Triple-headed monsters

Can we please have a Beppe Grillo in UK politics?

Not that I actually like Signor Grillo (Mr Cricket), but he serves a useful purpose, and one of which we’re evidently in need.  A genuine protest vote that is not actively harmful.  A “none of the above” for an electoral system that doesn’t accommodate any such thing.

In UK politics now we’re faced with two three-headed monsters.  The LibLabCon establishment, parties of government, of Osbrownomics, of the advancing police state, and numerous other common themes.  Three parties that have all betrayed their roots and their supporters and lost public support and trust.  A triple-headed dog wagged by the common tail of some real or imagined swing voters in marginal constituencies.

Yes, faced with those three we need a credible none-of-the-above protest option.

What we have is the fringe: parties with just a few elected representatives, whose rhetoric has been spared exposure to the harsh realities of government.  A “Green” party that alas embodies far too much loony left to take seriously.  A pair of nationalist parties, one of them working-class and left-wing in the manner of old-Labour, the other well-heeled and economically right wing, but with common goals of withdrawing from the EU and strong racist and xenophobic tendencies.

Except there seem to be more than just the two “nationalist” parties.  The crap coming through my front door tells me it’s not just the [B|UK][N|I]P, but another group calling itself English Democrats with an agenda detached from the UK superstate on the very reasonable grounds of England’s indefensibly asymmetric relationship with Scotland, Wales and NI.  Alas, their agenda as printed on the junkmail looks a lot more like BUKNIP than Scotland’s altogether more credible[1] nationalist party.  Is this another triple-headed monster?  Actually there might be yet another malign growth on this monster, as there’s yet another bit of election junkmail from someone previously elected on a UKIP ticket but now standing separately after (presumably) a falling out amongst thieves.

The sad thing is, one of those three heads appears to be picking up a lot of none-of-the-above protest vote support.  UKIP with its strong Establishment credentials and favourable media coverage (including a leader who gets more BBC airtime than any other single UK politician) has done the country a favour by driving a juggernaut through some of the taboos of Political Correctness that have long defeated the working-class outsider BNP (and previously National Front).  But they’ve brought all the nastiness, and very likely now a chunk of the support base, with them.

Where’s our harmless protest vote?  Who will be our Beppe Grillo and see off this second three-headed monster?

(For the avoidance of doubt, there are things to support in all the parties’ programmes: LibLabCon, Green, and BUKNIP.  Alas, much more in their words than their deeds).

[1] though far too socialist for me.

Posted on May 18, 2014, in politics, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. A quick google tells me that the Monster Raving Loony party is still in business. Would you consider them suitable, or do you want someone who might actually get into 3 figures in the count?

  2. Raving Loony doesn’t help: they’re not taking the role seriously enough to become the party of protest (and not even putting up candidates for the EU election). So the protest votes are going somewhere more harmful.

  3. How about the Pirate Party, then? They take themselves pretty seriously. They don’t seem to have candidates in your neck of the woods currently, but you’re just the kind of person who could help them change that stance by next time.

  4. Pirate party is further than Raving Loony from being suitable. Any party with an Issue they take seriously is problematic as a general-purpose protest vote, simply because they’re not a reasonable option for voters who oppose their Issue.

    Once again, the biggest hurdle is media exposure and the consequent buildup of public mindshare. Who in the Establishment will give Raving Loony or Pirates the kind of Highly Respectable platform the BBC, torygraph, et al have given to Farage for upwards of a decade now?

    As for myself, if I were to attach to a single issue, it would have to be Green (which is why I find our Green party so depressing). Mind you, I have history there: I dabbled with Friends of the Earth back in the 1980s, but couldn’t support them due to the high prevalence of anti-nuclear idiocy (which was worse then than now).

    FWIW, I wonder if our activist comedian Mark Thomas could do the job? It feels like his kind of project, and he has charisma, presentational skills, and media contacts.

  5. Mark Thomas is great and very funny, but he is a socialist too (albeit of the less loony variety) which might rule him out! Would be good to see him go head to head with Farage, though…

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