We've had wall to wall Brexit across the whole of the mass media as well as vast swathes of social media, coupled with a massive hype up to these rushed EU elections – and we can only manage a 40% turnout in the South West region?


After all the build up to EU election day, you would think that voters would be keen to get involved and make their views known through the ballot box.

But I now have the detailed turnout figures for the South West Region including Gibraltar and out of the 4,143,726 eligible voters, only 1,678,619 bothered to vote. That's a turnout of 40.51%. Including postal voters.

For the South West that is only an increase of three percent on the 37% we had in 2014.

And I have little reason to think that turnouts across the UK have been any different.

You can see from this graph that turnouts have been lower in the past, but surely this time people would make the effort? But no!

UK EU Election Turnout to 2019

UK EU Election Turnout to 2019

So, after three years of Brexit we can only increase voter turnout by a measly three to five percent in an EU election from the total UK turnout of 35.6% seen in 2014.

Even in Gibraltar, that voted so heavily to Remain by 96% or so on a turnout of 84%, could not even manage half that with only 39.8% last Thursday.

The highest turnout in the South West was the Isles of Scilly with 55.39%.

Whereas the lowest was Plymouth City with a 34.89% turnout.

Now, much will be made of the results with arguments about the total numbers of seats and votes on each side of the Leave / Remain debate.

And the ones in the lead will try to portray it as some sort of second referendum on the issue.

But in reality that would be a nonsense given the size of this turnout. And it will be difficult to split the Tory and Labour votes into leave and remain camps anyway.

But all that aside, what does this say about true public involvement in UK politics, or should I say EU politics, today?

We give the EU huge amounts of money and allow it to make laws that control every facet of our lives as well as dictate how we operate our borders, but we are not engaged enough to feel it worth voting in the European elections? After all the near hysterical hype and project fear?

So what's the reason. That everyone's changed their minds and want to stay in the EU? Obviously not.

That everyone wants to assert their 2016 vote to leave the EU? Obviously not!

That people feel so disenfranchised from the political system that they feel kit's a waste of time – much more likely.

That they feel the UK should have left or will be leaving the EU, so didn't vote? Once again much more likely.

Or how about the inability to sell the EU ideal to the nation?

This EU issue has vexed the nation for years and it has broken yet another Prime Minister, while almost destroying the Tory party completely.

It has seen the meteoric rise of The Brexit Party under a refreshed and politically laundered Nigel Farage.

So why are only four in ten eligible voters bothering to engage.



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