Monday, 26 May 2014

Four countries, four elections.

The papers are already heralding UK Independence Party receiving the most votes in the UK elections for the European Parliament as a "political earthquake". Personally I'm inclined to yawn this one off as the result of the European Parliament being essentially a powerless talking-shop, this is particularly the case given that in the local elections held simultaneously the UKIP "surge" was much less apparent - it seems that people are voting UKIP (and remember, we're talking about only 28% of those who bothered to vote) as a protest vote against the EU, rather than an indication that people actually want to be ruled over by a party like UKIP.

In the run-up to the European elections here in Wroclaw it was obvious that a real push was being made by (ruling party) Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) to get Stanislaw Huskowski elected as an MEP for the area, with posters like the above appearing all over town. Despite this Huskowski failed to get elected - as one twitterer said: "even the photo with [popular Wroclaw mayor] Dutkiewicz didn't work miracles".

There is something fitting, I guess, in the fact that Poland's last communist dictator, Wojciech Jaruzelski, died on the same day that Polish people voted in a free election as a confirmed, ordinary, and stable part of Europe. The hundreds of killings that resulted from the military crackdown that he ordered, on the other hand, will now never be properly punished for the criminal acts that they were.

I was on a day-trip to Dresden yesterday, and political advertising seemed to be everywhere in the city, which is now finally getting back to the splendor it had before Allied bombing and decades of neglect during the communist era left so much of the city in ruins. Whilst the Germany people seem to have quite sensibly given the largest number of votes to Angela Merkel's CDU, advertising like the above indicates that Germany too has its shrill and over-blown voices.

The fact that 54% of Ukrainian voters have voted to elect Petro Poroshenko (pictured above) should mean the end to the claims that the Ukraine's present government is "illegitimate" and "fascist" from those whose loyalty is, either openly or covertly, to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin's revanchist and nationalistic regime. Unfortunately it seems unlikely to do so - instead we're faced with the prospect of Putin's cronies condemning the vote as not representing the opinions of those in Donetsk and Luhansk at the same time as the militias they support there prevent large numbers of people in those areas voting.

[Pictures from top: 1. A UKIP poster from 2009 - whether (immigrant's son) Winston Churchill really would have support UKIP's positions is arguable (Lewis Clarke via Wiki). 2. "Rafal Dutkiewicz: I'm choosing Huskowski" - a  poster from Wroclaw. 3. NPD and BueSo posters seen in Dresden - the NPD one says "No West German conditions (?) in our city", the BueSo one reads "Us Germans can stop the world war", if JR or TaiDe would like to explain what the hell these are going on about I'd be grateful. 4. Petro Poroshenko, via wiki.] 

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