Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Who is Nigel Farage's new Polish mate?


We all had a good laugh when it was reported that UKIP's so-called European Freedom and Direct Democracy group had collapsed after the withdrawal of the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule, who quit the group within six months of joining it, meaning that they had representation from fewer than the seven EU nations necessary to form an official group and claim £millions in subsidies from the EU.

I'm pretty sure anyone but the most hardcore of UKIP tribalists must have thought "good job too ... what on earth is an anti-EU party doing gobbling up subsidies from the organisation they supposedly oppose anyway?"

Unfortunately Farage was quick to find a makeweight MEP from elsewhere to fill out his group again in order to requalify them to continue riding the EU funding gravy train. The MEP he found was The Polish MEP Robert Iwaszkiewicz, who comes from a political party so fanatically right-wing that even the French Front National wanted absolutely nothing to do with them!

In this article I'm going to take a closer look at the ragtag bunches of parties that Nigel Farage builds around UKIP in order to gobble up EU subsidies, and then go on to look at UKIP's new Polish friend and the party that he represents.

The European Freedom and Democracy group (2009-2014)

If you know anything much at all about European politics, it is blindingly obvious that EFDD (and the predecessor group EFD) are just haphazard groups of parties, with virtually nothing in common apart from the fact that without being part of such groups, UKIP would be short of the multinational alliance necessary in order to claim £millions in party subsidies from the EU.

The fact that UKIP's 2009-2014 group was pretty much a random jumble of parties can be seen by looking at the schitzophrenic voting record of the EFD group. One vote that is of particular interest to me is the May 2013 vote on whether the EU should proceed with negotiating the TTIP Corporate Power Grab, which is a proposed "trade deal" designed to completely over-write the democratic and judicial systems of signature states with pro-corporate legiaslation.

Given their habit of harping on endlessly about British sovereignty, one would have expected UKIP and their EFD group to vote against TTIP, however a look at the voting record reveals that only one UKIP MEP even bothered to vote, and he voted in favour of it, along with the majority of the EFD group. In fact the ex-Tory Roger Helmer joined 17 other EFD MEPs in voting in favour of TTIP, whilst only two MEPs in the whole group rebelled and voted against it.

It's quite extraordinary that UKIP are now pretending to be opposed to TTIP, even though Roger Helmer, and the majority of their political group voted in favour of it last time it came before the European Parliament, and their economics spokesperson William "Dartmouth" Legge continues speaking out in favour of it.
The European Freedom and Direct Democracy group (2014-)

The composition of UKIP's group has changed dramatically since the 2014 European Elections. Out went the Italian neo-fascists Legia Nord and in came Beppe Grillo's populist Five Star Movement protest party in their place. The neo-fascist True Finns party also departed, as did the Calvinist Dutch political party SGP and the radical right-wing Greek Popular Orthodox Rally. In fact the only survivors other than UKIP from the previous incarnation are the two MEPs from the Lithuanian Order and Justice party. To reflect this change the group name was altered to include the word "Direct".

Within UKIP's reconstituted European gang, only one other party provides more than two MEPs, and that is Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement (MS5) which provides 17, to UKIP's 24, the other five contribute only seven MEPs between them.

The Five Star Movement and UKIP make extremely odd bedfellows. The only similarities seem to be that they are both Eurosceptic parties, and that they both have a charismatic populist as their leaders.

There are large policy differences between the two parties, not least the MS5 support for gay marriage and gay equality, their commitment to digital democracy and their environmentalist policy platform. A bunch of gay equality enthusiasts and environmentalists look like extremely odd bedfellows to a party riddled with climate change deniers and gay equality opposers.

Perhaps the strongest indicator that MS5 are extremely odd companions for UKIP is that they initially tried to join the left-wing (and strongly anti-TTIP) Green - European Freedom Alliance containing the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP, but they were rejected.

After being rejected by the Greens MS5 tried to join the ALDE group which contains the one remaining Lib-Dem MEP, but they were rejected by them too.

Only after being rejected by the long-established Green and Liberal Democrat parliamentary groups did MS5 settle for joining Nigel Farage's ragtag bunch.

