Comment: Apathy is not the only dark shadow on EU election

The site of a polling card lying behind my door last week reminded me the European elections were imminent.

On May 23 we go to the polls to elect MEPs to a parlianement we have voted to leave.

Talk of it being scrapped hinged on Theresa May, the most hopeless, tunnel-visioned Prime Minister in history, and Jeremy Corbyn, the most befuddled Labour leader ever, somehow fudging a deal that delivered a withdrawal agreement. To no-one’s great surprise that hasn’t happened.

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The fact a ‘game off’ sign hung over these elections until this week was, surely, the most fitting and shambolic way to round off our inept bid to leave the EU.

We now have candidates standing for seats they may never take, in an election that is so far below the radar passing submarine crews wouldn’t even spot it.

The sheer expense of it is obscene at a time when austerity is destroying the social fabric of our communities.

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I’m still none the wiser what happens if we elect folk we’ve never heard from to disappear to Brussels with the letters ‘MEP’ in gold leaf on their briefcases, and then we leave the EU. What do they do then? Who do they represent?

I guess the £7700 monthly salary – nice work if you can get it – might cushion the blow if you’re told to clear your desk, but if their careers are to be so shortlived, why should anyone muster the effort to vote? And that’s where it switches from farce to far.

The rise of the far right, and the growing racist views being considered acceptable in mainstream conversations, makes this a very dangerous election.

That suits the likes of UKIP and Nigel Farage’s new plaything, the Brexit Party.

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They’ll play the outsider card, and ramp up the rhetoric to galvanise their core support. The dog whistle will be sounded louder than ever.

If everyone else thinks it’s not worth the effort, if they are sick to the back teeth of Brexit and the ineptitude of our politicians, we open the door to some deeply repellant candidates who will bask in the respect such office affords, and which none of them merit.

Farage is standing once again, playing the anti-establishment card to secure his place at the very heart of that establishment.

He’ll soak up the mockery so he needs to be challenged with forensic precision. He’s not too good on that troublesome thing called policy.

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Neither is his UKIP successor, Gerard Batten, whose candidates include the repellent Carl Benjamin and his horrifying rape ‘jokes’ aimed at Labour’s Jess Phillips, and the utterly witless blogger Count Dankula, better known as Mark Meechan, whose sole claim to fame is being fined for filming his dog giving Nazi salutes in response to statements such “gas the Jews.’ He called it comedy. No-one laughed.

The only hope is UKIP and Brexit tear each other to bits, but that depends on whether any of the established parties can actually be bothered campaigning. So far, I have seen nowt. They appear to be putting zero effort into galvanising their support. That may yet come back to haunt them. And us.