Before you put your cross in the box for the EU election on Thursday 22nd May make sure that you have looked at the ballot paper very carefully and read every entry, otherwise you might just vote for the wrong party.
With the EU elections only a couple of days away many people will have already decided which party they will be voting for. Many people will though, for the first time, be voting for a party that wants independence from the EU.
But there are actually several parties in these elections that have the stated aim of leaving the EU, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) does not have the monopoly on that particular cause.
A full list of all the parties contesting the EU elections can be found on the BBC website here and you will possibly be surprised at the number of anti-EU parties out there.
The problem for UKIP though is that many people who want to vote for them have only heard of Nigel Farage and UKIP. So when they present at the polling station on Thursday they could inadvertently put their cross in the first box with the word ‘independence’ in it that they see. With UKIP at or near the bottom of the ballot paper you can see the problem – albeit a relatively minor one.
There is for example a party run by Mike Nattrass MEP called ‘An Independence from Europe’, which also has an included strap line saying ‘UK Independence Now’. This party will appear at or very near the top of the ballot paper. So you can see how someone just looking for the word ‘independence’ could make a mistake if they actually wanted to vote for UKIP – many may already have done so if they have voted by post.
Some people may prefer the message of another independence party. But the important factor here is, if you really do want to divorce the UK from the EU and that is your overriding wish then you have to ask yourself which of the EU-sceptic parties would be most likely to get the votes enabling it to deliver that outcome. And, given the publicity and profile, there is only one party that can do that, which is UKIP. It is also worth noting that the party’s membership has just broken the 38,000 barrier for the first time.
Some may think that Cameron’s Conservatives can deliver a reformed EU by negotiation. But remember what the word ‘negotiation’ means – give and take. What would David Cameron be forced to (quietly) give away in the process of trying to fulfil the electorate’s wishes of getting some powers back (if he was still around that is)?
All that voting for the other anti-EU or pro-renegotiation parties can do is split the sceptic vote and endanger the very thing they say they are fighting for.
As a voter for independence you can either be a part of the the Nigel Farage People’s Army and the ‘earthquake’ or you can appear as part of the results under ‘other’.
So take your time at the polling station, there is no rush.