Voting Matters - European Elections

Statement by the Presidents of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region

Dear friends

Voting matters.

On Thursday 22 May 2014, there will be elections to choose those who will represent us as Members of the European Parliament.  We are part of the North West Region of England and will return a total of 8 Members of the European Parliament. (The European Elections coincide with the 2014 local elections in England.)

Some of our media are dismissive about what happens in Europe but it is important in a democratic state that we make the effort to vote.  It is ironic to watch people in countries like Afghanistan voting in huge numbers when people here in the United Kingdom can not be bothered to spare a small amount of time to go to the polling station.

We must remember that the practical impact of a low turnout is that a small number of votes had a big impact on the results. It is the committed who will turn out - often for minority views which we may find unacceptable to our vision of a just, inclusive and tolerant multicultural society.  In 2009, which was the last time that we held European elections, the turnout was very low, with only 19% of eligible people registering a vote which resulted in the BNP gaining more seats despite polling fewer votes.

We urge you to vote, and to watch, to listen and to read about the elections so that you may make an informed decision.  In addition we ask you to encourage members of your church, your friends, your family, your neighbours and those you socialise with to vote.

If you are not already registered to vote you can do so until May 6th.  You can go to your local council offices or download a form on line at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.  The web site gives you your local address to post it to. Please spread this word around. Although it’s getting late to influence the debate, it’s not too late to register to vote.

Yours sincerely,

Rev Phil Jump
Regional Minister, North West Baptist Association

Rev Howard Sharp
Moderator, Mersey Synod of the United Reformed Church

Rev Jim Booth
Chair, Liverpool District of the Methodist Church

Rt Rev Tom Williams
Apostolic Administrator of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool

Rt Rev Richard Blackburn
Bishop of Warrington, Liverpool Diocese of the Church of England

Major Drew McCombe
Divisional Commander, North Western Division of The Salvation Army