I’ve just been down to vote in the MEP elections and have to say it’s a pretty dismal experience. There were no other votors there and not even the habitual exit polls you expect to see at election time. Of the major parties only UKIP bothered to deliver a leaflet so it appears that even the politicians can’t be bothered with encouraging the votors to the polls.
The big question is do you care? Can you even name your MEPs? Does it matter?
The answer is yes, as a business owner it matters a lot. Red tape spews forth from the EU on a daily basis and much of it such as the Consumer Rights Directive requirement to have a non-premium rate phone number comes from Brussels, not from our UK Government.
Which party’s MEPs work hardest for businesses? That’s not an answer I feel qualified to answer, not least because you’re not even voting for a particular MEP – The way the polls work is your votes give parties a certain number of MEP seats and it then appears little more than an old boy’s club to allot seats as favours and thank you’s to those the party wishes to reward with a plumb salary and expense account. You have no say in who gets the seats, just which party gets allocated them and there’s the nub. It’s impersonal which is probably why only about a third of the country bothered to vote last time around.
I remember growing up on the Isle of Wight and for many years Stephen Ross was the Liberal candidate. He was elected four times in a row but on his retirement the Isle of Wight swung from being a Liberal seat to voting Conservative. Residents were voting for the man, not the party and that goes a long way to explaining why people don’t bother to vote in the EU elections.
It matters though, these MEPs may or may not decide on the fate of your business over the coming four years. No one knows which candidates may or may not have an interest in business and fight your corner. No one knows which will represent your interests. You don’t even know which MEP will get your vote regardless of the party you put your cross besides.
The title of this article is “Which MEPs deserve the small business vote?”. I haven’t a clue, do you? Will you be voting and if so which party do you believe will serve business owners the best?