COLUMNIST Ruth Wishart shares her thoughts on this week's European Parliament elections...


SO I trust you trotted along to your polling station, clutching your European Parliament election card and trying to forget a number of troubling questions.

As in, how in the name of the wee man did it ever come to this? How come we are voting for a candidate who may or may not be able to take his or her seat in a forum a very modest majority voted to leave almost exactly three years ago?

Then again contemporary politics make Alice in Wonderland seem like a model of rationality, White Rabbit, March Hare, Duchess, Dormouse and all.

In that classic book everyone was a little bit mad but pretended to be sane. In contrast the events in Westminster feature a cast list including some who still have a finger hold on sanity, but who’ve stopped pretending the script they’re using hasn’t been penned by the clinically demented.

I am a pro-European Remainer still harbouring hopes of being a European citizen down the road one way or another, but I nevertheless plighted my troth in the local booth, as I do at every election of every stripe. Hope springs eternal and all that.

It’s not difficult to find ways in which the European Union gets in a fankle with its own bureaucracy, but over-riding all that, in my book, are decades of post war peace between former sworn enemies, all manner of legislation recognising human and employment rights, and opportunities for ourselves – and most especially our children and students – to live and learn and work in almost 30 countries without hindrance.

Given the carnage of two world wars in the last century these are no mean achievements.

What would pain me more than anything else is if the Brexit party picks up a Scottish seat.

This is not to take a pop at Leavers who voted that way in good faith. But the Farage bandwagon is the most disreputable vehicle in the race.

This is a man who shamelessly popped up only occasionally in the European Parliament to berate it, but had no compunction about drawing a salary and expenses from it.

More pertinently, he has refused to answer questions about his funding for yet another new venture; what part Arron Banks has played in bankrolling him and the new party; whether or not he has hoovered up any illegal foreign donations; and why his “party” is actually a registered company with but two directors, Farage and a business chum.

His “party” has no members, only supporters, throwing anything from £25 to £200k into his kitty.

Thanks to Channel 4 News, we know that Banks has funded Farage’s post-UKIP lifestyle to the tune of almost half a million pounds. We don’t know where that comes from, any more than we know how Banks found the £8m-plus his companies poured into Leave.EU.

The Electoral Commission is investigating that latter donation with all the accelerated zeal of a snail in treacle.

In short, there is much we do not know about what Mr Farage’s version of the democratic process looks like backstage.

We do know he is famously coy about where he gets his funding. We do know that despite being knocked back by the British electorate no fewer than seven times, his ambition still knows no bounds.

Whatever ails these nations, Nigel Farage is not the cure.