European Elections. They happened. People voted and we got a result. Anything else to say?

Oh yes, the minor issue that UKIP won. UKIP won and since then, my Facebook page has been flooded with angry messages; people are up in arms about the outcome of the vote, openly announcing they did not and will never vote for them. These same people are outraged anyone would vote for UKIP and yet people did. Despite everything one might have to say about them, they have been successful. But where are their supporters? With 27.5 % of the vote, they clearly exist, but perhaps unaccounted for amongst my Facebook friends.

This year was the first time I could participate in the elections. It was a momentous moment and I feel like I have the right to give an opinion concerning the result. I do not appreciate people complaining and accusing parties unfairly when they have not fulfilled a major civic duty. A vote is powerful and it truly counts. These elections have shown this yet again that if people disagree with something, they need to act.

The truth? I did not vote for UKIP. I love Europe and don’t want to leave it. I love foreigners; heck, I AM a foreigner (strictly speaking, I am British but having lived in France all my life, I’m a bit of a fraud). That said, I am totally generalising, and to be completely honest, I do not know everything UKIP stands for. This might be because they poorly present themselves in the public eye, however, the idea at the core of the party, to leave Europe, is a view that many have in England and should be given a voice. I don’t agree with it but others do, and their victory shows it is a major concern in England.

This concern is also felt in France it seems. I chose to vote in England but really, should I even have a right to do so, when effectively, the politics won’t really affect me when I’m home in France? In France, the Front National (FN) won with 25 % of the vote. A rather similar result. This party has been around for longer than UKIP but has been popular from the start. They yearn for a return of the old France and lost traditions: the founder of the party, Jean -Marie Le Pen, even suggested the franc should be reintroduced. Essentially though, they believe in the same things as UKIP does, including the necessity to pull out of Europe, to reduce immigration.

The ways in which these aims have been publicised have equally been questionable and somewhat worrying. What people are truly outraged about is everything but the desire to leave Europe. We only see the individual party members who seem to rattle off racist comments one after the other, this being true of both UKIP and the FN. We hear about the inappropriate statements and vulgar behaviours. However, I feel like the real issue of wanting to leave Europe and limiting immigration needs to be tackled. Yes, the racism is important and truly terrible, but what these parties are advocating for is more worrying, at least for people like me.

My parents are technically British immigrants in France. Asides from being British by birth, I am not really British nor am I at all French. At university, I find myself stuck in the middle, in permanent flux between the two. I am European.

I am worried because in France, I am not French but I was born there and could potentially take French nationality. If France was pulled out of Europe, in my current non-French status, I would be a focus. Even if I stayed, I would not be made to feel very welcome anymore.

I am worried because in England, I am British but really that’s only because my passport says so. I am clearly allowed to be in the country but I am still a stranger and feel like one. If England pulled out of Europe, and I was living here, I would obviously not fit in. I was not raised here and I would certainly not be considered to have a rightful say in the politics of a country which has up until now never affected me.

Both countries want to leave Europe. Where are on earth would that put me?