EU elections

It’s been almost been forgotten but there is another important election taking place this year, the European parliamentary elections. I know, who cares? Europe doesn’t matter and we’ll be out of it come independence and/or the Tories and UKIP have their way in next year’s general election. This is not true as there is no mechanism to expel 5 million EU citizens for simply exercising their democratic right to self determination and even if the Tories do win next year it remains to be seen whether they will actually go through with the vote as they’re not always overly keen to deliver on manifesto promises.
The upshot is that the European elections do matter and whether or not Scotland chooses to go independent in September we need a strong voice in Europe to speak for us particularly on issues of trade and fishing territories and quotas which are important to Scotland’s economy. Part of the reason that Britain don’t really think of the E.U doing much is geographical, they’re across the channel and so far away that it doesn’t really matter. The thing is that the European parliament and council of ministers are making decisions that do profoundly affect Britain and it’s not just about how curvy bananas should be or that pipers should wear hearing protection. It’s things like the the working time directive which means that people don’t have to work over 48 hours a week and the labelling of food products among a great number of other things.
Another reason for the abominably low turnout and feeling of distance from Europe is that Britain has always been a reluctant member and had never integrated as fully as other counties and with the rise of UKIP in England this doesn’t look set to change any time soon. While staying out of the Eurozone was clearly the best decision there are many other things that Britain has opted out of. The very fact that member states can opt out of European laws shows that sovereignty sill ultimately lies with Westminster and the parliaments of the member states and that they can have the final say on pretty much all European legislation.
It’s because of the importance of this, and the fact that I’ve always had it drummed into me that it’s our responsibility to vote that I’ll be making sure I vote on May 22nd. As well as this there’s the fact that if we don’t vote who does? A low turnout means the MEP’s don’t accurately reflect the wishes of the people and that’s not good for a democracy. There’s also the fact that if you don’t vote you forfeit the right to complain about the parliament and their MEPs and I like to complain about politicians as much as the next person. Go out and use your vote on May 22nd and we might just get the MEPs we need and if not we can always complain about it.

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