Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Plus ca change...

After a prolonged hiatus, I have decided to resurrect this blog.

The same battles are still being fought. We still do not know how the challenge of Russian neo-fascism will be met. We still do not know how the European Union can maintain liberty and democracy in the face of the economic complexities that it has created. We still do not know if the UK can meet the challenge of Scottish separatism. We still do not know how Liberty can be protected in the face of the multiple challenges of technology, fear and greed.

In Britain, tonight is the eve of the European and some local elections, in some of the rest of the EU, the vote is already taking place, although for most the official polling day is on 25th May. Normally I would be out canvassing or delivering for the Liberal Democrats, but a thousand miles away, in Estonia, the challenge of UKIP seems more absurd than threatening. Doubtless the UK media who have been unearthing the ancient scandals of lazy, stupid or incompetent (not to mention racist and not a little dotty) UKIP MEPs during the campaign- well done the Tory attack dogs there- will revert to "government in crisis as UKIP surge" once the results are in. I for my part have already voted- on line of course- in the Estonian EU elections. I wish I could vote for one of the excellent British Liberal Democrat MEPs that are in danger of being ousted by drastically inferior competitors. However, as a permanent resident of Estonia, I have chosen to make a difference here.

In a way the Euro campaign reflects the reality of British politics as a whole. The train wreck of Ed Miliband trying to bluff and bullshit his way out of a trap on BBC Radio Wiltshire was cringe-making and hilarious at the same time. The circus of UKIP has come under sustained attack and Farage too has been revealed as a lying bullshitter. Meanwhile the coalition hunkers down- Cameron hoping to hold his ground and Clegg- who had the nous, but not, alas, the killer instinct, to challenge Farage first- will be hoping to avoid another evening of outright catastrophe. The Liberal Democrats have become the blame hound of British politics, but as I watch honourable and decent candidates stand up for the Liberal vision I feel a certain frustration that the shallow ignorance of the British political discourse is trashing Lib Dem support for mistakes that are more obvious and outrageous in the other parties- not least the nasty and pointless UKIP. The fact is that it is Labour for their incompetence and UKIP for their triviality and greed that should be being punished at these elections.

So, I wish my Liberal Democrat  friends and colleagues the best of luck. I think we can limit the damage somewhat this time, and if we do, then I hope that the next few months will see a fairer assessment of the considerable achievements of Liberal Democrats in government.

And anyway, after all, it is never over until the return officer clears his throat!    

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