EU Elections

The buzz about campus in the past week has been growing daily. Politicians

would love the hysteria induced by the end of exams to be centred around

today’s European Parliamentary elections, alas the vast majority of you reading

this won’t vote today because ‘it has very little impact upon me’ and instead

spend your day basking in the glorious sunshine (fingers crossed) with a post-
exam pint in hand, but there is no reason why you can’t do both.

It seems that MEPs are somewhat removed from our day to day lives and as

such our thought processes. I think I can speak for us all when I say that I have

never considered my MEP an important part of my life. You don’t really see

them popping up on the news as you would your local MP. Even if you don’t see

your MP about, you see posters up around local amenities, or receive invitations

through the door to their surgeries. Their faces are known, MEPs just aren’t. I’m

going to be perfectly honest. I couldn’t name one MEP. I’m not even ashamed to

say it. Their flyers litter our doormats once every five years and after this they

seem to disappear into their little Brussels centred bubble until they need us to

secure their job once again! There is a vast array of parties represented; similarly

gender, race and age all vary from candidate to candidate. But what do they

actually do?

Well first year Modern Studies class outlines of the roles and responsibilities

of a Member of the European Parliament aside, your MEP is basically your

MP but at European level. Basic but true! However unlike the raucous jeering

of national politics as we see exemplified at Prime Minister’s Question time,

European Politicians, although elected from different party backgrounds, form

a sort of alliance to act in the best interests of the country they represent. More

specifically their job is to represent your interests and those of your city or

region in Europe. They do this by listening to people with local and national

concerns, to interest groups and businesses. It has taken me two years of

studying politics to be able to tell you that much!

International bodies such as the European Union are becoming evermore

important vehicles for negotiation and progress in a world which is increasingly

being burdened by global issues such as the environment. All joking aside,

the issues which are discussed by the candidate you elect to Brussels, have an

impact upon your daily life without you even realising. A simple trip to Tesco

is an exhibition of EU decisions. The price of the fish you’re buying for your tea

derives directly from the work of MEPs. The energy efficiency labels plastered

on the lightbulbs are the work of European politicians. Even the breaks allocated

to the checkout assistant who serves you are decided by your MEP. But let’s take

this to the crunch point. The vast array of foreign alcohol in the mighty Beer

Bar has got here as a direct result of British politicians acting at a European

level to secure cross-European trade. Their importance in my life has suddenly

increased!

Like it or not we are a part of Europe. I think Nigel Farrage, the anti-immigration

leader of UKIP who is married to a German woman, and a man who recently

complained about the use of languages other than English on our shores yet

is father to bilingual children proves all by himself that UKIP are not the way

forward for the socially and culturally diverse nation we live in.

All this said you can’t just turn up to vote. If you haven’t registered to vote in

Glasgow or sorted your postal vote then you can continue to lie in the sunshine

but look into registering yourself for the big Independence Referendum vote

in September. However if you have received you polling card, head to the

polling station outlined and get voting. The continuing supplies of Guinness

and Magners in the Beer Bar depends on our part in Europe, and those who

represent us depends on you!

 

Hannah Burgess

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