Was I wrong?

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Last week I did something or actually I didn't do something which I have never before done in my entire adult life. That was I did not vote! Firstly in my region it was just the European election not local ones and no I did not forget. I actually fully intended to vote as I believe quiet strongly that people should. However, I am not someone who casts my vote automatically for some party or another I actually like to research who I should be voting for.

I actually don't like party politics and in local and general elections I always study the individuals and what their views are and I vote for the person. After all if I don't like what they are doing I can contact them directly. But the European elections are on a proportional representation basis and therefore you can only vote for a party and have no influence at all who might be representing you.

But this little thing was not going to put me off so I did my research. The first step being to find out what region I was actually going to be voting in.  Easy you would think but it took me over an hour to establish that I am probably in the South East. Why did it take that long? Well I live in a rural area in Oxfordshire but have a Wiltshire post code. My first port of call was the EU website which believe it or not on the day of the elections was down for maintenance!!!  But good old Google pointed me at Wikipedia where I found that the Cotswold region which I had been in was split between South West and South East - in the South East region it listed various wards for Oxfordshire but not my own and in the South West it just said some of the Cotswold region - so possibly I was South West. I then found a great overlaying map by Ordnance Survey where on putting in my Post Code said I was in the South West - success I thought until I actually looked at the boundaries and sure enough I was shown as in the South East.

So having determined I was in the South East I looked at the positioning statements of all the parties who were standing in the region as needless to say not a single one had bothered sending me any literature to my home. What did I discover that not any single party had views which correlated with mine? That with party politics is probably not surprising so I thought I would try and find out who each of the parties was putting forward as potential MEPs for my region. This is where I eventually drew a blank. I was up against the faceless bureaucracy.

It was at this point I decided that not that I would not vote but I could not vote on the basis that firstly there was no one party which was campaigning on a platform exactly how I would wish though a number included areas where I was in agreement.

I feel bad that I didn't vote although appreciate that my one vote would not have made a difference but how many others like me would have liked to vote but due to the system and mechanisms in place felt unable to do so. The only interesting aside to this was considering the result with UKIP in our country and other anti-EU elected candidates in other countries that they have all taken up their seats. If your policy is to withdraw from EU them why take your seat as you can't use the argument of 'change from within' as you are not there to change but not to be there. There again - great salary, great expenses and great salary with almost no accountability - maybe the politics on which you stand are irrelevant.

Jonathan Russell


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