Another really confusing aspect to MS5's participation in UKIP's EFDD group is their commitment to preventing politics from becoming a way to make money and a career choice, which manifests through their rejection of publicly allocated funds to their party. What a party with such a commitment to not scamming expenses and making a career out of politics is doing propping up a European group which pretty much only exists to ensure that UKIP receive £millions in subsidies from the EU is anybodies guess.

Who is Nigel Farage's new Polish mate?

The new addition to UKIP's disparate bunch of Euro oddballs is the Polish MEP 
Robert Iwaszkiewicz who has been given special dispensation from his KNP party to join the UKIP group. 
KNP is an extreme-right group led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who is one of the most "outspoken" MEPs in Europe, who has a habit of doing things like denying the holocaust, saying that women shouldn't be allowed to vote and referring to black Americans as "niggers".

Here are some quotes from the leader of the Polish party that has saved UKIP's lucrative European subsidies by lending them one of his MEPs.

"Women are dumber than men and should not be allowed to vote"
"Evolution has ensured that women are not too intelligent"
"The general public should not see the disabled on television" (an objection to the 2012 Summer Paralympics)
"Democracy is the stupidest form of government ever conceived"
"Gays are a gang of louts imported from abroad"
"We must destroy the minimum wage and we must destroy the power of trade unions" (from this speech in which he refered to black Americans as "niggers")
As for the man himself, UKIP's new ally Robert Iwaszkiewicz has praised Adolf Hitler for his tax policies and defended domestic violence. Here are a couple of quotes:
"If taxes were lower in Hitler's time, and now they're higher, what's wrong with wanting to say so?"
"[wife beating can] help bring many wives back down to earth"

It's absolutely clear that UKIP is now reliant upon a man from a very distasteful extreme-right bunch of Holocaust deniers in order to keep their taxpayer funded subsidies rolling in.

Ukipper reactions

It's no surprise at all that the overwhelming reaction of Ukippers to all of this has been to jump straight into self-pitying conspiracy theory mode, because that was precisely the mentality of their leader Nigel Farage when the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule left the EFDD group.

Instead of contemplating the idea that she might have left because EFDD is an incoherent group made up of totalitarians, libertarians, anti-gay, pro-gay, environmentalists, climate change deniers, extreme right-wingers and wannabe-greens, to Farage and his followers it was clearly the result of some grand conspiracy orchestrated by Martin Schultz and a cabal of evil Euro-federalists.

The Ukipper reaction to the revelation that their new Polish friend comes from a disgusting and misogynistic extreme-right party is similar. You only have to read any article exposing KNP for what they are, to see a bunch of Ukippers complaining that the quotes have been "taken out of context"; that they were "only jokes"; that they were "deliberately mistranslated"; and that it's all some big conspiracy against the brave UKIP freedom fighters.

This tendency to jump straight into conspiracy theory mode derives from the tribalist hero narratives of the UKIP campaign. It's impossible for the tribalist Ukipper to see that UKIP has ever done anything wrong, because they are by definition the heroes of the story, meaning the narrative would be rendered incoherent if the problems they encounter are of their own making, rather than the result of the meddling of some arch-villain (in this case Martin Schultz, but in other cases the Lib-Lab-Cons, the media, the gays, the environmentalists, the PC brigade ...).

Conclusion

It's absolutely no surprise to anyone who follows European politics that Nigel Farage has once again hopped into bed with terrible nutters from the extreme-right fringe in order to keep UKIP's ticket to ride the EU gravy train of party funding. In the last European Parliament he cavorted with Italian neo-fascists who openly declared that the mass murderer Anders Brevik had "excellent ideas" that were "in defence of Western civilisation", and already in the new parliament he's been forced to defend the outrageous history of his Swedish Democrat allies, which grew out of the Nordic Nazi Party.

The fact that UKIP are up to their old tricks of hanging about with the dregs of the extreme-right fringe in order to secure more taxpayer funding for their party is not at all surprising. What is much more interesting is the fact that the Italian progressives MS5 continue to prop this group up. What on earth are a bunch of pro-equality, environmentalist, digital democracy enthusiast, wannabe Greens doing propping up this increasingly vile extreme-right coalition?

Perhaps someone who speaks Italian could ask the leader of MS5 Beppe Grillo what he thinks he is achieving by associating himself and his party with right-wing opportunists like Nigel Farage, and extreme-right fanatics like 
Robert Iwaszkiewicz and the Sweden Democrats?


