At the last European elections in 2014, just over one-third of eligible voters cast their ballot but the seismic result, which saw Nigel Farage’s Ukip gain victory, set the country on the path towards the Brexit referendum and the continuing fallout from the decision to leave the European Union, which now utterly dominates our politics to the exclusion of almost everything else.
Ukip’s victory in 2014 represented the first time in modern history that neither the Conservatives or Labour had won a British national election – an achievement that Nigel Farage’s newly-formed Brexit Party now looks set to repeat five years later, with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party also on course to beat the nation’s two historically-largest parties this time around in a further sign of how Brexit is upending the political landscape in this country.
While in theory the British MEPs who will be elected following today’s votes may only be in post for a matter of months given the UK is supposed to be exiting the EU with or without a deal at the end of October, the results of these elections will be deeply symbolic and affect the path the country takes on Brexit.
They also bode ill for Prime Minister Theresa May, whose Tories are expected to poll in single percentage figures; an extraordinary position for a party of Government. With MPs on all sides ready to reject her latest attempt at passing her Brexit transition deal, the results of the European election may very well deal a final blow to her embattled Premiership as Leave supporters flock to the Brexit Party while Remainers indicate their ongoing desire for the UK to stay part of the EU by backing the Liberal Democrats and Greens.
Wherever you stand on Brexit, the importance of voting in what in theory will be Britain’s final participation in European elections, should not be lost on anyone today.