The forthcoming European election makes me sad. Not due to the process, not because of any involvement with the EU itself, but because of how it is starting to be framed.
Anyone notice that racism and jingoism are becoming news items again? That as the farce of how this country's finances are managed continues, and as the suffering that average people are being forced into deepens daily, we're instead treated to a barrage of news about intolerant middle-aged men? Not a single person on this planet could tell Halal meat by taste, 80% of them wouldn't know what it even means, but now Pizza Express and Subway are under fire for even daring to use the word?
That's the battleground this election is being fought on - and may be the same battleground the General Election is fought on, next year.
Several people are okay with this.
The Tory government, for example. They're loving this, because while everyone debates if immigrants are a good thing or a bad thing, while reasonable people try to quell fires lit by intolerant bigots, nobody is debating how their policies are steadily sinking this country like a stricken ship. After all, George Osborne might know nothing about economics, and Iain Duncan Smith might have a genocidal grudge against the poor, but at least neither of them are racist, right?
UKIP are okay with this too, because the more racist they come across, the more racists will vote for them - and the more they'll be in the news, for free publicity. They'll ride the wave as best they can, and stir up as much fear as possible. Employment being as low as it is, so many people will easily believe that a tide of immigrants is just waiting to snap up what is left. Fear politics is effective.
What we have to look at is actual policies, and the actual actions of the party in question, even the individual in question. Don't be swayed by the push-button racism: vote for the benefit of the country.
(It does bear mention that if you work for a living, or want to, then that vote is best spent on someone other than UKIP or the Conservatives, but then you can probably puzzle that out from their policies.)
This is just opinion of course. I could be wrong. It has to be noted that I've got a strong left-leaning bias due to not being fabulously wealthy, xenophobic or a complete fool - and if you haven't got that from reading this blog previously, you may have missed something.
Just...in the name of all that is holy, it's an election, not a popularity contest. Make the choice that makes your life better.