European Parliamentary Elections – How to Vote and Why You Should

In Editor's Blog, Featured, News and Comment

Voter registration deadline: May 7th, 2019

Based on the fact that bartenders are often young, well-travelled, and not arseholes, for the purposes of this article I’m going to make a couple of assumptions. The first is that most members of the UK bar community like the freedom of movement, tariff-free trading, and general comradeship that comes with belonging to the European Union.

The second is that most members of the UK bar community don’t like Nigel Farage, would rather he didn’t have a seat at the European Parliament, and would like to see the current increase of openly expressed right wing sentiment stopped in its tracks.

If you agree with these assumptions, it is important to know about the coming European Parliamentary Elections, and how you can vote in them.

Now that Brexit has been pushed back, perhaps as far as October, it is likely that the UK will still be a member of the EU on May 23rd. If so, UK citizens will be able to vote for the 73 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) that will represent them.

In past years, Brits have not really given much thought to EU elections which is why, despite failing to win a seat in the House of Commons seven times, Nigel Farage was able to become an MEP – not enough people who opposed his racist and isolationist politics bothered to vote in European elections to defeat him.

Right wing groups like UKIP and the English Defence League (EDL) tend to be very good at organising and mobilising their members to action, which makes candidates they support more likely to succeed in elections with low voter turnout. This is how we ended up with Farage as a representative of Britain in the European Parliament.

At this very precarious point in British history, when Brexit’s nature and indeed its very occurrence hang in balance, people who believe in equality and object to the politics of Brexit and Trump cannot afford to be apathetic. Nigel Farage is standing as an MEP candidate once again. If you disagree with him, and all the other right wing candidates, and want their voices removed from the debate, you need to vote against them at every election, including the European Election in May.

Here’s how:

First, you need to register as a UK voter, before the 7th May. This will allow you to vote in local and general elections. Even if you don’t intend to vote in the European election, there will almost certainly be a general election soon, so you should register anyway:

UK voter registration page

Once you have registered as a UK voter, you need to download and fill out a European Election voter form:

European Election Voter Form

You then need to send the completed European Voter Form to your local council by the 7th May . You can find who and where that is here:

Local council address finder

Finally, you need to go and vote on Thursday 23rd May. Your polling station will depend on your local council, which will be made clear when you send in your European Voter Registration form.

There’s no denying this process is a bit of a ball ache – who asks for forms to be sent by post any more? However, if you have ever turned on your TV and said ‘why the fuck is Farage on Question Time again’, then you are exactly the sort of person who needs to vote, because Farage is banking on you being too lazy or apathetic to make the effort to visit that website, print out the form, and buy a stamp.

Bringing this back to the bar community, I have yet to speak to someone who thinks the bar and drinks trade would be better off should the UK leave the EU. A no deal exit would surely spell disaster for small brands that import and export booze and ingredients, and our bar scene would be much diminished if bartenders from Italy, France, Germany, and all the other European nations could no longer freely come to the UK to work.

The Brexit shitshow rolls on, nothing is decided, and with continued pressure, it might not happen at all. The bar industry needs pro-European voices at the negotiating tables, and the best way to make this happen is for the bar community to get out the vote.

Further reading:

European Parliament UK Liaison website 
Current list of MEPs

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