Why do people largely ignore the EU elections?

 

My most confident voting prediction about Europe 2014 was that   a majority of UK voters would  decide not to vote. According to polls this is what  has happened. This is not a political  earthquake but a large yawn by the majority of voters.

This is an  interesting  decision in a country fabled as the mother of representative democracy, the main pioneer of the idea that everyone should have a vote and opposition should hold government to account.

People used to be able to claim that the EU did not do  much of any importance, so why bother? The long list of powers surrendered in recent Treaties should alert people to the fact this is no longer true. So should the lengthening list of areas from immigration and  expulsion of criminals through energy prices to fish and farming where  the EU is clearly in charge or very influential.

People could also claim there was no point in voting in European Parliament elections, because even where the EU did have power, the Parliament did not. The arrival of co decision making by Parliament and Council of Ministers, and the wish of the Commission to strengthen the Parliament at the expense of the member states should change all that. In a very wide range of legislative areas the Parliament does have an important vote and voice over new measures. It is also the only way we have of trying to hold Commissioners to account, with powers to dismiss them all if they cease to please.

So why then did people still not vote?  In a recent study of declining voter participation in European elections, which has occurred as the importance of the Parliament has risen, they point to the fact that the two main MEP blocs, the socialists and the Christian Democrats, vote together 75% of the time. This means there is no effective Europe wide opposition to the proposals of European government, and for all those voting for candidates who wish to join one or other of these blocs there is much less choice in practice than in a national election.

It is true that a majority of UK voters may have decided  to vote for parties other than the two who are part of these blocs.  The combined poll rating  of more than 50%  for the two leading parties in the UK  who oppose the federalism of both the major blocs (Conservatives and UKIP) points to the fact that many UK electors do seem to understand the tendency of the federalist parties to vote together to extend EU power, and do not like it.

The election was not an opportunity to leave the EU. MEPs from an individual country have no power or ability to remove their countries from the organisation, a power which does still reside with national Parliaments. The MEPs we do elect do have some power to influence and help decide on whether to have  new EU laws or not, and if so what form they should take. There was too little media debate in the UK  over  what our MEP candidates think of the current EU  legislative programme, or how they will go about trying to stop the excesses of too much EU legislation, or how they will encourage EU legislation they do like if they are  federalists. Those who campaigned as if the election were an In/Out referendum on the EU, or as if it were about domestic political issues, did not address the matters that can be resolved by this election. Such conduct adds to the frustration of voters who do understand how we are governed, and to the disenchantment of those who are not very interested in the first place. They feel “nothing will change” whoever they vote for in the EU elections, so why bother?

My local Liberal democrat candidate wrote to me to tell me the election was “all about the UK leaving Europe or staying in. If we are going to protect our jobs we must stay In.” That was two massive lies as the basis for her campaign.

The local Labour candidates wrote to me telling me what a Labour government might do if elected in 2015. There was  little in the leaflet about what Labour MEPs would do about the burning issues of European law and government.

No wonder people asked if it is w0rthwhile voting, when many of those with a chance of winning could not  be bothered to engage with the job or what they would do if they did get it. UKIP  as well said little about how they would amend, tone down or defeat more EU laws, which is the one useful thing MEPs can do.

Assuming a majority have voted for the Conservatives, UKIP and other parties wanting out of the EU altogether in line with published polls, the election does at least show that a majority of the minority who bother to vote are hostile to all or most of the EU project of economic, monetary and political union. If UKIP persists in claiming Conservative voters are not Eurosceptic enough, then they also have to accept that once again they have failed to persuade a majority of those voting to vote against the EU. The Conservative voters I met  voted for MEPs who will seek to limit or tone down EU laws, who have a record of seeking to limit EU power and for a party which will give us the In/Out referendum we want if we win in 2015. Most  Conservative voters do not like the current relationship and think it has to change substantially so we can govern ourselves as we used to before the centralising Treaties.

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

96 Comments

  1. JoeSoap
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Inertia.
    It’s the reason there is a relatively low turn-out
    It’s the reason that UKIP’s ideas have been correct for most people for several years, but people are only just beginning to realise.
    It’s the reason many people still vote for the “traditional” 3 parties
    It’s the reason you’re still in the Conservative Party.

    • Hope
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      People have been deceived since the EEC was first put into the public domaine by the politicians. The project and full consequences of it was never fully laid out to the public. Therefore it should not come a surprise that the public view it in the same inconsequential light. It is only through social media and the internet that a section of the public seek to find the truth for themselves and share with others. This will grow and the true deceit will be seen for all it is worth, including those current politicians perpetuating the myth and deceit in hiding the true intention to build an EU superstate.

    • dave/r
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      sorry off subject

      It’s also becoming increasingly clear that Mark Carney doesn’t believe any of Chancellor George Osborne’s bollocks. Barely a day passes now without the central banker either threatening to cap mortgages, announcing further stress tests, or putting off rate rises because of what he thinks is “spare economic capacity”. Carney also knows, of course, that a run to raise interest would destroy Britain’s banking system. The silence of the UK’s Right Wing press on the now wide-open split between Mark Carney and George Osborne is deafening.

  2. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I made a decision NOT to vote. The reasons were ;_

    1) I did not know any of the candidates either by name or sight .
    2) If I were to vote I would like to know the candidate would be articulate enough to persuade others..alas they candidates could not be bothered to do any PR.
    3) I am not entirely sure whether I want in or out of Europe. I do want less control by the EU, but am not willing to put my name to a vote which may make others suffer.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see why some who have national safe seats cannot put their name up for election as MEP’s ;that way those known would have more direct influence or would this be a conflict of interest.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    The only point in voting in the MEP elections is to send a signal even if every MEP from the UK was UKIP it would make no difference to the real power in the EU. The public have certainly sent this message loud and clear but only Jacob Rees-Mogg is listening. The message is simply without a UKIP deal Cameron will surely bury the Tory party, just as Major did for three terms. Maybe he will bury them forever.

    Cameron will never want to, nor be allowed (by his 60% pro EU wing) to give a fair in/out referendum to voters. Even the other day he confirmed he is still in favour of open immigration to all within the EU. He clearly wants to stay in the EU at all costs, he clearly believes in continued subsidies for nonsense green crap, he clearly thinks governments know how to fix insurance and pension risks, he clearly want over regulation of employment and indeed everything and he clearly want the state sector and taxes to be huge relative to the far more productive private sector. He clearly does want to keep his IHT promise either.

    One wonders why he is not in the Libdems, what is the difference between him and Clegg/Davey types. He even employs people like Ken and Greg Clark, David Laws, Maria Miller. The real problem is he lacks any credibility because of his appalling betrayal and ratting last time. Also we know where his heart and soul lies. He even managed to lose the last sitting duck election due to his personal incompetence, broken compass and lefty pro EU agenda. He has no chance whatsoever this time.

    Reply MR Cameron will keep to his promise of a referendum if he wins in 2015, and all Conservative MPs elected to the next Parliament will know the offer a referendum is crucial to their election and will make sure it happens.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I see Vince cable just now puts the dismal electoral performance of the coalition down to the economic crash (which happened under save the World Brown) for which voters were not responsible. How can he be so stupid. No, No, N0.

