Not voting with their feet


On May 23, you will if you choose be voting again – this time for European Members of Parliament – who may never take up their seats. And, if you have a postal vote, you will be voting even sooner. But how many of you will actually vote?

A week ago we were getting the results of the elections to Rother District Council (RDC), Rye Town Council, and a few contested parish seats. And the result was no single party ended up in overall control of the RDC. Conservative seats were lost and the main winners were Independents and Liberal Democrats (not Labour) – and the big issue in Bexhill was about getting a town council.

However the main winner was probably apathy. People could not be bothered to vote. Comparisons with the last election in 2015 are difficult sometimes because of ward boundary changes since then, but there is one clear pattern.

The leave campaign active in Hastings

In those wards which had the largest proportion of voters voting in 2015, turnout this year was down by around a third. But in wards with the lowest turnouts in 2015, turnout this time was down by around a half. And turnout in European elections has often been low anyway because voting is regional – in our case, the South East region – and there is proportional representation.

So if you get half the total vote you get half of the 10 Euro-MPs representing the South East and each party has a list of candidates which they (not you) rank in order of preference. Therefore local issues and local personalities are much less important, and the emphasis is on each party – and its top level policies.

So, for example, the new Brexit Party’s South East list of 10 is headed by Nigel Farage and even if it got only 10% of the total vote, he could be heading back to the European Parliament – if we stay in Europe.

Hastings centre – European movement invites opinions

There are nine parties to choose from:
* Change UK – the Independent Group
* the Conservatives
* the Greens
* Labour
* Liberal Democrats
* Brexit
* The Socialist Party of Great Britain
* The UK European Union Party (with only two candidates)
* and three Independent candidates (with no party affiliation)

The current government, and those parties currently with Members in the UK parliament, may decide on how to deliver Brexit – or not – taking account of how you vote or, maybe, taking account of whether you do not vote (though that seems less likely).

Exactly how each party will choose to define its position (and how the media then represents it) remains to be seen over the next 13 days, though all will want your support – and apathy on the part of the voters may not be helpful in clarifying the current situation. For basic information, visit Current elections on the Rother website. Details of the individual parties and candidates are here.

Image Credits: Rye News library , Heidi Foster .

Previous articleRML 526
Next articleHumble Boy on stage


  1. Isn’t the comparison with the 2015 local elections invalid? The 2015 vote coincided with a general election on the same day, which hugely inflated the turn-out for the always much less popular local polls! Better to go back to 2011 when no such ‘benefit’ accrued! That saw a 48.2% turn-out across Rother, which the returning officer at the time described as ‘exceptionally good’. Therefore, a freakish figure in 2011, but perhaps in comparison turn out was down a little this year. But ‘apathy’? In many cases not voting has been an active decision!

  2. I believe more then ever people will be voting with there feet reason being all over the country people are sick and tired listening to our so called politicians for the 3 years now and where have they got us nowhere’s there’s a huge change coming this Thursday remainers be afraid the brexit leavers will be on the rampage

  3. We’ve moved on. Yesterday I received my voting card for the election of Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. I placed a cross against Boris as I believe he is the best able to take us out of the EU by October 31, bring the country back together, and subsequently win the next GE.

  4. Michael Smith, do you honestly think that Boris will bring the country back together? Laughable! A man who’ll say anything to get into power. He’s history and part of the Old Etonian club of rich, privileged Tories who haven’t got a clue about normal people or small businesses.
    He’ll take us to a ‘no deal’ and take this country back 50 years.

  5. Well said Michael I too believe Boris Johnson can lead us out of the EU when he becomes PM you will see many big Tory names disappear.
    And with a little help from the new brexit party the country as you say will bring the country back together.

    Oh and Steve going back 50 years yes please a proper Labour Party.
    No stupid health and safety rules, no snowflakes, none if any knife crime.
    No red tape. Children played outside. No mobile phones as we know it now
    I could go on and on.
    We wasn’t even in the common market 50 years ago but we got by.
    Also proper music you could understand a song like we’ve gotta get out of this place a 1965 hit sums up the situation they could use the song for the Brexit party.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here