UK Fall-out from the European Parliament Elections on 22 May 2014

In the UK, the results of the European Parliament Elections were as follows:

All-UK Parties Votes Cast % of totals MEPs Elected[1] +/-[2]
UK Independence Party (UKIP 4,376,635 27.5 24 +11
Labour[3] 4,020,646 25.4 20 +7
Conservative 3,792,549 23.9 19 -7
Green 1,255,573 7.9 3 +1
Liberal Democrats 1,087,633 6.9 1 -10
Other anti-EU parties 516,297 3.2 0 -2
Other parties 431,915 2.7 0 0

[1]  MEP – Elected member of the European Parliament

[2]  Relative to MEPs in 2009 election

[3]  Fights as the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in Northern Ireland

Parties specific to Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland Votes Cast % of votes in their specific areas MEPs Elected +/-
Scottish Nationalists[4] 389,503 28.9 0
Welsh Nationalists (Plaid Cymru)[5] 111,864 15.6 1 0
Irish Nationalists (Sinn Fein)[6] 159,813 30.7 1 0
Ulster Unionists[7] 290,407 55.8 2 0
Total UK votes of all UK parties cast 16,056,000 100 73 0

[4]  The stated policy of the Scottish National Party is to obtain separation of Scotland from the UK.  Votes obtained here does not mean that every SNP voter would vote for separation in a single question referendum.

[5]  Party seeks a form of ‘home rule’ for Wales.

[6]  Sinn Fein policy is to join Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

[7]  Most of the minor UK parties are pro-Union too.

Notes to the Table

1          The Conservative Party has never before been pushed into third place in an all-UK vote.

2          The virtual annihilation of the Liberal Democratic Party in a single election is likewise unprecedented.

3          In the first all-Scotland vote since the 2011 elections for the Scottish parliament, the drop in support for the Scottish Nationalists from 44% to 29% is pretty remarkable also.

Political Reactions to the Results

These basically fall into two groups: (A) from big party politicians(Liberal-Labour-Conservative Reactions); (B) from big company bosses.

Taking (A) first, the main drift of the reactions from David Cameron, the Conservative leader and current UK Prime Minister, and his media allies in the Daily Telegraph and the Times is that the UKIP vote was a populist protest against all politicians and they (the UKIP voters) will come back to the Conservative Party at the General Election in May 2015 next year.  We note how when people vote for policies the LibLabCon political class doesn’t approve of, like stopping uncontrolled immigration, or quitting the EU, they are labelled “populist” rather than democratic.  This is a PC code word for “demagogary”.  In PC minds, democracy means voting for the LibLabCon party whose monumental incompetence has resulted in the UK’s national electricity grid arranging to pay industry to switch off electricity because LibLabCon governments have neglected to see that our supposedly first world country has adequate electricity generating capacity from 2016 onwards[8], or even (latest incompetence) can run the passport office effectively.

In fact people want to see major changes of the political system so that the really big problems which the UK must deal with over the next 30 years – earning its living in the world, rebuilding its manufacturing industry, providing the economy and consumer with enough energy to live by, stopping immigration so that the native people don’t see their schools and towns overwhelmed by foreign peoples and cultures, educating and training its young people properly, regaining its independence to do all of these things – can be tackled on a long-term non-party-political basis.

Big Business Reaction

This is one of considerable alarm that a Britain outside the EU would require them to actively help grow Britain’s exporting business instead of waiting around for the economic tide to come in so that all Corporatists in Europe can float upwards together.

The CER report

In their concern that the British people might realise they can get along better without EU corporatistism, some of the big business class have commissioned a report from the Centre for European Reform (CER) – the leading London-based Europhile think-tank.

Their report’s headline summary – as reported in the Daily Telegraph and the Times on June 10th[9] – is to the effect that “Brexit” (i.e. Britain’s Exit from the EU) “would wipe out all our trade treaties” and that “we would have to apply to join the World Trading Organisation (WTO) from scratch and admission would take a long time”.

This is absurd, insulting, and defeatist talk and is exactly the same as we heard levelled by the same corporatist class (in some cases the very same people) when this writer and (a few) others were struggling in the 1990s to defeat the proposal that Britain should abolish the pound sterling and adopt the euro when it was launched in 1999.

All the same phrases were heard then as can be found in the CER report and in the utterances of its business sponsors.  We would be “shut out” from the EU financial markets, currency exchange costs would make our manufactured goods “uncompetitive”, not being “in the Eurozone” would discourage foreign investors, and so on and so on.

Britain’s Membership of the WTO

While Britain has foolishly allowed the EU to speak for it in the WTO forum on goods trade matters[10], its actual membership of the WTO is not affected by its membership of the EU – nor are its obligations under GATT legally anything but its own business and the WTO’s.

As I noted in my Institute of Economic Affairs Brexit essay, Britain is one of the founding members of the World Trading Organisation (on 1st January 1995), and of GATT its predecessor in 1947.  All the GATT agreements continue under the umbrella of the WTO and apply to all members individually.  Moreover Britain has been an elected member of the United Nations Dispute Resolution body, UNCITRAL, since its foundation in 1968, a body which as I noted in my essay, showed that it had real teeth by ruling against the EU in an action brought by Norway over illegal antidumping measures instituted by the EU in 2005.  These were subsequently withdrawn after the ruling.  The EU is not and cannot be a member of the UNCITRAL DRB since only members of the UN are eligible.  If Britain were to leave the EU, each of the 27 remaining members would still be under individual obligations arising from their own GATT and WTO memberships, to treat Britain at least as well as they treat any other non-EU country.  There is nothing about our WTO/GATT membership to negotiate.

The EU’s membership of GATT and the WTO

While Britain has been an entirely upright member of GATT and its successor organisation WTO[11] launched on January 1st 1995 (even Zimbabwe and the Congo are now members as well as most of the former Soviet Union countries), it was the EEC’s intentions in the 1960s which caused GATT most anxiety and difficult negotiations[12].  However our business panjandrums can take heart that the EU may have learnt its lesson.  No less a person than the EC’s Trade Commissioner declared, at the end of the last Doha trade barriers reduction session under the auspices of WTO in 2012 that “the EU will support any measures to reduce trade barriers”[13].


[8]  See posts and papers on this website.

[9]  All 64 pages are available on the CER website.

[10]  Even today the EU’s “competence” in trade matters is only partial as recognised by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).  It does not extend to the General Agreement on Services (GAS) nor to Intellectual Property matters (GAIP).

[11]  All countries’ GATT obligations continue under the WTO umbrella.

[12]  James Jay Allen (1962) General Council for International Affairs, Department of Defence, USA, “The European Common Market and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade: A Study in Compatibility”.

[13]  Karel de Gucht Memo 12th September 2011, European Commission 2011.  The Doha round is not completed but adjourned for subcommittees to try to resolve differences, especially relating to agricultural production.

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