European Elections 2014 – a note on protest votes

It’s the European Elections on Thursday. We get a say in how we divvy up 73 seats. You should totally vote, even if you hate Europe and even if you want out. You should also not use this as an opportunity for a protest vote to someone like UKIP. This is regardless of your politics and regardless of your thoughts on the EU, and here’s why…

We’re there for the time being whether you like it or not

Whether you hate the idea or love it, the UK is currently a member of the EU. We’re paying MEPs to go over to Brussels and represent our interests. Lots of money actually. The idea that they can do no good or that the EU interferes with sovereignty is not only wrong, but largely irrelevant. While we’re still there, we may as well be getting some use out of it. Plain and simple.

The Conservative party have promised a simple in/out referendum if we re-elect them to UK Government in 2015. Let’s take that as our best case scenario for euro-sceptics. If you want out of Europe, we first have to elect the Conservatives and allow them to set into motion the wheels of referendum, which is a large undertaking. Let’s be optimistic (or pessimistic depending on your bent), and say we are granted our referendum and it happens. It most likely won’t occur until at least 2016. So we’re still there regardless for the next two years. We’re paying for the service, we may as well get the mileage.

Misinformation on what an MEP can achieve

For those of you that want out of Europe, you may have been tantalised by the rhetoric coming from the so-called libertarian aspects of the electoral spectrum. UKIP for example have promised a straight removal from the EU without referendum.

They cannot fulfil this promise without gaining a majority in 2015 and forming a government, or participating in a coalition.

Even if we elect 73 UKIP MEPs this week, they are powerless to do anything about our EU membership. They can do NOTHING about it. Nothing.

All of the leaflets and information I have received from every euro-septic party has promised either a referendum or removal from the EU. They cannot achieve this.

MEPs are there to represent us on debates and decisions to do with European economy, funding and policy. That is it.

So what do I do if I want out of Europe?

Vote for a party promising either a choice or removal from the EU in next year’s GENERAL ELECTION:

  • Conservatives have offered a referendum.
  • UKIP have offered straight withdrawal.
  • Labour have been very wishy-washy and have sat upon the fence.
  • The Liberal Democrats will not offer a referendum.
  • The Green party have been supportive of the idea of a referendum.

Plenty of sensible options there. Choose one that suits you NEXT YEAR. But remember to make sure the rest of their policy fits your ideals eh? Loyalty to a party regardless of it’s manifesto is simply stupid.

What’s the point in voting at all then?

As I said earlier, whether you like it or not, we’re stuck with it for the time being.

I am supportive of the EU. The benefits we get far outstrip the costs and the drawbacks. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a ridiculous, corrupt mess of nonsense, bureaucracy, and nepotism. It needs reform, it needs work, and so it makes sense to me to vote for a party that wants to engage and attempt to make a change.

If you make a protest vote and vote for UKIP, or the BNP or some other loon, you’re paying, personally, from public funds, for the salary of a man or a woman to deliberately vote against any motion tabled in Brussels, whether beneficial or not.

To put that in context, you are paying for someone to actively and very deliberately SHIT THROUGH YOUR LETTERBOX.

Wouldn’t it be more sensible to get someone out there that wants to make a difference? Remember, we’re stuck there until we get a referendum, at least. We may as well get the benefit while we’re there.

Unfortunately, UKIP et al have been poisoning the well, with the aid, deliberate or unwitting, of the UK media. They’ve promised you things they cannot fulfil from their position. You may agree with their stance on EU membership and immigration, but they can’t do anything about that as MEPs. They’re just wasting time and money, AS POLICY.

If you believe their promises, I urge you to do a little research into the responsibilities and powers an MEP has.

My vote is mostly pointless, it won’t change anything

Wrong.

I can empathise with this stance on the GENERAL ELECTION. I don’t agree, but I can empathise. First Past the Post is flawed in so many ways, but it essentially means that large swathes of the votes cast are pointless.

THE EUROPEAN ELECTORAL VOTE IS DIFFERENT.

The Euros use a pure Proportional Representation method:

We have 73 seats.

They are carved up over the country into regions. For example, my constituency, the East Midlands has five seats.

Those seats are then given out based on the percentage of votes in that region.

So if the vote looked like this in my region:

    • CON: 40%
    • LAB: 20%
    • LIB: 20%
    • UKIP: 20%

The seats would be split as follows:

    • CON: 2
    • LAB: 1
    • LIB: 1
    • UKIP: 1

No votes are wasted here, they all count.

In summary

Now, I’m aware that the general consensus is that career politicians are money-grabbing, integrity-free, morally-corrupt bastards. In general, I agree. That is mostly true of the upper-echelons of our political parties. It’s not true of all politicians though. Not in the least. Many back-benchers and local politicians are earnest, passionate, and driven and have the best interests of as many of their constituents as possible in mind.

However, because they don’t always toe the party line, they get marginalised and pushed back until they simply conform to save face. It sucks, but that’s how it works.

They may well achieve nothing. They may well not turn up. Voting for UKIP et al however will GUARANTEE THIS. It is party policy. Not voting, will allow other people TO MAKE THIS DECISION FOR YOU.

Protest votes in the Euros are completely counter-productive. All they do is allow an unwilling participant to draw a fat salary for doing nothing.

You are shitting on your own doorstep.

Not voting increases the chances of someone else having a say that you don’t agree with.

You are allowing other people to shit on your doorstep.

Vote sensibly, please.

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