UK mainland regions, on a platform of demanding the country withdraws from the European Union.
Leader Nick Griffin, a candidate in North West England, said the BNP also wanted to stop Turkey joining the EU.
His party was a threat to “tired, corrupt old politicians”, he added.
The BNP, which currently has no Euro MPs, is contesting about 465 county council seats in England’s local elections, which also take place on 4 June.
This is up from 39 candidates four years ago.
At the BNP’s campaign launch in Essex, Mr Griffin said: “There’s no protest vote like a British National Party protest vote, because all the others are in it together.
“Everyone knows we are the ones that they hate… We are the ones who are really a threat to their rotten, internationalist, liberal system.
“So we are the ones people have got to vote for if they want to protest against what the old politicians – the tired, corrupt old politicians – have done to this poor country of ours.”
Outlining his party’s anti-immigration stance, Mr Griffin said: “Not all immigrants are terrorists but all terrorists are immigrants or their immediate descendants.”
On its opposition to Turkey joining the EU, he said: “While we are in the European Union we most definitely, and above all else, oppose its expansion to bring 80 million low-wage Muslims into Christian democratic Europe.”
Simon Darby, BNP candidate for the West Midlands, said the party was concerned about exposing alleged EU corruption, incompetence, fraud and waste.
He said: “BNP MEPs will always vote in the European Parliament in the best interests of Britain and the British people.
“We will seek to expose and oppose. We will work closely with MEPs from other countries that share our aims and beliefs, in order to be more effective.
“We will maintain the highest standards of probity and integrity. In this regard, all BNP MEP candidates have signed a pledge to donate 10 per cent of their pre-tax salary to local cultural groups and activities in their regions.
The UK Independence Party could topple Gordon Brown by beating Labour into fourth place in next month’s Euro elections, says leader Nigel Farage.
Launching the party’s election campaign, Mr Farage said the “humiliation” of being beaten by UKIP would force Mr Brown to quit.
Mr Farage also claimed the best way to defeat the BNP was to vote UKIP.
And he hit back at claims that the party, which came third in 2004’s euro poll, would lose many seats this time.
UKIP, which campaigns for Britain’s exit from the European Union, achieved a breakthrough in 2004, winning 16% of the vote and beating the Liberal Democrats into fourth place.
It has performed less well in elections since then and has lost three of its 12 MEPs, including television celebrity Robert Kilroy-Silk, who left to form his own party.
It also faces competition from new Eurosceptic parties such as the trade union-backed NO2EU and the pan-European Libertas, which wants wholesale reform of the EU rather than withdrawal.
But Mr Farage – who has said he will quit as leader if the party returns fewer than 10 MEPs – was bullish about its prospects at its campaign launch in central London.
UKIP West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass said his party was worried about the cost of European membership.
He said: “It is costing us dearly, not just the £40 million a day we give to the EU but also the jobs lost, like Peugeot to Slovakia.
“We seek to send a message to the professional politicians by increasing our share of the vote from 2004 when we surprised the political establishment by finishing third ““ beating the Lib Dems.
“In the West Midlands UKIP scored over a quarter of a million votes missing out on electing a second MEP by just 4,500 votes.
The Tories have yet to announce their Euro Election campaign. But locally, Simon Tagg, chairman of Newcastle Conservative Association, said the party believed in the European Union but also wanted to keep independence.
He said: “We believe in working closely with our European partners for the benefit of our local community.
“However, we would not give any more powers to Europe without a referendum in this country. We want to give people the choice of how to go forward.”
The Green Party:
The Green Party’s party election broadcast for the European elections will be on the following confirmed times and dates:
– 11th May, 1755 on BBC2, 1825 on ITV, 1855 on both Five and BBC1
– 26th May, 1855 on BBC Wales
– 27th May, 1755 on BBC2, 1825 on ITV, 1855 on both Five and BBC1
Green Party candidates for the West Midlands in the European elections to be held on Thursday 4th June 2009:
1. Felicity Norman
Lead candidate for the West Midlands region in the European Elections to be held in June 2009.
