I’m sure you have read many articles written by prospective MEPs touting their plans if elected. Personally, I have trouble believing any of them. Even if the parliament did have important decisions to make, UK MEPs make up less than 10% of the chamber, making changing anything incredibly difficult.
From this position I can only think of two roles for MEPs. Firstly, they get a chance to yell at each other, national politicians and members of the commission. Secondly, their election sends a message or image to Westminster as well as the rest of the world.
I would suggest you decide who you want to vote for based on the following three criteria. Who can yell at politicians about the issues you care about. Who can deliver an entertaining, concise, YouTube friendly speech. Who sends the message you want delivered across the globe.
In my opinion this immediately eliminates Labour and the Lib Dems. If the majority of the Labour party can’t even be bothered to campaign why should we trust them to do anything if they are elected? The Lib Dems, on the other hand, may represent your views on polling day but, as well as being completely anonymous, they will probably have changed their mind by the time they get to Brussels.
The BNP aside from sending a frankly dangerous message to Westminster and the world, have shown in numerous councils that their elected representatives might as well not be there. Many have never spoken in the council chamber in their entire time in office.
This leaves you with the Conservatives and UKIP as viable options. Both have well spoken representatives such as Daniel Hannan and Nigel Farage (both have clips on YouTube). As for an image, it depends whether you favour a vaguely eurosceptic position and want to suggest that it might be time for a new government or if you want to tell your MPs that you think it’s time the UK left the undemocratic, illiberal and wasteful EU behind.
As you may have guessed I favour the latter and would encourage you to do the same, but the decision is up to you.
Travelling abroad, you’ll now pay less to use your mobile, because roaming costs have been cut. If you or a friend has ever gone on an Erasmus exchange, it’s probably because it’s been extended. If you (or someone you know) happens to live on planet Earth, then you’ll be happy about a raft of environmental policies, including cutting CO2 by +20% and ensuring +20% of electricity is from renewables by 2020, and setting up the Emissions Trading Scheme. And it has been Labour MEPs who have been fighting for these policies.
Or, you could support a party who voted against banning products from culled seals (like the Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire did). Or even better, you can support a party that has a shocking environmental voting record, praises Iceland’s economic policies and thinks that the NHS is a mistake (their hero: Dan Hannan), condoned Italy ethnically profiling Roma children, and voted against condemning female genital mutilation and criminalising rape within marriage. That’s the cuddly Conservatives, who plan to leave the mainstream EU conservatives and set up a new grouping with far-right MEPs, isolating themselves at the moment we need to work together on climate change and the global economy. This decision prompted a retiring Tory MEP to resign the party: “I cannot watch my country head for the rocks, which it will do if Cameron becomes Prime Minister and has no allies in the major governments of the European Union.”
Lastly, the reason you should vote Labour in the Euros (aside from their good work and the poor quality alternatives) is that it is the best way to keep the BNP out. In Yorkshire, the BNP look likely to win a seat, which would mean a massive funding and publicity boost. If/when the UKIP vote collapses, Labour are the closest to beating the BNP for that seat (voting Green is helping the BNP in this sense, as they are the furthest from winning). So vote on June 4th, vote in Yorkshire (rather than at home, unless you’re in the North West where the BNP are strongest), and vote Labour!
A vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections is a vote for Diana Wallis and a vote for European reform. She has a wealth of experience that no other candidate can boast, leading the Lib Dems in Europe for two years and being elected to the position of Vice President of the European Parliament.
With these positions, the Lib Dems have been able to cut roaming mobile phone charges by 60% through legislation and proposing fairer anti-terrorism laws that do not have an impact on our civil liberties. The Erasmus scheme, which is designed to allow students across Europe to study abroad, has been put in the care of Liberals across Europe for the next four years who intend on putting 950 million Euros into the project.
Diana Wallis and our local parliamentary candidate Madeleine Kirk have been working together to push for improved environmental policies by demanding an increase in targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% by 2020 and changing car registration tax to be based on CO2 emissions.
Many of the travesties of the EU need to be removed and our candidates are advocating the abolishment of worldwide trade barriers to create a free market – protectionist policies benefit no one.
The Common Agricultural Policy is a major obstacle in tackling poverty in Africa since it causes Europe to dump cheap produce into African markets. This suppresses local job markets and makes it difficult for local agricultural economies to thrive. With this in mind, Diana Wallis wants to achieve drastic reductions in EU funding for agricultural subsidies and transfer this budget to investment in rural development.
UKIP and the Conservatives agree with the Lib Dems on the problems that the EU are facing. We will only be able to tackle goals like climate change and poverty by working together.
However, unlike those who want to run away from the essential issues that must be dealt with, the Lib Dems are willing to stand up and put right what is wrong.