I’m not from the UK. I have a British passport, but I don’t feel “British”. In fact, I don’t really feel like my nationality should really define my identity at all. So it sickens me to watch the European election campaigns being run by nationalist sentiments and fear.
For the last few months, the media has played into hyping up what it deems the ‘crazy’ right wing. They have turned Nigel Farage into a gaffing human, promoted his cause through their horrendous plaguing games and basically passed UKIP the pity vote. They’ve provided him with a platform.
Meanwhile, the other main parties have all been wrestling to win over the anti-immigrant sentiment too. The Tories have rehashed their Immigration Bill, Labour has vocalised giving Britain a unique voice in Europe (aka One Nation) and rationalised Nigel Farage’s racism, and the Lib Dems – well who really cares?
Meanwhile, the Greens have tried to present themselves as the anti-UKIP party, supporting a campaign which openly talks of worker rights, energy security (through renewables) and more open immigration rules – added to reformist perspectives on global economy and increase ‘aid’ to the Global South. More nationalist sentiments through their campaigns, though in support of Europe.
The question that needs to be asked, and which is not, is how are these parties actually representing the British population at all? The BNP and UKIP’s successes are pitted on the fact that they claim to represent the average (white) British worker, but they hardly have evidence to support it. And the Greens proclaim to be ‘warm’ and ‘welcoming’ when they do little outreach with those whose interests they claim to represent.
Let us take the example of Traveller and Gypsy communities. The European Greens have vocally campaigned against the dislocations of the Roma from France and Italy, but they have little experience of working with the Roma to challenge these issues. How many people running as MEPs are from Traveller or Gypsy backgrounds? How many have actually worked with the communities affected on a local level? How many Traveller or Gypsy folk are actually members of the Green Party? Don’t claim to represent people who don’t feel you represent them.
Over and over again, I do not see where either myself, my family or my friends fit in within the election process. We are spoken about and for by the parties, but we have no real voice. We have been attacked and harassed and then others have supported those attackers. And the parties which claim to represent us do not provide support or give us a platform. They don’t even try and win our votes. They speak over us, as if their role is to patronisingly protect us.
I don’t need protection. I need justice.
- Justice for the Global South to no longer be seen as a place for foreign aid and pity.
- Justice for the continued oppression that we face in a society that values capitalism and refuses to acknowledge local knowledge and cultural diversity.
- Justice for the criminalisation of difference and the silencing of real alternative perspectives, not just Western political tropes (e.g. fascism vs anarchism vs socialism).
- Justice for a world not based on profitable resource consumption but on human values and community.
And this justice is will not be in the European Elections or by any political parties. This justice lies in real human relationships, and our capacity to learn and build community.