Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Vote Apathy

The European elections are this Thursday. It may have escaped your notice, what with Susan Boyle, duck islands and bath plugs dominating the news.

I have always made a point of voting in every election - local, mayoral, national or European - not least because the simple act of turning up to polling station to vote is at the heart of the system of democracy that we take for granted and others around the world can only dream of.

I try, too, to ensure that my vote is informed. Yet this time round I am struggling to know who, if anyone, to vote for.

As they are the European elections, I would like my voting decision to be informed by issues of relevance to the European agenda.

Instead, the only election literature I have seen has been Liberal Democrat and Conservative electioneering raking over the UK-centric issues of the economy, second home expenses and so forth.

Oh, and I saw a leaflet from the environmentally-friendly Green Party littering the streets of Worcester Park this morning.

This is, it appears to me, a European election being fought on anything but European issues. Is this a failure of the UK population to care, or a failure of the parties to engage with the real issues at stake? I suspect a bit of both.

Either way, I suspect that when election results are announced the main loser will be democracy.

For the first time in my life I may well find myself ticking the apathy box on Thursday.

Update: I have just stumbled across the website VoteMatch.co.uk which asks a series of questions to help match your views to those of the parties standing in the European elections in your area. Well worth a few minutes of your time. Best of all it has confirmed that I am definitely NOT a Conservative. Hoorah! I feel vindicated.