European elections: parties make final appeal to swing voters
The twittersphere is alive with activity this morning as the major parties clamour for floating votes.
Today marks the start of the European elections, when UK voters get to decide on the designation of 73 seats in the European Parliament – the EU’s only directly elected body.
Local council election results, which run alongside, will be revealed on Friday. European election results will be announced late on Sunday. A total of 751 MEPs will be elected in the European elections, with the EU’s 27 member states voting over the next four days.
Party members are making last-ditch attempts to win ‘swing voters’- those who are still unsure of which party is right for them.
UKIP have trash talked David Cameron, focusing on the recent revelations of extortionate salaries given to EU officials. Leaked EU documents have shown that 10,000 EU officials are paid more than David Cameron, showing that the Conservative EU reform agenda is “not working”.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage believes the only way to save the UK’s money and democracy is to “leave the EU”. The party have pledged an immediate referendum if they get into power after the 2015 general election.
Farage has condemned George Osborne’s support for EU membership, and accused the government of holding back “Britain’s economic potential”.
Meanwhile, Labour are appealing to people affected by the ‘cost of living’ crisis, targeting those who expect a radical change if the party get into power at the next general election. They ask their prospective supporters, “do you feel that the country we live in is working for you? If it’s not, you know what you need to do”.
The party are pledging to tackle the housing crisis by building 200,000 new homes a year until 2020, and to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017. They would ban exploitive zero-hour contracts and cut income tax through a lower 10p starting tax rate. Party leader Ed Miliband claims that Cameron has left hundreds of thousands of young people unemployed. “The Tories are failing a generation”, he added.
Labour have conceded that UKIP will most likely outperform them in the European elections, but senior officials do not believe the result will be indicative of the general election next year. They believe many will split their vote between UKIP for the European elections, and Labour for the local council.
The Conservative Party claim they are the only party able to deliver an in-out referendum for Europe in 2017, stating that “Labour and the Lib Dems won’t give you a say, UKIP can’t give you a say - only the Conservatives can and will give you a referendum on Europe”.
The Liberal Democrats are taking a ‘protest free’ approach, hoping voters will choose them on their principals and policies, and not their ability to make the headlines. The party claim that EU membership means the UK is “stronger, safer, and greener”, as well as having more citizens “in work”.
The party claims to be the only one standing up to UKIP, and they pledge to reform the EU to meet British needs.
The British National Party (BNP) has taken to twitter to sway last minute voters. Their tactics appear to be less about policy and more about recent, emotive news headlines. Party leader Nick Griffin has stated: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”.
Lastly, the Green Party are also active on twitter, claiming that a vote for them is a vote for a “fairer, more sustainable future”. The party are set to inherit voters who have been disillusioned over the Lib Dem coalition with the Conservatives, but are looking for a party with similar ideas.
The party claim to be the only one taking on UKIP by directly opposing them on immigration and the UK’s membership in Europe. The party are confident of gaining more MEP seats than council seats. The party state they are the “real alternative to the political establishment”.
Images courtesy of Chatham House, The Prime Minister's Office, European Parliament, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Twitter.
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