It might well be argued that today's British political landscape simply mirrors that of many other western European democracies, in that it is fundamentally broken and no longer truly represents the wishes, or indeed the best interests of the vast majority of its native population. We have seen it in France, in Spain and more recently in Greece, the emergence of both new and existing insurgency parties increasing their electoral influence in a direct response to the complete and utter failure of the more traditional parties to deliver on their promises of more prosperity, greater democracy and fuller accountability.
Whether it's the Tory or Labour parties in Britain, the Socialist's or the UMP in France, the People's Party or the Socialist Workers Party in Spain, New Democracy or PASOK in Greece, increasingly they are being successfully challenged by the likes of UKIP and the SNP in the UK, by the Front National in France, by Podemos in Spain, by the 5 Star Movement in Italy and now by the Syriza Party in Greece, which has recently been elected into office there. The Greek people it would seem have been the first to recognise that traditional old style politics, where voting for the same old faces, the same old failed ideological solutions can't and won't work for their country; and so they have opted to throw their old electoral habits away and elected to have some new ones brought in instead.
Now, it might well be argued that a common theme amongst these nations is the overarching and often unwelcome presence of the European Union, which although preaching mutual benefit and continental unity, is probably one of the most economically malign and socially divisive influences ever created within mainland Europe. However, to simply blame the EU for every economic disaster, every social breakdown, or indeed for every political miscalculation that has taken place in these various countries would be a grievous error, as that would suppose that traditional politicians in the UK, France, Spain, Greece and Italy have had little or nothing to do with the seemingly numerous and insurmountable problems that have affected their individual nations over the course of the past few years, when in fact, they have been entirely responsible for many of those same problems.
It is probably true to say that traditional, ideological and dogmatic political thinking on the part of mainstream politicians throughout the continent, in the UK, France, Spain, Greece and Italy, etc. is just as much to blame for the recent upsurge in widespread public dissatisfaction in those countries, as is the restrictive effects of the wholly unrepresentative and entirely questionable construct of the European Union itself. The fact that an unwieldy, wasteful, and largely unaccountable political, economic and social construct like the EU was first imagined, created and then operated, despite the torrent of good advice and indisputable evidence that was weighed against it, speaks volumes about the personal vanity, incompetence and the inflexibility of those who not only first proposed it, not just those who helped establish it, but also those who remain complicit in helping to continue the political, economic and social folly.
Apart from both being located on the European continent, just how are Germany and Greece alike? Exactly what do France and Poland have in common, or how are the Republic of Ireland and Portugal, or even Holland and Spain, in anyway similar to one another? The truth is, that aside from having willingly agreed to share their national sovereignty with one another, deferring many of their national competencies to a centralised parliament; and created a new common European currency that nearly all have chosen to use, most of the 28 member states of the EU have absolutely nothing in common with one another, apart that it, for a mainstream political elite who are bound and determined to forge ahead with the political experiment, even if it has to be over the heads of the 28 entirely separate and disparate native populations.
However, this blind determination to press ahead with the European Union, in the face of such widespread public opposition, anxiety and even anger amongst the native populations of continental Europe, isn't the responsibility of the EU itself, which is a wholly artificial political entity, but probably has more to do with each of those continental nations being governed by their own groups of generally unremarkable, uninspired, unimaginative and personally insipid politicians. After all, who in their right mind would ever call David Cameron an inspirational leader, or Francoise Hollande a visionary one, or better yet describe Angela Merkel as charismatic, or as revolutionary? In truth, they are none of these things, but instead might more accurately be described as the same old sort of dull, mundane, predictable and uninspired leaders who have held sway on the European continent for the past 70 years; and so for any of us to expect that things will radically change, whilst such people remain in charge of almost every aspect of our everyday lives, is a forlorn hope at best.
If one accepts the basic premise that the best people to govern Britain are the British, the best people to govern Greece are the Greeks, France the French, Germany the Germans, Holland the Dutch, etc. then anything other than a modern, equitable and legally binding trade agreement between the individual nations of Europe is generally unnecessary. Quite why any individual nation state should be compelled to disadvantage itself, just because it happens to be wealthier, more productive, better educated, or more highly paid than its neighbour is an absolutely absurd requirement for any trade organisation to make. Just why should the richer, more successful European states essentially subsidise the poorer and less successful ones, either by paying disproportionately higher subscription fees, by opening their national borders to hordes of migrant workers, by sacrificing their sovereign competencies to foreign influence, or by allowing their historic common laws to be usurped by foreign courts? Where is the equity, or the fairness in that, other than being forced to lose something of intrinsic value, only then to have it replaced with something far less valuable?
The fact that Britain's influence is slowly diminishing on both the World and European stage has little to do with the national attitude of its people's, but probably has far more to do with the willingness of successive national governments to defer their authority to other foreign bodies. Despite constituting around 10% of the EU's native population, in terms of voting influence within the European Union, the UK is reported to represent only about 7-8% of the total, even though it is a nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has one of the best funded military's in the world, is one of the largest economies in the world, is a founding member of countless international bodies, including the Commonwealth; and yet we have chosen to deliberately throw away much of that power and influence to remain a member of the EU, which is reputed to be a declining market anyway!