Felicity Norman has a wealth of experience through travelling widely, living and working in many different parts of the world. Her work has included agriculture and teaching. She is married with two daughters and lives with her family on a smallholding in Herefordshire, where she teaches part time.
“I am delighted to have been selected as the Green Party’s lead candidate for the West Midlands in the 2009 European elections, and look forward to putting forward Green policies and ideas wherever possible. Green MEPs, Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert have done a wonderful job in Brussels and Strasburg for the past few years, together with their Green colleagues from other European countries, in promoting the Green agenda, and I look forward to joining them. I am especially interested in food, farming and rural affairs and will be campaigning hard for agricultural policy reform: boosting organic farming, small family farms, allotments, support for local food, no GMOs, and better animal welfare standards. Although I am a supporter of the EU, I am very critical of many of its activities. I shall be working with other Greens to make the EU more open and accountable, less beaurocratic and centralised, and far greener. I will be campaigning for a Europe that puts people before profit, protects workers and minorities, and challenges poverty, discrimination and injustice both here and in the wider world. I want to see a Europe that takes seriously the dangers posed by Climate Change and Peak Oil, as well as other threats to the environment, and works for truly sustainable solutions; a Europe where justice and sustainability underpin all aspects of political decision making.”
2.Ã‚ Peter Tinsley
Peter is a management consultant, retired NHS manager and lives in Selly Park, Birmingham. He is a member of the Selly Oak Strategic Partnership representing voluntary and community organisations and has been a member of the city-wide partnership.
Peter is particularly interested in developing a Green perspective on Foreign Affairs and Defence within Europe. He has been a member of the party since 1990 and is currently the Elections Officer for the West Midlands.
3. Chris Williams
Chris, aged 25, is one of the youngest Green Party candidates at the European elections. Graduating in Biochemistry at Oxford University three years ago, Chris has since spent a year travelling from Morocco to Cape Town and the past two years working for an environmental campaigning charity. Passionate about social justice, he now works full time promoting Green politics.
Chris lives in Solihull where he recently coordinated the campaign to elect the first Green Party Councillor on to Solihull Council. The difference that makes is already being felt. He will spend the next year campaigining on Green politics in the West Midlands region.
4. Ian Davison
Ian Davison grew up in Cambridge and went to Cambridge University to study Natural Sciences. In 1984, while studying for a PhD in psychology, he joined the Green Party and he was involved in starting and running a university green group.
Ian then trained as a teacher and taught in state secondary schools for 14 years with a variety of roles including head of science and senior teacher. Currently he is a research fellow at the University of Birmingham. He mainly conducts research in postgraduate medical education.
Ian lives in Leamington Spa with his partner for the last 23 years. Their two children attend local state schools.
5. Vicky Dunn
Vicky Dunn is 31 years old, has lived in Kidderminster forÃ‚ four years and has been an environmental and peace activist for the lastÃ‚ ten years. Vicky has a PhD in environmental chemistry and has worked as an environmental business advisor, helping West Midlands businesses save money and resources. She has also worked as a local authority health and sustainability officer.
Vicky recognises that Europe has driven forward the environmental agenda on waste, producer responsibility and carbon trading but also recognises that people see European decision making as remote, and there is much scope to devolve its power.
6. Dave Wall
David was born and brought up in Birmingham, leaving the West Midlands for five years to science at University then teach for a year in Turkey before returning to Birmingham for a brief stay before moving to Lichfield in Staffordshire.
Dave has had a fragmented work history which included computer programming, science teaching, and NHS Administration.Ã‚ He has experience of Trade union work as District Secretary of his Union whilst working for the West Midlands Regional Health Authority.
Dave has been actively involved in Voluntary and Church activities, having been an electedÃ‚ member of the Board of Management of Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, and also elected to the Lichfield Diocesan Synod. Ã‚ He is actively involved with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust as a Trustee.
Read The Sentinel article here.
Over to you, what do you want to see during the Euro Election campaign? Should we be in Europe at all? Are You pro or antiÃ‚ Europe?………….