Opinion: Real vote on Europe comes next year

The European Parliament in Strasbourg. The election that matters is next year, says Neil
The European Parliament in Strasbourg. The election that matters is next year, says Neil

In seven days every registered voter in this country will get the chance to have their say on who they want representing them at the European Parliament.

The rise of UKIP has made it a truly four-horse race and there are likely to be some significant results.

But what is unlikely to change is the turnout levels.

In 2009 just one in three people entitled to vote in the European elections actually exercised that right.

Despite UKIP’s arrival on the political scene, most people simply do not care enough to turn out to vote in an election.

Many people believe, rightly or wrongly, that the messages being sent by the candidates have nothing to say about their lives.

There is some merit in that argument.

Talk to people down the pub or in the shop and they will have a view on our membership of the European Union but many will not care enough to actually go out and vote.

And, it has to be said, although these are European elections, the results will not decide whether we have a referendum on our membership of the European Union or not.

That will only be in the power of the ruling party, or parties,

following our country’s own general election next year.

The results of the elections next week will be fascinating, and we encourage people to vote, but the real referendum on Europe will be our next general election.

Neil Pickford, Editor

@NeilPickfordNT