For their own safe, unimaginative and entirely selfish reasons our mainstream political elite have decided amongst themselves that Britain should remain politically, economically and socially shackled to a 70-year-old concept of Europeanism that is not just past its sell by date, but has become so rotten that it actively infecting everything else that it touches. One only has to look at the social destruction wrought on Greece, or the military devastation of Ukraine to witness the almost poisonous legacy that this artificial political construct can cause in the hands of those who now guide the EU. That is not to excuse the wastefulness or incompetence of previous Greek administrations, or indeed the expansionist vision of the Russian president Vladimir Putin, but ultimately neither can the European Union's leaders wash their hands of their own complicity in such matters, fuelled as it has been through their own personal vanity and the determination to see their political project grow even further and bigger. And let we Britons not forget that it was our own Prime Minister, David Cameron, who has previously stated that he would be content to see the European Union expand even further East, not only into the Soviet Union itself, but also towards Asia more generally, with both Turkey and Albania being mentioned as possible future members by the Conservative leader. What could possibly go wrong?
With British politicians like David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nichola Sturgeon and Nick Clegg cheering them on from the sidelines, how long do you imagine it will be before the European Union leadership begin their next round of political, economic and social expansionism, assuming of course that the Ukrainian territorial time-bomb that they've helped plant doesn't go off in the meantime? With Conservative, Labour, SNP and Lib Dem connivance just how long will it be before the EU wants to collect more personal data on the millions of citizens that it governs, such as with the soon to be implemented Air Passenger Record, which will no doubt be perused and analysed to an infinite degree by the various security and law enforcement agencies established by the European Union? Surely we should all be worried by an artificial political construct that seeks to establish new and invasive ways of protecting itself from the very citizens it was purportedly set up to serve? Shouldn't each of us be concerned that as the EU grows and expands, the voice of the individual member states within it diminishes to the point that any sort of meaningful national opposition will be ignored? Just how long will it be, before it becomes against the rules, or otherwise impossible, for any single member state to leave the Union, either through force of arms, the threat of international isolation, or even through the possibility of national economic ruin?
Only time will tell whether or not Greece's Syriza Party can rescue their country from the EU inspired political, economic and social depression that it has been forced into over the past few years, although it seems unlikely that the European Union will willingly release its grip on the beleaguered nation very easily, as to do would be a tacit admission of failure in the entire project. And because, if Greece were to make the decision to finally escape the entanglement of the European Union, there would be a very real danger that other member states, who find themselves in a similarly difficult situation, such as Portugal, Spain and Italy, might choose to follow Greece's lead and exit the EU as well.
Here in the UK, our future relationship with the European Union is hardly straightforward, when one considers that much of the debate surrounding our continued membership tends to consist of generalised misrepresentations, broken electoral promises and downright lies. For the most part though, the vast majority of Britain's political elite, Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Welsh Labour, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats all support our continuing membership of the Union, although with almost the standard codicil of a renegotiation having taken place first. The attachment of such a proviso is of course risible, given that the EU leadership have almost universally announced that the four freedoms on which the project is built, of goods, people, services and capital cannot and will not be renegotiated under any circumstances; and yet the likes of David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nichola Sturgeon and Nick Clegg still persist with the barefaced lie that they and they alone can convince the other 27 member states to decide otherwise.
In reality of course, there is only one British political party dedicated to an immediate In/Out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, without trying to deceive the voting public with promises of false renegotiation's, etc. and that party is UKIP. Now, whilst accepting that Nigel Farage is almost certainly one of those "Marmite" politicians that people either love or loathe in equal measure; and that many people will doubtless have bought into the populist media propaganda of UKIP somehow being a party of rampant racists, homophobes, xenophobes and hopeless hysterics, ultimately that doesn't make them liars. Just because they want to prioritise British people in their home country, to re-impose regular border controls on the numbers of foreign migrants coming into the country, or restore some of the standards that have been thoughtlessly discarded by previous governments, that doesn't necessarily make them a bad option when a general election comes around.
It is perhaps also worth making the point that even though Nigel Farage may be the leader of the party and the man most closely associated with its public brand, but ultimately Nigel Farage is NOT THE PARTY. The members, the activists and the supporters are THE PARTY, as without them UKIP would not and could not exist, regardless of how charismatic, or "blokey", or likeable Nigel Farage might be as a individual. We do not live in a Presidential-type democracy, no matter how much the three legacy parties would have us believe we do, where it's simply a choice of voting for David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, or even Nigel Farage. Instead, in a parliamentary democracy we're supposed to be voting for an individual candidate for our particular constituency, which is in theory, the best person to represent us and our home area , regardless of their affiliations or pre-agreed party line.
Okay, so UKIP might not be a perfect solution to the many and varied troubles that are affecting our country at present, but I would challenge anyone to point to a mainstream political party that is. The Labour Party isn't the answer and the Conservatives aren't the solution either; and it goes without saying that the Liberal Democrats are definitely not the answer, so what is a person supposed to do, who are they supposed to vote for? Well for me and based entirely on the personal belief that Britain should only ever be governed by the British, that each of their elected councillors and MPs are entitled to serve their constituents, rather than the party line; and based on how their two elected MPs, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless have conducted themselves in the Commons thus far, then I'll definitely be voting for UKIP in May 2015. They may not be perfect, but at least they represent a start in helping to create the sort of Britain that I personally want to live in, that I want to believe in.