 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.




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Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I'm sick of UKIP stealing my infographics


I'm no kind of copyright fanatic, so I rarely take exception to people borrowing and reusing my infographics, after all - I made them in order for them to be shared.

What I do mind is people taking my infographics and using them to promote political parties and ideologies that I'm strongly opposed to. A classic example of this was the way the right-wing extremist and compulsive liar Joshua Bonehill took to stealing my infographics and reposting them on his Facebook page, shortly after he had sent me a private message in which he threatened to get my Facebook page shut down. Ironically page was shut down by Facebook shortly afterwards for spreading Islamophobia, race hate and outright lies.

My views on UKIP

Anyone who is remotely familiar with my work should know that I'm not a fan of UKIP. I've done my best to raise awareness of the fact that UKIP is 
a pro-corporate right-wing Trojan Horse party designed to hoover up the votes of the dissatisfied (just like the Tea Party in the USA).

I've explained that they're 90% bankrolled by ex-Tory donors, that they're led by a former Tory party activist from an establishment family, and that the party is riddled with failed, disgraced and defected Tory politicians.

I've also tried to raise awareness of the fact that UKIP don't give a damn about the real threat to UK sovereigny; the TTIP Corporate Power Grab, which is designed to completely over-write our democratic and legal systems, in order to allow multinational corporations to sue our government in secretive transnational tribunals and to import cheap labour from abroad.

Despite the Ukipper tactic of pointing to the anti-TTIP comments from one single UKIP representative (Louise Bours) at the September 2014 UKIP conference to pretend that the UKIP leadership are anti-TTIP, the UKIP voting record on the issue is crystal clear. Last time the issue of TTIP came before the European Parliament, only one UKIP MEP even bothered to vote in the debate, that was their economics spokesperson Roger Helmer who voted in favour of it! If that's not enough of a demonstration that they're in favour of attacks on UK sovereignty (as long as the beneficiaries are multinational corporations), then perhaps this excruciating speech from William Legge might be enough to convince?

Regular readers of my work will also be familiar with the fact that a constant stream of UKIP supporters show up on my page to insult me and call me a "fascist" for daring to use facts and evidence to criticise their party. I've had to deal with so many of these cognitively incontinent ranters that I've even compiled this article outlining many of their most common "debating tactics".

UKIP pinching my work

I've lost count of the number of times I've spotted UKIP pinching my infographics and posting them on Twitter in order to drum up publicity for their "Thatcherism on Steroids" party.

When I spot them doing it I usually send them a message asking if they're aware that in May 2014 a UKIP politician issued legal threats against me because I dared to criticise UKIP. Ironically, the thing I was criticising UKIP for at the time was the decision by another UKIP politician to call the police in to intimidate a guy who fact checked an anti-UKIP poster! It's bad enough that they have such contempt for free speech, but to go on to steal the work of those they have tried to censor; that's just outrageous.

In October 2014 I was informed that a UKIP "shop" in Boscombe, Dorset has used one my infographics in their window display. It's bad enough that they recycle my infographics as social media propaganda for their party, but actually printing my infographics off and using them as window display posters for a Thatcherite political party is clearly completely out of order.
Few Ukippers seem capable of understanding the irony of UKIP using the work of a guy who is considered such a threat to their party that legal threats were issued against him in an effort to silence him. Had they succeeded in shutting my page down, where would they get their posters for their window displays?
Conclusion

Nicking the work of a guy who wrote this article about Margaret Thatcher's toxic socio-economic legacies, to promote a party that openly describe themselves as "keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive" just goes to show what a bunch of lazy political opportunists UKIP are.

Postscript

If you're not a member of an extreme-right hate group, or a Thatcherite Trojan Horse party, please feel free to reuse my pictures (on line or by printing them off). The only time I object is when people pinch them in order to promote political ideologies that I despise.


 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.




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MORE ARTICLES FROM
 ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE 
         
Fish and Ivory - UKIP's appalling EU voting record
           
12 Tory-UKIP defectors
                     
Floods, humanitarian aid and the far-right fringe
       

12 things you should know about the 2014 European elections
                             
How the TTIP corporate power grab is the biggest threat to UK sovereignty
                                         
Who is to blame for the economic crisis?
                          
