Today a Danish journalist came to ask me abut the campaign for the British European elections. “What campaign?” I asked him. Expensesgate has so dominated the airwaves that there has been little room for anything else, let alone elections to a legislative assembly that few people care, or even know, much about.
With at least one of the government’s politically-appointed advisers telling me she has begun looking for another job in anticipation of Gordon Brown’s downfall, even most people in politics are focused on the House of Commons, not the European Parliament.
That is a shame, because the European Parliament decides some pretty important things. Since Britain will not leave the EU even under a new Tory government (really, it won’t: so spare your energy), it makes sense to be influential; to be in the mix. In this piece for the Guardian, Gilles Merritt explains why the European legislature matters:
The European Parliament has equal power with European governments in deciding most European Union-wide laws, a power that will cover even further areas if the Irish vote for the Lisbon Treaty. So there is every reason to vote in the European elections.
“The number of seats won by the socialists and centre-right parties is likely to influence the makeup of the next European Commission – and thus the EU’s political agenda until 2014.”