bookmark_borderWhat to vote on Thursday

Parties in the European ParliamentForget Westminster!

The election to the European Parliament on Thursday is a very bad opportunity to teach Gordon Brown and the other national politicians a lesson.

It used to be the case that the European Parliament had very little influence, but that’s not the case any more (even if the British media are notoriously bad at reporting what happens there).

Don’t even think about which parties you like best in the UK. The British political parties are members of bigger EU-wide parties, and the MEPs tend to vote with their European party most of the time, not with their national party.

So which parties are represented in the European Parliament?

The 785 MEPs are members of the following parties/groups:

Party MEPs UK members
EPP-ED 284 (Conservatives)
PES 215 Labour
ALDE 103 LibDems
UEN 44
Greens/EFA 42 SNP + PC + Green Party
EUL/NGL 41 Sinn Féin
ID 24 UKIP
Others 32 Kilroy-Silk et al.

So on the whole, there is a one-to-one correspondence between European and UK parties.

However, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are in the same group as the Green Party, so if you’re planning to vote SNP, you might as well vote Green and vice versa.

Also, there is no way to vote for UEN (“Union for Europe of the Nations”), a right-wing nationalist group including parties such as Italy’s Lega Nord, Denmark’s Dansk Folkeparti and Poland’s Law and Justice.

More importantly, the Tories have confirmed they’re going to leave the EPP-ED and try to form a new European group. This means there’s no way for British voters to vote for the centre-right European People’s Party, currently the largest (and arguably most important) party in the European Parliament.

I hope the EPP will adopt a minor British party soon to enable British voters to vote EPP if they so wish.

Personally, I’m going to vote for ALDE, which is a rather nice liberal party, although some of its members are liberal parties quite a bit to the right of the LibDems.

The Greens/EFA also tend to have reasonable opinions, so they would have been my second choice, but the d’Hondt method used for the European elections only allows you to vote for one party.