Why 73% of UKIP supporters should actually vote Green
                
They're not "tuition fees, they're a tax on aspiration
                      
Paul Nuttall's disappearing NHS comments
                                
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies
  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The public want to hear what the Green Party have to say






After the BBC and the corporate broadcasters (ITV, Sky and Channel 4) colluded to exclude the Green Party from the pre-election leaders' debates I wrote an article detailing 12 reasons why the Green Party should be included. In this article I'm going to discuss another reason they should be included; the fact that the public want to hear what they've got to say.

After the decision was made to invite the four pro-austerity parties to the debates, and exclude the anti-austerity Green Party (and other anti-austerity parties like the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Respect) YouGov conducted a poll on whether the Green party should be invited.

A strong majority of those who answered the question decisively said that the Green Party should be included in the debates. If the "don't knows" are excluded from the results, the public voted 60-40 in favour of Green Party representation in the debate.

A closer look at these results reveals something very interesting indeed. The majority of self-declared supporters of the Labour Party (57%) and the Lib Dems (66%) voted that the Green leader Natalie Bennett should not be excluded from the debate, whilst a clear majority of self declared supporters of the Tory party (54%) voted that she should be excluded. UKIP supporters also voted slightly in favour of her exclusion (45% to 41%).

The reason that this is so interesting is that the Green Party are much more likely to appeal to the more left-wing demographics of the Labour Party and the Lib-Dems, meaning that the supporters of these parties actually voted against the self-interest of their own parties to favour the inclusion of a candidate who might well end up taking a lot of votes from their parties.

The idea that the Greens are more appealing to Labour and Lib Dem voters isn't idle speculation either. The polling data shows that 33% of self-declared Lib Dem supporters are considering a switch to the Green Party, and 22% of Labour supporters are also toying with the idea of voting Green. These results contrast sharply with the two even more right-wing pro-austerity parties. Only 6% of Tory supporters and 5% of UKIP supporters are considering the idea of voting Green.

The fact that Lib Dem and Labour supporters are much more open to the idea of voting Green is not surprising. Several of the Green Party manifesto commitments should appeal strongly to traditional supporters of these two parties. Renationalisation of the energy companies and railways, Universal Basic Income and wealth taxes should appeal to traditional Labour supporters, and free university education, defence of citizens' rights and electoral reform should appeal to Liberal Democrat voters.

What is surprising is the fact that the majority of Tory and UKIP supporters are so opposed to the idea of inclusion of a party that could split the Labour vote. It's kind of understandable from a UKIP perspective because they'd clearly rather be cast by the mainstream press as "the only alternative" rather than competing with the Greens to offer the best critique of the establishment parties, and the best set of alternative policies.

The much stronger opposition from the Tory party faithful is a lot harder to fathom. It's as if they're so strongly opposed to the idea of allowing an unashamedly left-wing party to have a voice in the debate, that they'd sacrifice their own parties self-interest.
The desire of the Tory majority to make sure genuine left-wing voices are locked out of the debate altogether makes quite safe to conclude that the majority of Tory voters do not agree with the maxim that is so often used to describe the views of Voltaire. The majority of Tory supporters would not sympathise with "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". In fact their version would be more like "I disapprove of what you say, so I will strive to ensure that nobody else gets to hear it".

The motivation behind this strong Tory opposition seems to stem from old fashioned moral authoritarianism, which is the idea that you as an individual get to determine what is correct for everyone else. Therefore in the Tory mind "I don't like their policies so I don't want to hear them" morphs into "I don't like their policies, therefore nobody should be allowed to hear them".

This moral authoritarian attitude 
amongst the Tory faithful that dissenting voices are best kept quiet is mirrored by the policy proposals of their party. It's just a couple of weeks since Theresa May announced her draconian new plans to revoke the right to freedom of speech from people who have committed no criminal offence whatever. If the majority of the Tory party feel the need to snuff out dissenting voices, it's no wonder the Tory leadership feel that they can get away with attacking the freedom of speech of law abiding people simply because they say disagreeable, but not unlawful things.


Conclusion - What we can do?

It is clear that the public want to hear what the Green party have to say. If supporters of the Tory party are stripped out of the equation (because of the strong opposition to the principles of free speech displayed by their party leaders and their supporters alike) then the consensus is even more clear.