      It is down to the coalition’s policies of pro the anti democratic EU, pro uncontrolled immigration, pro global warming greencrap religion, pro higher taxes, pro ever more government and pro ever more regulation. The Libdems suffered the most as they have the daftest policies of the lot. These are though largely the same as Camerons’s just with knobs on.

      • Hope
        Posted May 25, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        It is not in the sole domaine of Cameron to offer and for the other 27 countries of the EU to accept. How will his promise be delivered in the time frame for other EU countries to accept or is this a ruse to have a referendum without meaning or purpose to the country’s relationship with the EU?

  4. Elrond Cupboard
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    There was too little media debate in the UK over what our MEP candidates think of the current EU legislative programme, or how they will go about trying to stop the excesses of too much EU legislation, or how they will encourage EU legislation they do like if they are federalists.

    Indeed but with the establishment and its MSM sidekicks reducing the “debate” to the level of playground namecalling what chance a debate on the actual issues? Stop constantly smearing UKIP and address those issues to them and who knows many who voted for them may have found their response wanting and voted in a different way.

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Surprisingly (exit polls) no eurosceptic swing in the Netherlands nor any gains for extremists like Wilders, but just another 3:1 victory of the pro-EU vote. The equally large yawn factor in the Netherlands is, apart from media apathy, also due to the little difference such an election makes (26 out of 751 seats to contest).

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted May 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Guessing it be so much worse for your goodself and your compatriots – there be escaping those pesky ‘continentals’ ? !

  6. Old Albion
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Apathy John. Simple as that. Vote in a General election, you get exactly the same result whether the winning party sports blue, red or yellow.
    Vote in the Euro election and absolutely nothing changes. The EU will continue to impose it’s will upon us.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, even if the electorate voted were 100% for UKIP it would change nothing at all. Cameron would still rat on the voters with his usual, pro EU, greencrap, socialist, serial rating and disingenuous contempt for voters.

      About 30% of whom he describes as closet racists and fruit cakes.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    So what are the polls suggesting was the share of the vote for UKIP, Labour and the Tories was in the UK MEP elections? Were there no exit polls? The BBC is very quiet on the issue.
    Was the UKIP vote nearly double Cameron’s did they beat Labour?

    I also see reported:

    Boris Johnson: Gatwick to get new runway in ‘political fix’

    Great get on with it and get an high speed 15 min shuttle to link to too Heathrow round or even above the M25. Then get a forth runway at Heathrow (or even Gatwick) and we finally have a decent hub airport. About 15 years too late but better than never.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    “In a very wide range of legislative areas the Parliament does have an important vote and voice over new measures.” Of course and all our MEPs together form just 9.7% of the enormous body of 753 people. The Commission has the right of initiating legislation, not the MEPs. And the Commission wants “More Europe”.

    “the tendency of the federalist parties to vote together to extend EU power, and do not like it.” M. Barroso has constantly said, in his major speeches that he wasn’t to see a United States of Europe. The two parties in the parliament agree.
    a power which does still reside with national Parliaments.

    “The Conservative voters I met voted for MEPs who will seek to limit or tone down EU laws,” Ever tried stanging in front of a bulldozer?

    “Most Conservative voters do not like the current relationship and think it has to change substantially so we can govern ourselves as we used to before the centralising Treaties.” We need to apply to leave after a referendum and then go for EFTA – before negotiating very hard with some very hostile people.

  9. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Please disregard para 2 – blame the clever computer correction system.

  10. Narrow shoulders
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    The turnout in the EU elections is symptomatic of the apathy our electorate shows over possibly the single most important issue facing us.

    The “in”crowd has successfully positioned those of us concerned as little Englanders and racists and successfully ingrained three million jobs safeguarded into minds of the ambivalent.

    Ukip has harnssed the distaste for the gravy train and concentrated thought but the main parties have thrown doubt into the minds of some using the race card and new siren calls of islamaphobia and homophobia. Good politics, ruined future.

    Your leader probably entered power believing that something could be done about Lisbon and beyond and then discovered vested interests, business and civil servants in his way. Thus the crusade against quangos and EU turned into a green and equality crusade with overpriced projects to entertain the masses.

    Single issue parties would not suffer these distractions

    Reply Mr Cameron told the country before the 2010 election that he could not change the Lisbon Treaty once it had been fully ratified everywhere.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Cameron said that before the 2010 general election but after the 2009 EU Parliament elections for which his manifesto said “We would not let matters rest there”, when he already had no intention of doing anything other than let matters rest there and swallow the treaty whole as a fait accompli, while unscrupulously and brazenly preying on the general public’s ignorance about the technicalities of treaties by pretending that the treaty no longer existed anyway. And the loss of support that resulted was probably enough to cost the Tories an overall majority in the 2010 general election.

      Reply And if we had won a majority in 2010 we would not have let matters rest there. Lib Dems stop anything interesting in our negotiations with the EU

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        To be frank, JR, I have respect for you and I would much prefer it if you didn’t demean yourself by trying to defend your party leaders on this.

        It started off in September 2007 with Cameron’s unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” given over his signature in the Sun, that as Prime Minister he would put the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum. But by November 2007 the eurofanatic wing of the Tory party had pressured him into retreating from that straightforward and unqualified guarantee to the “we would not let matters rest there” formula first enunciated by Hague in the Commons. Then in November 2009 he abandoned even that heavily diluted pledge, and announced his abject surrender by saying that he would swallow the treaty whole as fait accompli. He also pretended that the treaty no longer existed, and said that he would demand various British guarantees to be put into protocols attached to the next treaty for the accession of a new member state; whereupon questions were immediately raised about whether any such protocols could legally be attached to an accession treaty, and indeed he has later agreed to the accession treaty for Croatia without insisting on any such protocols being attached.

        And that is not something where Clegg could have stymied Cameron, because as Prime Minister he exercises the Royal Prerogative on treaties and he could have simply said that he would not agree to that accession treaty unless he got something in exchange. Similarly when Merkel demanded an EU treaty change to legalise eurozone bailouts Cameron could have refused his assent to that treaty change unless he got something in exchange, but as your colleague Mark Reckless pointed out he hadn’t asked for anything, he had just given Merkel what she wanted free gratis and for nothing.

        Then on November 4th 2009 there was the promise of a Sovereignty Act, which ended up with Cameron instructing Tory MPs to vote against the sovereignty of Parliament, and a “referendum lock” law which has ended up with Hague actively blocking referendums on two out of the four EU treaty changes made since December 1st 2009 which certainly merited referendums in the UK – Merkel’s treaty change that she wanted in order to legalise eurozone bailouts, and the treaty change allowing Croatia to join the EU, thereby giving every Croatian citizen the automatic legal right to come and live and work in our country, and giving representatives of the Croatians the right to chip in on the government of our country, and entitling Croatia to subsidies partly at our expense, while also putting Croatia straight onto the conveyor belt into the euro to eventually join the ever-expanding, German-led, eurozone bloc increasingly lined up against us within the EU.

