Take time to vote in Euro elections, says MP Alistair Burt

Alistair Burt MP
Alistair Burt MP

I would not have spent so many years in politics if I was not keen on voting. I like the process.

Being able secretly to fill in a ballot paper, either by post or in person, and making my choice in a democracy is something precious which my past few years in the Foreign Office has reminded me of on many occasions.

If you don’t fancy our democracy much, I have a short list of places you might like to compare us with.

The European elections are upon us. And while I can have an opinion about how I would like you to vote, I am even more keen that you vote in the first place. They seem to be the easiest elections either to forget or not bother with. Please do what you can to avoid either thought.

The EU elections, whatever you may think of the institution, still matter. The EU Parliament deals with regional economic development, including support to businesses here in Bedfordshire.

It makes laws on the environment, consumer rights, workers rights and international trade. Over recent years it has tried to help the citizens of each state in the EU on issues such as air traffic liberalisation – which brings prices down on roaming charges for our mobile phones – and broken up trusts and cartels in business, for our benefit.

It has to approve the spending of an EU budget. This is not as vast as some make out – running the EU costs the average citizen less than the price of half a cup of coffee a day, but making sure it is spent on the things you want is the job of your MEPs.

Just as no government ever gets everything right, the same is true of the EU.

But elections to ensure you get your say and that whatever we want, from the powers we give our elected members and Parliaments, has a sporting chance to happen are still really important.

So do give the parties a hearing. Do read the material sent to you or go online.

Contact your candidates, or me, to seek clarifications, but as always remember those with no votes and no voices in our world and vote, if for nothing else, for them.