The BBC and the mainstream media seem quite determined to make the leaders' debates closed ideology echo chambers featuring only pro-austrity parties, however there are a few things we can do to fight back against this deliberate effort to limit the spectrum of political debate.



  • We can make sure to share social media content from the Green Party, the Scottish Greens and other parties like the SNP and Plaid Cymru, in order to try to counterbalance the bias of the mainstream media, and ensure that as many people as possible are informed about the policies of the non-traditional parties the mainstream media are clearly intent on denying coverage to.
  • Joining the Green Party is another option. There are well over a million Green Party voters out there, so if just a small proportion of them joined the party in order to help them fight back against the hostility of the mainstream media, the Green Party would soon overtake the Liberal Democrats in terms of party membership. The additional bonus in joining the Green Party is that you could try to influence their policies, which is possible because, despite the Lib-Dem lies to the contrary, the Green Party have by far the most democratic structure, where all members have the right to vote on party policy. Here's the link to join the Green Party of England and Wales, and here's the link to join the Scottish Green Party.


 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

12 reasons the Green Party should be included in the leaders' debates


On October 13th 2014 it was announced that the UKIP leader Nigel Farage would be invited to join the pre-election leaders' debates, and that the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, and the leaders of several other non-traditional parties would be excluded.

In this article I'm going to spell out twelve reasons why the Green Party should be included in the debate.

The European Election results

The fact that UKIP won the most votes in the 2014 European elections has been used as one of the main justifications for allowing UKIP into the leaders' debate. I actually agree that UKIP should be there because of their strong performance in the European elections. However it must be remembered that the Green Party finished with more votes than the Liberal Democrats, and returned three MEPs to the the one remaining Lib -Dem MEP (which is a fact you probably wouldn't even know if you relied only on the mainstream media for your political news).

If the results of the European elections are to be considered as an important factor in the decision about which parties are represented, then the fact that the Green Party managed to outperform the Liberal Democrats, despite the appalling lack of mainstream media coverage they received prior to the election, must also be taken into consideration.

The results of the European elections draw a clear picture of a five party system in England, where the Green Party are the fourth most popular party by some distance ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Using the European election results to justify the inclusion of UKIP, without also using them as a justification for the inclusion of the Green Party too reeks of double standards.

MPs

It seems no coincidence at all that UKIP were invited to the pre-election debates within a week of them winning their first MP, however the Greens also have an MP. Caroline Lucas won her seat in Brighton Pavillion in the 2010 General Election through sheer hard work and dedication to the Green Party cause. The turnout was 70%, so nobody can accuse her of fluking the result on a low turnout.

The way UKIP won their seat was by poaching an MP off a rival party and then winning the protest vote on a low by-election turnout of just 51%. The idea that a guy who was a Tory party politician until two months ago is equivalent to someone who has put an enormous amount of work into building support for their party for decades is totally ludicrous.

When a long-term UKIP supporter wins a seat at a General Election, then they can perhaps contest that their MP is equivalent to Caroline Lucas. But until then, it is clear to anyone that no number of turncoat Tory backbenchers could have the same legitimacy as someone who has actually won a seat for their party at a General Election.

Party Membership

The Greens have experienced a large surge in party membership since the turn of the year. The Green Party of England and Wales has experienced a 45%+ increase in party membership in ten months, and the Scottish Green Party have seen an incredible growth in membership in the same period, from a little over 1,000 members in December 2013 to over 7,000 members in October 2014.

If this undeniable surge in support for the Green Party continues at a similar rate until the next election, it is entirely conceivable that they will overtake the Liberal Democrats in terms of party membership, especially since the Lib Dems have lost 33% of their own members since the decision to jump into bed with the Tories in 2010.

Although this article is about the case for Green Party representation in the debates, the huge surge in membership of the Scottish National Party to over 80,000 (making them the third largest party in the whole UK by a significant margin, despite only standing candidates in Scotland, which has only 8% of the electorate) is a strong argument that the SNP should be represented too.

Local government

In terms of local government, UKIP and the Green Party have both been increasing their representation, however one thing differentiates them, and that is the fact that the Green Party actually run a council.

Admittedly Brighton council is a minority administration, which has made it so much easier for the Tories and Labour to collude in undermining them at every move, but this means that unlike UKIP the Green Party have some real experience of actually governing somewhere.

