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Friday
Nov212014

Finding a suitable vehicle for protest

This is an interesting article about the recent win of the anti-EU party UKIP in England. UKIP voters are described as being part of the anti-politics movement:

They want to protest about the economy, about immigration, about the effects of globalisation, about the detachment of ordinary communities from frontline politics.

They can and should be able to do that. The responsibility lies in their choice of vehicle for that protest. 

This is a wonderful articulation of my feelings about not only UKIP but also parties such as N-VA and Front National. These parties do tap into a deep feeling of digust at the traditional parties, blaming the major parties for not addressing major issues. To at least some degree that digust has a legitimate basis (although in a democracy the fault ultimately lies in the voters). It is not an unreasonable stance to want vote against all the traditional parties of power. It is not unreasonable to feel angry about injustices. It is not unreasonable to protest vote. But UKIP is not a suitable vehicle for a reasonable protest. N-VA is not a suitable vehicle for a reasonable protest. Front National is not a suitable vehicle for a reasonable protest. When you vote for these parties you are not just registering a protest, you are not just voting for the anti-politics aspect of those parties, you are also endorsing their xenophobic roots. 

A protest vote is fine, even to be encouraged, but the vehicle of your protest still needs to be worthy of your vote.

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