        No sane person who knew even a part of this would ever trust any promise about the EU made by Cameron, or by Hague or by Osborne or by any of the other leaders of the Tory party.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Granted but the rhetoric pre ascension to power suggested less meekness in his allowance of the EU to dominate our laws and agenda. I feel it was more difficult and ingrained than he envisaged so he pursued other avendas

  11. Andyvan
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Well I can tell you exactly why I didn’t vote in this or any other election.
    I do not vote because it gives legitimacy to the gang of criminals that seek to control me and steal from me. Government is at best mob rule and attracts those personalities that like to dominate using threats of violence to anyone that disobeys. I will never vote to decide which political party gets to act as herdsman to the tax cattle. Government is violent coercion and has done more to destroy life and liberty than any other entity. The sooner everyone stops voting and removes the cover of democracy from the politicians the better the world will be.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Why not attend and spoil your paper? 50%+ spoiled papers would really put the cat among the pigeons.

  12. Duyfken
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Surely your description “Assuming a majority have voted for the Conservatives … [and others] wanting out of the EU altogether, …” is incorrect. My local Conservative candidate has just said “[w]e stand for a new relationship with the EU, bringing power back to Britain and away from Brussels”. That does not come near to suggesting your Party wants to be out of the EU altogether. If you were to assert that the Tory leadership would canvass for an “OUT” vote at any referendum (or allow Conservative MPs to do so), I would want a written commitment from Cameron himself to give this any credence.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Nothing written or said by Cameron is worth anything at all.

      When is a treaty not a treaty – when I say so said ratter Dave.

      • Duyfken
        Posted May 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        I agree, Lifelogic. But the object of my comment was two-fold, to draw attention to: 1. the care needed in reading any articles (not just but including JR’s) emanating from politicians, and 2. the dangers of a referendum conducted under the auspices of a Cameron government.

  13. Timaction
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I think this is all a bit premature. We know that ALL the LibLabCon leaders are in favour of the EU and ever closer union. We know that ALL the legacy parties are in favour of free movement of people and therefore mass migration at British taxpayers expense, particularly the International Health Service and education. The legacy parties have betrayed the British public by signing up to various stealthy Treaties to bring about a United States of Europe. There is much talk and little to no action by the Tory led Coalition who have achieved nothing on the EU, mass migration, Human Rights, charging for reciprocal health, education etc. More taxes and no bonfire of the quangos. Vast increases in foreign aid whilst our infrastructure crumbles. The deficit still grows.
    There is only one answer and the people have spoken. The peoples army are the only patriotic option for return of our sovereignty and democracy and remove the quislings from Westminster.

    • Hope
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      You forgot that the Tories have made no significant difference to reducing the deficit but added much to the debt. £1 billion pounds very week is added to the debt by debt interest alone before each month’s deficit is added to the debt. Cameron still thinks it is a good idea to borrow, pay interest and give it away! The economy is not good as he claims, look at the figures. No difference between Tories and Labour. Both wanting to implement EU law, policy and regulation.

      After listening to Cameron, Gove, Hammond and Grayling it is very clear to me they do NOT GET IT. And what they do get on immigration they can do nothing about. ONS figures produced on day of elections show 210,000 increase in EU immigration. In work benefits and working tax credits for all EU immigrants. Cheap labour for corporations at taxpayers’ expense.

      Politicians have deceived the public so much they do not understand or any longer care. As a generalisation, people are totally disaffected with the political elite who do not listen, lie and never keep their word. The expense scandal is the prime example.

      Good to read Clarke banging on about how EU reguLtion is good for anyone. How is it possible to have him in government with views like this?

  14. GTE
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    1. UKIP has damaged the Tories.
    2. UKIP has damaged Labour, particularly in the North.
    3. UKIP has damaged the Lib dems. Rather they have imploded by their porkies to get elected strategy.

    Meanwhile. Cameron says he’s getting tough on benefit tourism. Lets see how tough. 150 a week for three months before you can claim. That’s less that 2p a day in NI, and no tax.

    For a family of 4 they then get 45K plus of benefits and state spending paid for by others.

    Welfare, housing benefit, child benefit, free schooling, free NHS, two lots of free pension entitlements, free defense, free democracy, free roads, ….

    Where is the Tory solution to selling 45K a year for 2p a day? There is none. People have twigged as to what’s going on.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Just be grateful we don’t have a Labour government. Otherwise we’d have:

      - the likes of White D able to abuse welfare
      - immigration in excess of 200k (net) a year
      - Skull-cracker Davies able to escape open prison with his mate, Steve Slasher
      - an out of control housing bubble
      - a PM wanting to fight a war in Syria
      - an education secretary sending his kid to Grey Coats school miles away whilst telling us that the local comps are the BEST

      Than goodness we didn’t get any of that.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

  15. lojolondon
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    John, you have several good points above – most people do not vote because they sense the utter uselessness of voting for MEP’s who have no power and no capability to change things. So this election is the closest we are going to get to a referendum on the EU, and most people have acted in this way, except for those who voted as they always have for the party of their father and can’t bring themselves to vote any other way.
    Clegg will say that the LibDems have been ‘tainted’ by working with the Conservatives, but that too will be a lie. Many people voted LD before because they promised an EU referendum, but again, that turned out to be a lie. The LD’s have disappointed the people who wanted out of Europe, they have also disappointed their traditional support base through deceit and never being able to deliver anything except handouts. By supporting and covering up all the sex scandals in their ranks they have offended their few remaining voters, so they are where they deserve to be.

    As a non-British born person, it always amazes me that Labour does so well when they have such a weak leader and strategy, for me the truly amazing part of last night’s election is that they have any votes at all, nevermind big gains!

  16. Lesley
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    We have to vote only for a Party. Last time our region’s top slot was a Conservative who subsequently shifted via independance to LibDem. So much for the views of the Electorate.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is a Libdem he would jump too I suspect.

  17. alan jutson,
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The simple fact is John most of the electorate do not have a clue who represents them in Europe, do not have a clue what they stand for, or indeed how many of our laws and regulations come from the EU.

    The only thing they seem to understand is that they only need Euro’s to visit most other european countries, so only have to change money once.

    I had the misfortune to listen to a talk by the very same Lib Dem MEP of whom you speak when at a Charitable dinner only a few months ago.
    She had a personal passion about stopping the abuse of woman for use in the sex trade industry being shipped from Eastern Europe.
    Thus a very worthy ambition and cause, but when I asked a question and suggested that perhaps passport and border controls could be introduced at every point of entry when moving across Europe and into a different country may help in this regard, she said she was a supporter of the free unfettered movement of people, and that border controls would not help such a situation at all.
    So there you have it, she wants to stop movement of people for criminal purposes but does not want checks on people movement from Country to Country.
    Typical double talk.

    Many other questions were asked by other people, but just batted away with the Europe knows best type of attitude, which left many dinner guests rather frustrated and angry.

    Such a shame that the media do not highlight the real truth of EU power.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    My forecast for the south east England euroregion is that the Tories will almost certainly lose at least one of the four seats they won in 2009 – the one which until now has been occupied by a closet eurofederalist, who’d been bumped up the Tory candidate list by the party leadership against the expressed wishes of the members, but who is now retiring – and may well lose a second. leaving them with just two.

    Let us suppose that the Tories do win just two seats in the south east.

