European elections 2014: Why you should care about voting

Why should you care about the European elections?
Your vote matters. It actually does. (Picture: Ray Tang/REX)

It’s that day everybody’s been waiting for.

Drum roll, please.

It’s the European elections.

Okay, so it doesn’t seem massively exciting. No one seems to know much about them, no one seems to care, but you should – and here’s why…

Who you vote for actually matters (perish the thought)

Unlike the first-past-the-post voting system we use for general elections, where the party with the highest number of votes wins and a ton of votes are basically wasted, European elections are decided using a form of proportional representation, so the number of MEPs elected from each party represents the overall share of votes the party receives.

European flags fly at the entrance of the EU Commission Berlaymont building in Brussels on May 21,2014. Britain and the Netherlands kick off on May 22, 2014 four-day European elections likely to see major gains for anti-EU parties bent on destroying the European Union from the inside. AFP PHOTO GEORGES GOBETGEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
Decisions made in Brussels will impact our lives at home (Picture: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

How we vote in Europe will have an effect on our daily lives

People tend to feel detached from European law because it concerns things like free trade or agriculture but the European Parliament’s influence over our everyday lives is growing: aside from deciding laws relating to workers’ rights, immigration, the environment and animal welfare, the EU is banning menthol cigarettes and packs of 10, abolishing roaming charges when you we abroad and, er, banning the importation of Indian mangoes. Yeah. That last one seems a bit random.

The European elections will affect the general election 

Protest parties and Eurosceptics are expected to do well in the European elections, which will allow fringe groups on the far right and left to gain a platform on which to build domestically. Don’t want to see even more Nigel Farage over the coming months? Want to see more of the Greens? Then make sure you vote today.

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) talks to media in central London, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Farage's party could be on track to win the biggest share of British votes in elections this week for the European Parliament  a parliament Farage wants to abolish, along with the entire 28-nation EU bloc. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Want to see more of this guy? (Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

This may be one of the most important European elections in recent history 

European elections are usually characterised by lots of protest votes and falling turnout year-on-year. This year, an expected rise in protest votes for Eurosceptics could lead them to prevent Europe from putting in place the reforms that it needs, like fixing the euro zone and promoting free trade, as well as scaring national governments sufficiently to force them to enact Eurosceptic policies of their own.

It’s basically a huge opinion poll

Political parties will look at European votes for clues on what the public thinks of them. Think David Cameron has a face like a plate? Now’s your chance to show it in vote form. Sort of.

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 18:  French far-right Front National (FN) party president Marine Le Pen waves at supporters during a campaign meeting of FN for the European elections on May 18, in Paris, France. The European Parliamentary elections will take place from May 22 to May 25, 2014, during which far right parties are predicted to make significant gains. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
European far-right parties are expected to do well, like the Front National in France (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

You should just stop being lazy

We’re in the EU whether we like it or not, and the decisions that lot in Brussels make impact us as a nation and as individuals. Is it really that much effort to vote?

And remember, no selfies in the voting booths. I mean it. Don’t.

22 May 2014 | 10:59 am – Source:

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