Only about a third of people normally vote in European and Council elections. If you are one of the two thirds who hasn’t made their way to the polling station yet, please read on. This stuff actually matters.
Your MEPs and Councillors make decisions that affect your daily life, be it mobile phone charges on your holiday, potentially your job if it’s funded by European money, or the care your parents receive or the quality of your local parks.
Clearly I’d love it if you voted Liberal Democrat for your benefit as much as mine as a party member. Here are some reasons why:
Liberal Democrat Councillors have big hearts, they listen to their constituents and they will always put people first
From my article the other week:
Our councillors are embedded in their communities. They know what’s going on, they keep themselves in touch with what people are thinking and they listen to what’s said to them. Our Members of Parliament are under-resourced in terms of staff, but councillors have nobody beyond some clerical support. They do their casework diligently and work eye-watering hours to go the extra mile for people. When they see injustice, they will fight hard for people, leaving no stone unturned. People know who they are and feel comfortable about approaching them with their problems. Try walking the length of a street in their ward with a Liberal Democrat councillor and see how long it takes you as they are stopped by people who want to ask them things, bring their problems, or offer thanks for a job well done.
If you have been impressed by a Liberal Democrat councillor, don’t just think that they’re bound to get in because they’re good. You need to make it happen.
And what about the MEPs?
Do you want an MEP who will basically stick two fingers up at the EU and not engage with it? The thing about those sorts of people is that they don’t work hard for their areas. A good MEP can secure European funding for the area and help attract businesses and therefore jobs to their constituency. What’s better, a wrecker or a worker? Here are just some of the qualities our lot have:
George Lyon, in Scotland, for example has the skills required to get 27 nations to work together to cut the EU budget by £30 billion. He’s also spent the last 5 years standing up for Scotland’s farmers. As a farmer himself, he understands exactly what the issues are. Sarah Ludford’s work on crime prevention, civil liberties and LGBT rights, Catherine Bearder on the environment and action against trafficking, Edward McMillan-Scott on human rights and campaigning against the farcical and expensive monthly trek to Strasbourg are all worth keeping. If this is how East Midlands MEP Bill Newton Dunn spends his day of rest, heaven knows how much he achieves when the Parliament is sitting? Chris Davies and Andrew Duff both won MEP of the Year awards for their work on fishing and social media respectively. Phil Bennion won an award from the Clear Air campaign and he’s campaigned to protect people with autism from bullying and discrimination. Look at the feedback Graham Watson has had when he’s helped people. His site, actually, is one of the best at giving an insight to what MEPs do.
If good people don’t vote, those parties who spread fear and hatred and suspicion will win. You need to make the choice between people who will serve their communities and constituencies well or wreckers who just want to stick two fingers up at a few scapegoated groups of people. Not voting will only help the wreckers. Polling stations are open between 7 am and 10 pm and you don’t need your polling card to vote. Not all postal ballots have been returned – if you never got round to sending yours off, don’t worry about it. Just take it to any polling station in your constituency. You really could make the difference. It really is worthwhile.