    Top of the Tory candidate list and therefore more or less guaranteed re-election is Daniel Hannan, who has long argued that we must leave the EU, no ifs or buts. The Tory share of the votes would have to fall below about 8% for the lead Tory candidate not to win a seat; so we can assume that Daniel Hannan will get back in for the next five years, and therefore if we did have an “in-out” referendum in 2017 he would have the very useful status of that public office for the campaign, when it would be astounding if he did not campaign vigorously for “out” irrespective of Cameron’s vastly over-inflated claims for what he had achieved through his projected renegotiation.

    While the second Tory MEP for the south east will be Nirj Deva, who is a fine chap and very critical of the EU but not so clear about the need to actually leave it. In fact to the best of my knowledge he has never come out publicly and said that we must leave, and having checked his video message for this campaign it seems likely to me that if we did ever have an “in-out” referendum then he would probably take the wrong side, albeit reluctantly after much heart-searching.

    Just considering those two Tory MEPs who are almost certain to be re-elected, largely on the popularity of the lead candidate, come an “in-out” referendum we would probably find they were on opposite sides; whereas if we had voted in two UKIP MEPs instead we would know for sure that both would be on the right side.

  19. Concerned Citizen
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Conservatives “who oppose the federalism”! Perhaps you should tell your leader that.
    He might promise to hold a referendum but we all know which side he’s backing. If the smear campaign that has just been unleashed on UKIP is anything to go by, the run up to an in/out referendum will be unbearable.
    Following the last couple of weeks I’ll never vote lib/lab/con again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Lib Lab Con all supported by (the EU pensioned) Lord Patten’s propaganda unit at the BBC. Has Cameron found a lefty, green crap, pro EU, token woman to take over yet?

  20. matthu
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Conservatives “hostile to all or most of the EU project of economic, monetary and political union”?

    This is not my perception at all.

    You may be right that the majority of Conservative MPs (but excluding Cameron, Clarke, Shapps, Hague, Gove and in fact most of the cabinet) are Eurosceptic, but only a very small minority – maybe a dozen? – are prepared to speak out about it.

    Same goes for Green energy crap. Immigration. HS2.

    So no hostility at all then. You are all very happy for Cameron to spend a couple more years tinkering at the edges and in due course lead a referendum campaign advocating remaining in the EU. Because, make no mistake, that is what he will do.

    We need MPs in parliament willing to confront the issues and not kowtow to three line whips. No wonder fewer people are voting for you.

    Reply Many more speak out and vote accordingly

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Almost non speak out, only 6? was it voted against the climate change act.

      Perhaps 80-100 sound Tories at best.

  21. JA
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “If UKIP persists in claiming Conservative voters are not Eurosceptic enough, then they also have to accept that once again they have failed to persuade a majority of those voting to vote against the EU.”

    Please bear in mind that there was – what seemed to be – a concerted barrage of propaganda from the main parties, the press and the BBC against UKIP. The vital Daily Mail was in overdrive against UKIP.

    One BBC political editor has been suspended and another is likely to be over suspected bias.

    We also need to know how many voted for dodgy ‘UKIP’ like parties. Yes. Low voter turnout. Because – in part at least – they, like the parliamentarians, know that the EU cannot really be influenced from within.

    • JA
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Peter Hitchens has been offered an on-air apology from Radio 4 over being grossly misrepresented on comments about UKIP.

      This apology comes this Sunday, long after the elections. It should have come before the election, surely ?

      The damage has been done and the BBC seems only too happy to do it.

      So please, Dr Redwood. Do mention what UKIP was up against – the whole establishment it seems – when you downplay their success

  22. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I can’t answer your headline question, but I would like to pass on my observations following my voting in the EU election yesterday. I live in a small village and the votes are cast in a small hall. We all know the ballot paper was an enormous thing. There were two booths. The booths were alongside each other, with their backs against a wall, and thus in full view of the room.

    There is growing evidence of voter intimidation in some areas and breach of electoral law, not in mine, but given the size of the ballot paper it is not difficult for an observer to see where a voter puts his or her cross, especially if the chosen party is towards the top or bottom of the paper.

    There is a laziness and complacency in the setting up of the booths; they should have been set up with their backs towards the room so the voter would have to go round the booth and be hidden from view, or there could have been a curtain, ideally both.

    I also wonder when we are to get a thorough and meaningful investigation about the abuse of postal and proxy voting. These should in my view be limited to those who are housebound through illness or infirmity, not given out to all and sundry because they choose to somewhere else on the day or just can’t be bothered to visit the polling station. The explanation given that it allows more people to vote is self-evidently not working in the way intended. I suspect those with a responsibility to prevent fraud and criminality and act against it are too afraid to be robust in their approach – must not offend any of our ethnic minorities must we.

  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    No comment about the UKIP successes in the local elections? Not really surprising as all the results are not in yet and you never like to give any credit to UKIP. However, the EU result will not be known until Sunday but you comment at length under and you state: “This is not a political earthquake but a large yawn by the majority of voters.”. Clearly your partisan view is not shared by the Telegraph today :
    “Ukip’s “political earthquake” has rocked the Conservatives and Labour, with Nigel Farage’s party taking dozens of seats from Britain’s main parties.

    Mr Farage’s party has taken dozens of council seats from the Tories and Labour, dominating the south and making serious inroads in Labour’s northern heartlands.

    With over a third of councils having declared, Ukip had gained nearly a hundred seats – already exceeding expectations of around 80 wins.

    By 6am on Friday, with 100 of the 172 councils up for election in England and northern Ireland still to declare, the Tories had lost 93 seats, Labour gained 74, the Lib Dems lost 72, Ukip gained 84, the Greens gained one and other parties were up seven.”
    Are you sure that the story that you “agreed that loyalty and unity are the priorities over the next twelve months” is incorrect? This post suggests it is accurate.

    Reply Now I know the results I will be writing about them. In my constituency ten Council seats were contested. The Conservatives won 9 and the Lib Dems 1. I look forward to you writing in to congratulate us on such a good result. UKIP did contest every seat. Will UKIP manage 5% of all the seats available nationally? I assume they will not win a single Council.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Keep your head in the sand after all ” loyalty and unity are the priorities over the next twelve months”. I am happy to congratulate the successful candidates in your constituency and indeed all around the country. Perhaps you would like to congratulate the 2 new UKIP councillors in Bolton where I live?

  24. M Davis
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The reason that the majority don’t bother voting is because there is very little real information in the MSM about the workings of the EU. The BBC is absolutely useless and utterly biased in favour of the EU because they gain such a tremendous amount of money from it. The public should be fully informed on a regular basis, so that they can understand exactly what is going on and make informed decisions. There is a very good read from Peter Oborne on the 20th May, on the corruption of political establishments:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100272263/the-eu-resembles-a-criminal-organisation-its-supporters-including-ed-miliband-and-nick-clegg-are-compromising-their-integrity/

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Peter Oborne is quite right. Cameron too.

  25. Bryan
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I got the same/similar letter from my ‘local’ Libdem MEP whose residence in Oxford is 155 miles from mine.

    It spouted the same drivel that Clegg expouses at every given opportunity, despite being proved incorrect many times over and being battered and told he was lying by Mr Farage.

    I think that the closest the previous Libdem MEP got to my area was when she flew over it at 30,000 feet on her way to Brussels. Never having heard of the one who wrote to me, it is probably the same again.

