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 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:05:21 PM EST
BBC - Mark Mardell's Euroblog -
Worth voting for an MEP?

Inside the Brussels building of the European Parliament blue banners are strung across the main walk way. "How much should we tame financial markets?" reads one, below the picture of a pussycat and a lion. "How open should our borders be?" proclaims another, beneath a picture of a fortress and a hedge.

Other attempts to persuade us all to go to the polls are the subject of a very funny assault by the Daily Telegraph's man in Brussels, Bruno Waterfield.

But the determination is not surprising. A Eurobarometer poll just released indicates that 28% of those Europeans questioned probably won't vote. A startling 30% in Britain said they definitely wouldn't vote: not "perhaps not", or "maybe" - they have made up their minds they won't cast a vote. That is more than double the figure before the last elections. And 71% of those who had decided, firmly, not to vote said it was because they were not sufficiently informed. So some will blame the media for not reporting enough of the goings-on in the parliament.

But I am not sure it is the whole story. General disillusionment with the EU may be the reason, but this isn't very logical: Conservatives and Libertas are both very critical of the existing structure and want to change it and UKIP want to pull out. So there is no shortage of options for those who dislike the EU in greater or smaller measure.


by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:17:25 PM EST
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The European Citizen: Northern Ireland and the European Elections
Stephen Spillane has posted a very interesting article on the European elections in Northern Ireland. Crudely put, the gist of it was that with the MEP Jim Allister setting up his own party after breaking away from the DUP means that the unionist vote could be spread out over more candidates. This would mean that the traditional 2 Unionist MEPs and 1 Nationalist MEP balance could be changed (but read his article to get a better sense of this with some handy numbers).

As someone from Northern Ireland, I guess I should have said something about the elections here before, but I have to admit that I haven't found the European elections in NI interesting - there hasn't really been any campaigning yet, though I think the candidates are pretty much selected, and the communal divide means that the poll won't even mean that the result can indicate and shift in political opinion in a way that matters in an EU sense or even in the traditional political sense of left v right. Elections in NI are largely still just the popular method of measuring the political weight of (1) each community in comparison to the other (2) each of the parties strength within their own community.

On the other hand, the election is interesting in that it could show developments in these areas, which I have perhaps been wrong to dismiss as not really that interesting. (Perhaps it's more interesting from the outside since it's different from "normal" politics?).
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:35:37 PM EST
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