On the eve of tomorrow’s mind-bogglingly confusing European Elections, I thought I’d get serious for a moment and put together a few useful links so that we can all cram and do our homework the night before we got to the polls. So, here we go:
First off, there are local elections happening tomorrow at the same time as the European elections. The date for the local elections was originally scheduled for May 7th, 2009. However, in an effort to make things slightly more confusing for us all, this was changed last November to June 4th so that everything could happen on the same day. Brilliant.
Local Elections Explained does exactly what it says on the tin, and also provides a list of local authorities currently scheduled to hold elections tomorrow.
I’m not afraid to admit that I feel somewhat confused by the European Elections. In fact, I feel as confused and bewildered as the time I was given the chance to win a summer quiz for my Cub Pack by answering the question: “What’s the capital of France?” (I answered “Italy” and got a wedgie.)
I’ve already Tweeted some of these links, but I found them quite useful in helping my understanding of what it is I’m supposed to be doing tomorrow:
To ease us in gently, the BBC has a useful Q&A on the European Elections. And the About My Vote website has a five-step-guide to voting in person at a polling station (we’ve all likely voted before, but I’m just trying to be thorough!)
The BBC also has a handy map showing the UK’s 12 electoral regions and a list of European Election candidates. A similar list of candidates can also be found on the website of the UK Office of the European Parliament (clicking on your region on this webpage also gives you the option of viewing the list of candidates as either a Word or PDF document, which might be useful if you want to print out a copy of this info).
The BBC (again, god bless them) also has information about the various political groups in the European Parliament, including their political alignment (centre-left, centre-right, left-wing, right-wing, reverse cowgirl etc) and what they stand for. They also have a comprehensive party-by-party guide to the parties and independent candidates standing in England, Scotland and Wales in the European elections. I found this guide really useful, as it summarises the policies and prospects of each party, and also states the European Parliament group to which they belong (details of these groups can be found in the first link in this paragraph).
Does that give everyone enough useful places to go and gen up on this whole European Election thing? I hope so.
ANYTHING BUT THE BNP!
As a final point, I’m sure many people are thinking of using the local and European Elections as a chance to give a bloody nose to the main political parties, whose error-prone (no, let’s just say “greedy”) MPs have had their noses practically welded to the trough of taxpayers money for many years.
A protest vote is fine, just as long as it doesn’t push the door open (any further) for the British National Party. In the wake of the MPs expenses scandal, Nick Griffin and his party of dangerous idiots seem to think that they’re on the verge of something great. They genuinely believe that a disillusioned and incensed electorate will see the BNP as a viable alternative to the main parties, which is a truly terrifying prospect.
It’s hardly headline news that the BNP can count among its ranks a fair share of racists and extreme right-wing nut-jobs. However, everyone should take the time to read this Guardian article about the views held by some of its MEP candidates. The BNP can’t really hide what they’re really about. But they’re giving it a damn good try.
Anyway, serious stuff over with. I hope this post has been helpful (if only a little bit). Happy voting!