  26. JimS
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Why vote?
    From EU Referendum:

    With that in mind, though, it is as well to remind ourselves of what these euro-elections are all about – an exercise which is as close to the concept of “democracy” as the EU ever comes – which is not very.

    Certainly, there is nothing “democratic” about Mr Cameron’s “top table”, the Council of Ministers. There, when a vote is called, qualified majority voting (QMV) applies. Britain has 29 votes out of 352, representing eight percent of the vote. A qualified majority is 252 votes (73.9 percent), leaving Britain with a structural deficit of 223 votes.

    However, in the European Parliament, the situation is little better. There are 73 UK MEPs, and these represent a mere 9.7 percent of the 751 elected MEPs (post-2014 election). Given the party splits, this level of representation is notional. UK MEPs rarely vote together as a single bloc. Even if they did, they could never muster the 376 votes needed for a majority.”

    I bet the commission take more advice from their chauffeurs than they do from Britain’s ‘top table’ delegates.

  27. Mike Hayward
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    What an eminently sensible article. There is no doubt that Conservative voters ‘lent’ their vote to UKIP because they do not believe any of the main parties can deliver on what us, the voters want. We want to take back control from unelected bureaucrats, so that our elected politicians can take democratic decisions on our behalf – whether it is immigration, taxation or indeed take overs by large American companies.

  28. Graham
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    As I understand it the total voting bloc of the UK MEP’s represents only 9.7% of the total so even if they all voted together they have almost no chance of changing anything.

    So much for influence in the corridors of power.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I took great heart from the news announcements this morning all saying there had been an enormous positive response for UKIP . I knew that there would be claims that the turn out was down or that there was little interest in the European Election . The simple truth is there is little faith in the leadership of David Cameron and we should rid ourselves of the wicked interference and influence of the EU . One of the prominent eurosceptics – Douglas Carswell is reported to have already called for a link with UKIP . Cameron’s pre-election contribution was pathetic – to say the least , and , when he claimed that he was the only person who could be relied upon to keep his promise , I laughed my boots off recalling the promise he made before the last General Election . I accept there is a big difference with the election next year and UKIP’s present popularity may weaken , however , change is afoot and the mood of the country has spoken in very clear terms . We want and need leadership to restore the dignity and independence of this country.

  30. Cheshire Girl
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Is anyone surprised that so few turn out to vote? It’s because people think their vote doesn’t make a darn bit of difference.! The EU has been allowed to infiltrate every facet of our lives. We are told who we have to allow into this country. Who we cannot deport, no matter how bad the crimes they have committed. How many hours we are allowed to work etc. The list goes on and on!
    We are constantly told how good membership of the EU is for us, but not told the downside. Consequently, people do not feel in control of their own lives. The politicians should not be surprised at the low turnout or the results of this election. It has been forecast for months. They just didn’t seem to see it coming.

  31. Iain Gill
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    It’s a mix of things. Its not just the European elections though is it? Its elections in general. And its not just Europe its also immigration and the quality of our ruling class.
    Certainly the unrepresentative political class of all the main parties does not help. Many of which are there through family connections, or having gone to the same old group of schools, and so on. Many of which have “never done a proper job”. Many of which studied politics at uni (these courses have a lot to answer for), worked for a political party, stood for election in a safe seat, and find themselves in positions of power with no real world experience.
    The fact that for folk in a safe seats their vote counts for little.
    It’s not helped by the media bubble either, and its bias, which tends to put supposedly non-political commentators on programmes who in fact are from the same old trendy set.
    Immigration as a topic is a case study in how the political system has failed to listen to the people. The labour party has over decades refused to represent the genuine concerns of its core heartlands on this issue, indeed quite the reverse. The conservative party seems to be in league with big business and puts them before the country they are supposed to represent, indeed “conservative home” website regularly deletes posts from people making quite reasonable points about immigration. I caught bits of question time last night and I thought the rants of racism, sexism, and all the rest of it against UKIP were case in point, complete lack of understanding or empathy of the position of the majority of the population, and very much double standards.
    Frustration that the same old public servants will end up making the same mistakes regardless of who is elected, so the same anti-car nutters thinning roads etc will still be in the planning department and traffic quangos regardless of elections.
    Power to the people is much more effective when they actually control their own individual spending decisions and they can force the big providers to bend to their will with individual spending decisions, elections every 5 years for another round of Stalinist top down planning have none of the precision needed.
    Frustration that PC subjects like “equality” are applied unfairly, and widespread discrimination against the while working class is not tackled. (words left out ed) Indeed the public sector engages in “positive discrimination” which is actually discrimination against the white working class.
    Far too much weight attached to presentation, and far too little to substance.
    Far too much of the media bubble with an arts education and no understanding of science. Far too easy for public sector people to take years out to be an elected rep and then go back to their cushy public sector role, compared to the real risk for many private sector occupations if they did that.
    And so on and so on.

  32. Iain Gill
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The other question I would like a serious answer to is how many Commonwealth non British citizens are voting in the elections? How many are registered? How many are only here on temporary visas? Do they vote in different proportions the wider community? Do their votes swing some seats?
    I personally would remove the vote from anyone only here on a temporary (eg student or work visa), but I would give the vote to folk from any country if they have indefinite leave to remain here.

    • James Matthews
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Good question. particularly relevant to London where only about half the population was born in the UK and many of those who were not are only here because of our membership of the EU. For myself I would withdraw the franchise from all but British citizens without dual nationality. The deal should be that you pay taxes and get services, but you don’t get to influence the long-term direction of the country unless you make a long-term commitment and demonstrate some loyalty to it.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 23, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        There is little difference between having indefinite leave to remain and citizenship these days. Anyone that is legally settled here should be allowed to vote. But anyone here on a temporary basis, such as international students, should not have the vote. And it should be a LOT harder to get indefinite leave to remain.

        • James Matthews
          Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Far too liberal. If someone does not want or is deemed unworthy of citizenship they should not be influencing the politics of this country. That goes particularly for those who come as asylum seekers, many of whom immediately set to work undermining the nature and culture that gave them sanctuary. However you are moving in the right direction.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 24, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          No, only citizens should be allowed to vote.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I see that soon after the polls closed last night Cameron emailed Tory party workers thanking them for their efforts and concluding:

    “Whatever the results, I feel immensely proud of the campaign we fought together.”

    For me this illustrates that somebody can come from a privileged background and be provided with a fine education, and yet still not know right from wrong.

    There was nothing to be proud of in a Tory party campaign which relied primarily on trawling through the backgrounds of over 2000 UKIP candidates and finding the 1% who could become the subjects of smear stories fed to the mass media, and allegedly with an arrangement that newspapers who went easy on the Tories could expect to be supplied with this grist for their mill.

    It’s not just UKIP supporters, but most of the general public, and even including some opponents of UKIP, who regard such tactics as disgusting and anti-democratic, and who would think that they should be a cause for shame rather than pride.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Dr Redwood didn’t notice any of this going on, he tells us.

  34. boffin
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    It is sad that none of my candidates’ literature – EU or local – displayed any real awareness of the primary duty of my representative, that of holding the executive to account.

    Why vote for someone who will merely be the lapdog of the bureaucracies which seek to rule our lives, with ever less accountability?