If local government is to be considered a factor for inclusion in debates, the fact that the Green Party actually runs a council has to count strongly in their favour.

The London Assembly

    
The Green party is the 3rd biggest party on the London Assembly. They only have two seats due to the only partially proportional nature of the London Assembly electoral system, but they picked up significantly more votes in the 2012 election (189,215) than the Liberal Democrats (150,447) who also won two seats. UKIP has no representation at all on the London assembly.

The Scottish Parliament

Once again UKIP has no representation in the Scottish parliament, whilst the Green Party have two MSPs thanks to 87,060 votes in the 2011 Scottish election, making them the fifth party in Scotland. UKIP on the other hand finished with no MSPs at all after attracting only 18,138 votes and being pushed down to 8th position by The Scottish Senior Citizens Party and the independent candidates.

Given the sea change in Scottish politics as a result of the 2014 Independence referendum, it is inconceivable that the Scottish Greens won't surge past the Liberal Democrats in the next Scottish parliament election, and, given the exponential increase in support they've experienced, it's even a possibility that they could leapfrog the Tory party to become the third party in Scottish politics by 2016, behind only the SNP and Labour.

Opinion Polls

Lots of UKIP supporters have tried to defend the inclusion of UKIP in the pre-election debates by highlighting opinion polls which place UKIP as the third most popular party. It is equally possible to dig out opinion polls in which the Green Party are vying with the Liberal Democrats for fourth place at around 6/7% of the vote.

Although I don't think that popularity in opinion polls should be considered a major factor in whether parties are represented in pre-election debates, the fact that so many people are pointing to the opinion poll popularity of UKIP as a factor that supersedes the fact that the Green Party, UKIP and several other parties all just have just one MP, then the fact that the Greens have been vying with the Lib Dems for fourth place must also be taken into consideration.
 

Social Media

In my view judging whether a party should be included in the pre-election debates based on their popularity on social media is as silly as using opinion polls as a justification.

It is worth noting however, that The Green Party have more followers on Twitter than either UKIP or the Liberal Democrats.

It is also worth noting that the Green Party (25,900*) have more than three times as many Facebook interactions as the Liberal Democrats (8,600), and they're rapidly catching them up in terms of total followers too (which is actually a much less important factor on Facebook than the number of active users as measured by interactions).

The Green Party also have more interactions than the official Conservative Facebook page too (23.200), illustrating the Facebook principle that active organic followers are much more useful than inactive paid-for-likes.

                   
The Youth Vote


I believe that it is of fundamental importance that more effort is made to engage the youth vote. The fact that the 18-24 demographic has become ever more apathetic over the generations is a big problem for anyone who believes in the value of participatory democracy, because the youth of today always become the adults of tomorrow, as the older demographics edge towards the retirement from political participation that tends to come with death. 

The Green Party are significantly more popular than UKIP with the 18-24 age group. It depends which measures you use, but they're either vying with the Liberal Democrats for third place according to the polls, or they've already overtaken them in terms of young people who are committed enough to actually become party members.
Whether we class the Green Party as the third party amongst the youth vote or not, what can't be contested is that denying the youth vote representation from a party they're more keen on than UKIP is a surefire way to disengage them from politics, and teach them that their own political concerns are irrelevant.

The exclusion of the Greens from the debate, despite the fact their youth membership has more than doubled in just one year, could even be portrayed as a deliberate attempt to "nip this problem in the bud" 
 by ruling them out of the debate before the Greens become "too popular"

In order to believe any such theory, you'd have to suspect that someone behind the decision to exclude them from the debate had an intense loathing of the Green Party and the left-wing / libertarian policies they promote.

Rupert Murdoch

       

One of the bodies behind the decision to invite Nigel Farage, but not the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett to the debate was Sky TV, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire.

The other bodies involved in the decision were ITV, Channel Four and the BBC, all of which have been guilty of downplaying, or simply ignoring the Green Party too.

It is no secret that Rupert Murdoch loathes the Green agenda, is sceptical about climate change and has nothing but contempt for the left-wing social democratic agenda promoted by the Green Party. 