    I do not intend to vote until the once-cherished secrecy of the ballot is restored. At present, a unique number is imprinted on the obverse of the ballot paper and against the elector’s name on the roll. This enables all those who have voted for a given candidate to be traced … and a (future?) Stazi to mark their files accordingly … a perversion of our facade of democracy which [well-known African dictator's name removed] and his ilk might find most satisfactory.

    Were I to borrow my full quota of books from my County mobile library, this information would at once be transmitted to the County database via a cellular data link. I could not then present elsewhere to borrow more than my quota. The assertion that it is necessary to link the identity of the voter to the ballot paper to prevent fraudulent voting is simply a monstrous lie.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Most of us were very annoyed at the Party List system of voting. What clown agreed to that? That’s not a rhetorical question.

    In the end I voted Conservative because I want to see elected Dan Hannan and other Conservative candidates that I helped to choose. Most of them are Eurosceptics. A vote for UKIP was very tempting but over the next few years I decided that scrutinising EC legislation was going to be necessary for damage limitation reasons.

  36. John Bracewell
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    It is the perception that matters as far as EU elections are concerned. The perception is that the 72 UK MEPs do not have a single view in favour or against EU laws and directives and are anyhow swamped by the masses of MEPs from the other 27 countries and this renders the UK input to the process completely ineffective in protecting the UK’s interests. Couple that with the perception, right or wrong, that the MEPs have no power and decisions are made by the unelected people in the EU and there is the reason why EU elections are considered a useless exercise.
    Since the EU affects all domestic policies including the economy, it should be the single most important topic in all elections but the conspiracy of Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats not to engage, until recently, in any discussion about the EU has meant that people still perceive it to be low down in the top 10 issues. This may well change for the 2015 election with UKIP making the pace, and the opposition to UKIP from Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour serving to emphasise the importance of the EU/immigration topic.
    Another point about the EU is that many politicians and media people talk about Europe when they mean the EU. Most people like Europe but many dislike or even hate the EU. Even the title of this piece by your good self is about ‘ignoring the EUROPEAN elections’ instead of the EU elections. The word Europe has a far greater feel-good factor than the phrase ‘European Union’ has.

    Reply You make a good point that we all need to distinguish between the EU and Europe. One of the reasons I and like minded Conservatives MPs talk a lot about the EU is because it now has so much imp0act on issues and policies that do matter very much to our constituents. I have been seeking to show in and out of Parliament that important matters like immigration, energy prices, fishing, farming and food prices, human rights etc are wholly or largely under EU control.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      It’s been 73 UK MEPs since December 1st 2011, when a protocol came into force to amend Article 14 TEU in the EU treaties and allow 3 surplus German MEPs to keep their seats legally rather than illegally while 18 other MEPs who had been excluded were finally allowed take their seats, after two whole years during which the EU Parliament was unlawfully constituted and by rights all its acts should have been deemed null and void.

      As explained here at the time:

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20100223BKG69359/html/Ratification-of-Parliament's-18-additional-MEPs-completed

      except there the emphasis is on the 18 new MEPs finally being allowed to take their seats rather on the root cause of the unlawfulness, the refusal of the German government to withdraw the 3 surplus German MEPs, the 99 elected in June 2009 exceeding the new maximum of 96 MEPs for any country which was laid down by the Treaty of Lisbon which came into force on December 1st 2009.

      In the UK the protocol was approved by Part 2 of the European Union Act 2011:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/12/part/2/enacted

      and later the extra seat was allocated to the West Midlands euroregion and given to a Conservative on the basis of the votes cast in 2009:

      http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2010/10/anthea-mcintyre-set-to-become-conservative-mep-as-uk-gets-73rd-seat-in-brussels.html

      Now suppose that this was not the EU Parliament but the House of Commons, and after a general election 3 people who no longer had the right to be there were nevertheless still turning up and debating and voting, while 18 people who had been duly elected as MPs were being excluded from the House; it is difficult to imagine that blatantly unlawful situation escaping the notice of the media and the British public and being allowed to persist for two days let alone two whole years, but that is what happened with the EU Parliament and outside the very narrowest of political circles hardly anybody in this country was aware of it.

  37. oldtimer
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    What you say about the inadequacies of the MEP elections and the stitch up that exists in the European Parliament is true. In some ways it is unsurprising that so many do not bother to vote given the apparent remoteness of it all. All the more reason then to pay attention to those that do bother to vote and to the turnout. Those that do, especially where there is no local government election, are paying attention and have something to say through the ballot box. The established parties ignore them at their peril. I await the outcome with interest.

  38. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I think it was more of a positive decision not to vote for the three leaders.

    Cameron–Many people who should be voting for him despise him–what he is doing as Leader of the “Conservatives” is utterly beyond me. His love of “Progress”, Constitutional change, excessive pandering to women with the Identity nonsense, and same-sex so-called “Marriage” make him the antithesis of what he should be.

    Miliband–Even his own supporters realise that he is bribing them for their votes by simply saying he will stop everything they don’t like–if only it were that simple. Don’t hear much these days from him about Hollande in France. Must be mad to keep Balls.

    Clegg–Wrong on everything especially Immigration and the EU– he, and especially the Party, judge what they say in line with the moment and whom they are speaking to and where. One of his women was on the box last night seeking to establish her belief in what she was trying to persuade us was the principle behind the desirability of Coalition government. It used not to be good form to contradict a lady but she was talking absolute twaddle as is proved by asking what she would be saying if the LibDems vote were to shoot up. Let’s hope for their extermination.

    You know who’s results so far have been eminently satisfactory and (whilst not counting chickens as he so well put it) I imagine he will do better still on Sunday.

  39. Neil Craig
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Yes the EU parliament is just a talking shop and the election is simply a popularity contest.

    But it is the only national election conducted under a democratic system where people feel free to vote for who they want without “splitting the vote”. As such it is the best evidence of party popularity we have.

    And of course, if enough people realise how popular a party is it is bound to allow people to see who is likely to be the main choice and who the splitter.

    Mustn’t count chickens before their hatching is counted but I suspect in a large area, possibly most of the country, UKIP is going to prove to be the contender and the Tories only the splitter.

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    “… the two leading parties in the UK who oppose the federalism of both the major blocs (Conservatives and UKIP) … ”

    Federalist is as federalist does, and when those leading a party instruct their MPs to vote against an amendment to affirm the sovereignty of our national Parliament, and all but a very few of those MPs comply, then that is undeniably a federalist party.

    http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live?mp=0&division=7

    “Affirming the Sovereignty of the UK Parliament, 11 Jan 2011

    During the debate on the Government’s EU Bill a motion was moved to reaffirm the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in relation to EU law. This motion was opposed by the Government which has kept the supremacy of EU law over those laws made by our own democratic institutions.”

    How the 305 Tory MPs reacted:

    Aye 27
    No 256
    Abstained 22

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted May 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives like to talk up their EU sceptic credentials – when it suits them. But in reality a vote for a Conservative Mp is a vote for MORE EU integration.
      Some Conservatives disagree with the EU but know that to ‘get on’ in the party they must support the leadership’s position.
      There are a few exceptional Mp’s that regularly oppose the EU… Mr Redwood, Carswell, Bone etc. but these are exceptions to the rule.

  41. Remington Norman
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “UKIP as well said little about how they would amend, tone down or defeat more EU laws, which is the one useful thing MEPs can do.”

    On the contrary John, UKIP have repeated ad nauseam that they will invoke Art 50 to pull the UK out of the EU and then negotiate a reform package. Why do you and others continue to promise a raft of reforms when it has been made clear by Barroso and others that this is a non-starter?

    My personal view is that once we threaten seriously (not a “Cameron’ threat) to leave, they would come to the table and negotiate reforms, for all the reasons you have given, of which continuing trade is the most important.

    Reply UKIP MEPs cannot invoke Article 50, – no UKIP MEP has done this so far.

    • APL
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      JR: “UKIP MEPs cannot invoke Article 50, – no UKIP MEP has done this so far.”

      Yes, true. UKIP cannot. And we know the the Tories WILL NOT.

      Why would any EUrosceptic vote Tory?

      Reply To get a referendum!

      • APL
        Posted May 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        JR: “To get a referendum!”

        We don’t need a referendum. We didn’t get a referendum when we went into the ‘Common Market’, we got a post hoc referendum after the decision had been made and the articles signed.

        So, you and your ‘Eurosceptic’ party get us out. Then, I might consider voting for your rotten party once again. But not before.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “Most Conservative voters do not like the current relationship and think it has to change substantially so we can govern ourselves as we used to before the centralising Treaties.”

    Well, then, if those voters knew that in the summer of 2010 Cameron agreed to simply give Merkel a radical EU treaty change that she wanted, asking for nothing in return, they might ask why he did not take that “golden opportunity” to demand substantial changes to the current relationship.

    As the Tory MP Mark Reckless put it to Cameron on October 24th 2011, referring to that EU treaty change formalised as European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011:

    “The Prime Minister tells The Daily Telegraph today that we should use any treaty change to shore up the euro to get powers over employment and social policy back, yet on 25 March, he agreed to precisely such a treaty change, but did not ask for anything in return.”

    But of course most Conservative voters are not aware that Cameron did that because that EU treaty change was quietly hidden through almost complete media blackout, and of the few who did learn about it some will have forgotten.

    Instead they are bombarded with nonsense about Cameron having “repatriated the bailout power” when there was no such power to be repatriated.

  43. cosmic
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    People tend not to vote when they don’t consider it will change anything.

    People are not inclined to vote when they see no effective difference in the parties they are voting for.

    People are not interested in the elections of a body – the EU – which they see as remote and don’t identify with.

    Don’t forget that GE turnouts are falling and that’s probably to do with the first two reasons. They don’t see much difference between Labour and Conservative and with a lot of issues they are interested in, there seems to be a tacit agreement not to discuss them.

  44. Lifelogic
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Cameron just now asked about a UKIP deal said something like – We do not do deals, we are out for an overall victory and the general election, this is a good base we can build on. Has the Right Honourable Gentleman taken total leave of his senses or has he just not looked at the numerical results yet?

    • APL
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic: Cameron said something like “We do not do deals, we are out for an overall victory and the general election”

      Yes, I nearly fell off my chair when I heard that one. Said by the leader of a government that governs by means of a deal with the Lib Dumbs.

      Cameron, stupid or just thick?

  45. Anonymous
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    A prime ministerial career can be ruined by wearing a baseball cap on a roller coaster, holding a banana in a comic fashion – falling in the waves on the beach… something as petty as not knowing the words to the Welsh national anthem.

    Farage had to endure week upon week upon week of being smeared as a racist. Yet he’s still managed to create a four party political system.

    We wouldn’t need four parties if the Conservatives were conservative.

  46. Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Surely it’s not only the EU elections, but also the council elections where apathy is the winner.
    Only around a third of the electorate bothered to vote, which means that a winning candidate is supported by a sixth or less (depending on the number of candidates) of the electorate.
    Hardly a resounding vote of confidence for those elected, or for our democratic system, when two thirds of the eligible voters simply don’t care who is elected to their local councils. This in spite of the fact that the Council’s actions are likely to impact on individuals far more than those of the EU parliament.

  47. Ray Veysey
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Messrs Redwood, Carswell and Hannan the conservative kites, up there in the wind, moving around to adjust to the changing moods and shifts in direction, but ultimately all on a string connected to the same man. A man who neither likes or wants their advice on the EU and will let the strings fly as soon as he has finished with them. You are just part of a phoney wall of collectivity he presents.

  48. formula57
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    A reason I do not vote for MEPs is I cannot but think if no-one was elected, it would make little to no difference. They do not initiate legislation, they may have a theoretical power to block proposals (not sure tbh) but never seem to put a stop to anything, and meanwhile the Commission and member states’ governments carry on. Add that the MEPs who are elected nearly all and all of the time remain out of sight and out of mind, and it is easy to opt out of voting for them.

  49. NickW
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    It boils down to a matter of trust. Once a politician breaks that trust, his,(or her) word is worthless. It’s as simple as that.

    And grateful thanks for staying clear of all the mud slinging and insults, I really appreciate it, and I hope everyone else does as well.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      “It boils down to a matter of trust. Once a politician breaks that trust, his, (or her) word is worthless.”

      Funnily enough that is pretty much what Cameron said in his famous Sun article of September 26th 2007:

      “The final reason we must have a vote is trust. Gordon Brown talks about “new”
      politics.

      But there’s nothing “new” about breaking your promises to the British public.
      It’s classic Labour.

      And it is the cancer that is eating away at trust in politics. Small wonder that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

      If you really want to signal you’re a break from the past, Prime Minister, do the right thing – give the people the referendum you promised.

      Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these
      negotiations.

      No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.”

  50. ian wragg
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Of course CMD will ignore the fact that the majority of the people who bothered to vote are fed up with the EU and immigration. He was blathering on todays news about having to work harder to dispel peoples fears regarding amongst other things immigration. He knows full well he can do nothing about EU immigration and as we have had a (large number ed) of Romanian and Bulgarian N.I. numbers issued he is talking nonsense.
    Neil Hamilton was very good today on the Jeremy Vine show explaining how all government policy is dictated from Brussels and of course the public are up to speed on that.
    CMD thinks the sheeple are to be ignored so he can pursue his ambition of EU President or whatever he has in mind.

  51. Stevie
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I would have voted but am out of the country and the process for acquiring a postal vote was just that bit too irritating to do this time around. I got as far as downloading the form but the inability to do the whole thing electronically meant it slipped to number 137 on my to-do list and never got done. Silly, really, but I suppose this is a reflection of the fact that I no longer feel that my vote matters.

  52. Robert Taggart
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Oneself never used to vote in these elections…
    Out of principle – simply did not support the idea of European parliament / government – our first opportunity being in ’84, Derbyshire, Liebore / Geoff Hoon won !
    Out of despair – when it was still First Past The Post – the result in ’89 and ’94 (Greater Manchester East) was a forgone conclusion – Liebore / Glyn Ford.
    FTR – have voted each time since Proportional Representation – UKIP.