It is absolutely clear that Murdoch would object to Green Party involvement out of disagreement with their policies of renationalisation of the rail network and energy companies, their radical proposals for financial sector reform and their determination to overcome the scourge of absolute poverty for once and for all through what would be the biggest benefits reform in history. All of these policies go against the ideological dogma of neoliberalism that he has so successfully promoted using his vast media empire.

Another of the many reasons that Murdoch loathes the Green Party is the fact that their leaders never suck up to him by posing in demeaning publicity shots for his newspaper, or attending private off-record meetings with him, as the leaders of the four chosen parties have all done time and again.

In my view the decision about which political parties are are barred from pre-election debates should lie with an independent body, and there is absolutely no way that a foreign media mogul, who has far to much influence over our media and our political system already, should have any influence over the decision whatever. 


Political plurality

I'm massively in favour of political plurality. The more different viewpoints the better as far as I'm concerned, and the party that would do most to increase political plurality in the leaders' debates would clearly be the Green Party, not UKIP.

Not only do the Green Party offer UKIP's main selling point with their commitment to a referendum on membership of the EU, they also offer a much more radical policy portfolio than any of the other parties. Their proposals on reform of the monetary system, renationalisation of state infrastructure and Universal Basic Income are not offered by any of the other parties.

It's unclear whether UKIP plan to offer free university tuition like the Green Party. And given the haphazard nature of their policy making, it's very unlikely that any such proposals would be costed like the ones in the longstanding and evolving Green Party manifesto. The Green Party are a serious political outfit with longstanding policies that don't just get dumped in the bin when their leader describes their entire manifesto as "drivel" and admits that he never even bothered to read it in the first place!

Nigel Farage would certainly add a bit of personality interest to the debate, but in offering a genuine anti-austerity agenda, and several unorthodox policies, Natalie Bennett would add a lot of interest to the debate for those who see policy as more important than personality.

Without the Green Party, the debate is just going to feature four parties that subscribe to almost indistinguishable variants of pro-austerity neoliberalism ranging from Ed Miliband's sickening brew of toxic right-wing economics and pseudo-socialist sweeteners to disguise the filthy taste, through to Nigel Farage's brand of "keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive" neoliberal militancy.

The most popular policies
 

According to blind tests conducted by the Vote For Policies website, the Green Party have by far the most popular policies, winning in four categories, and appearing in the top two out of all but two of the nine policy areas.

The fact that the Green Party have been excluded from the pre-election debates provides a clear and unequivocal answer to the question of why so few people vote for the Green Party when they have the best policies by such a significant margin, using the most objective measure available.

The answer is that there is a deliberate media blackout is going on, to deny publicity to the party with the most popular policies because, unlike UKIP, they actually present a serious alternative to the Westminster establishment, instead of a party completely bankrolled by ex-Tory donors, and offering nothing but a more extreme version of more of the same.



Conclusion - What we can do?

This is a petition on 38 Degrees for the Green Party and other smaller parties to be included in the pre-election debates.

There is another petition on 38 Degrees calling for an end to the deliberate media blackout on the Green Party.

This is the link for complaining to the BBC over their part in the decision to exclude the Green Party from the debate and/or their general bias against the Green Party.

We can make sure to share social media content from the Green Party, the Scottish Greens and other parties like the SNP and Plaid Cymru, in order to try to counterbalance the bias of the mainstream media, and ensure that as many people as possible are informed about the policies of the non-traditional parties the mainstream media are clearly intent on denying coverage to.

Joining the Green Party is another option. There are well over a million Green Party voters out there, so if just a small proportion of them joined the party in order to help them fight back against the hostility of the mainstream media, the Green Party would soon overtake the Liberal Democrats in terms of party membership. The additional bonus in joining the Green Party is that you could try to influence their policies, which is possible because, despite the Lib-Dem lies to the contrary, the Green Party have by far the most democratic structure, where all members have the right to vote on party policy. Here's the link to join the Green Party of England and Wales, and here's the link to join the Scottish Green Party.


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Footnotes
* = Combined total for the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Greens.
UPDATE: A poll conducted by Channel 4 (one of the parties that made the decision to bar the Green party from the debates) found that the Green Party are the second most popular party with 16-24 year olds, adding further credence to the idea that the decision to exclude the Greens was a deliberate attempt to further marginalise the youth vote by barring their second favourite party from the debate.




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