  53. oldtimer
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I draw your attention to this essay by Roman Herzog, titled We Ought to be more EU-Skeptic and published by Spiegel online:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/construction-faults-at-the-heart-of-the-eu-will-cause-its-disintegration-a-971283.html

    Herzog was president of |Germany from 1987-1999. He raises many interesting points and relevant questions which you may wish to explore at some time.

  54. outsider
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I voted on Thursday out of duty so I cannot directly answer your question but I conclude that there are two main reasons why voter turnout is low in EU elections:

    1) Like all our elections, it is Westminster-centred and Westminster controlled. The manifestos were drawn up, the arguments conducted and the campaigns directed by Westminster politicians and marketers. Like any election, including by-elections, it is therefore presented and communicated in the centralised media as being merely a mid-term opinion poll on Westminster government rather than having any great importance in itself.

    2) Voting really does make very little difference to anything. It is not just that what the EU and its Parliament is stitched up. The system of voting for regional, multi-member party lists tends to dampen any swing in voting preferences in terms of seats. And unless you back an independent you are not really voting for anyone. I could only name one of my regional MEPs and that is only because he has been the most extreme federalist of any UK MEP but creeps in to represent the most eurosceptic region of the country by virtue of topping the LibDem list.
    Whatever you vote, no-one can really be said to represent the region in the European Parliament and by the same token none of the region’s MEPs has an obligation to seek to represent those who did not vote for her or him.
    I can remember when we elected a single county MEP. We knew who he was, where he lived and what he was like and he was easily contactable by phone. He was worth voting for.

  55. Richard Roney
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    One of the ‘put offs’ to voting in EU elections is the undemocratic list system imposed upon us by the most appalling administration I have ever had the misfortune to live under – the Blair administration. Jack Straw was the minister in charge of the appropriate legislation but he and all his then colleagues bear the responsibility for this disaster. I do hope when the Tories get re-elected, as I’m confident will happen, they will repeal this nasty carbuncle on our statute book.

    • Mark
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I agree entirely. The thought that my vote might help someone to be elected at the margin over someone else I would far rather see was very discouraging.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Since the closed party list system was introduced in 1999 the Tory party has had plenty of time to say that they would change the system, but they have never done so. There is the constraint that the EU wants it to be a proportional system, and moreover narrows it down to a party list system or the STV system used in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

  56. acorn
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    The turn-out figures appear to be a secret. Perhaps, as we vote early in the EU voting window, they don’t want us to influence the rest of the EU with our lack of enthusiasm. Mind you, UKIP are having a positive affect. As only a third of Councils are voting and a lot of those are only electing a third of seats; the projected national vote share (BBC): Lab 31%, Con 29%, UKIP 17 %, Lib Dem 13%, is the interesting bit.

    BTW. If you want to see how little difference QE has made to the real economy, have a look at (cited presentation which I have studied but am not sure I have permission to reproduce ed) I am not making cheap comments any more. If I were, I would say that the coalition’s government, has now “borrowed” more money in four years than Labour’s did in thirteen. All that super cheap QE, is allowing our zombie banks to make super normal profits, to sterilize the toxic waste loan assets, festering away in the vaults.

    These charts are worth studying particularly the affect the US New Deal 1933 had on the Banks. Also, Exhibit 21 shows how using a foreign currency (Euro), puts you at the mercy of market vigilantes. Those same vigilantes won’t take on a sovereign fiat currency (US, UK, Japan); they know that the central bank can blow them out of the water any time it wants.

    Only fiscal policy can correct a high private debt balance sheet recession. That is “austerity” times minus one.

    • acorn
      Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      A plausible excuse JR but it has been released for public consumption. For those who want to know, try googling “Richard Koo – Abenomics and the Escape from Balance Sheet”. (You want the May 2013 edition).

      Reply It was not an “excuse”, just legal caution.I found the slides interesting, but I have compiled my own version of events re balance sheets and money which is similar.

  57. James Matthews
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    ” If UKIP persists in claiming Conservative voters are not Eurosceptic enough, then they also have to accept that once again they have failed to persuade a majority of those voting to vote against the EU.”

    I don’t think UKIP has ever claimed that Conservative voters are not Eurosceptic enough (though for many this may in fact be the case). What they do claim is that the overwhelming majority of Conservative MPs are not Eurosceptic enough and nor is the Party leadership. Given that from a UKIP perspective “enough” means wanting to leave the EU, that seems to be self-evidently true.

    They have, however, as you rightly say, failed to persuade a majority of the electorate to vote against the EU, although whether this means that a majority is in favour of remaining in the EU, or rather that other priorities and loyalties, or simply inertia, take precedence, is open to debate. Not to worry though. They are slowly getting there.

  58. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    It is truly astonishing that more than 50% of UK don’t/can’t vote. And then there’s the problem of the fraudulent and vote paper invalidation. The 3 main parties are not the same: (might sound the same?)

    Labour = poverty for all and is repeated in recent history – next!
    Liberals = awkward minority that is mostly unpractical
    Tories = generally tied to fixing Labour disasters and are currently following the uni-cultural dogma of the EU and worryingly the global interference of the USA.

    UKIP = lets drop all the above, and get our country back – on stage. Not sure how thats going to happen though, but I hope it does.

    Russia – Putin advised today: (it appears?)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/10851908/Vladimir-Putin-warns-sanctions-on-Russia-will-backfire-on-West.html

    The UK should have gone and discussed issues (energy/territory) with Putin instead of allowing the USA to push/lead a flock of fools from the EU to alienate/isolate Russia. I am trying to imagine a conflict aimed at taking Russia.

    The G in GB is going to disappear shortly because attempts at erasing it are well underway. Just tax paying sheep in the end – well, at least 50% are. Are we importing more for that multicultural thing?

  59. uanime5
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Since the UK uses the first-past-the-post system for domestic elections a lot of people have given up voting because they often see their votes being wasted because the largest minority usually wins. Sadly they seem to have given up voting even in EU elections which use proportional representation so votes won’t be wasted.

    Of course had the leaders of the main parties made it clearer what their MEPs had achieved in the previous 5 years and what they were going to campaign for in the next 5 years more people may have been more interested in these elections.

    In other news Universal Credit has been omitted from the Major Project Authority’s ratings (they review the progress of government projects). It seems that IDS didn’t want his flagship programme being rated as being unachievable or that it will cost £12.8 billion rather than the predicted £2.8 billion.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iain-duncan-smith-accused-of-hiding-bad-news-on-universal-credit-after-damning-report-is-hushed-up-9428732.html

    Reply Thank you for agreeing with something I have said – probably a first! Thank you also for accepting that PR does not in this case make people think it is worthwhile voting.

  60. a-tracy
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    You’re lucky you got literature before you voted, we only had one Lib Dem leaflet before we cast our postal vote, the other three arrived about four days after we posted it.

    The Lib Dem MEPs have to ask themselves what they did to secure their jobs too, the only MEP we heard from regularly was Nigel Farrage, who were the leaders of the MEPS for the Conservatives, Labour or the Lib Dems I don’t know anyones name!

    Just what are Labour MEPs promising, because they seemed to me to be promising changes in Immigration rules emanating from Brussels yet don’t they and the Conservative MEPs vote for these same rules to be applied in block group voting?

    When we vote in the European Elections you simply don’t know who or what you’re voting for, and that more than anything is the reason people give me for not bothering to vote.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page