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Turnout will decide today’s election – so vote, vote, vote

23 May 2019 3 minute read
Mark Reckless and Nigel Farage. PjrNews / Alamy Stock Photo. First Minister Mark Drakeford AM. Mark Hawkins / Alamy Stock Photo. Adam Price. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

Ifan Morgan Jones

Today is to all intents and purposes a de facto second referendum on Brexit. Voters have largely broken into two groups – those backing the ‘Remain’ parties and those backing ‘Brexit’.

This is perhaps unfortunate as the members we elect today will have no say on Brexit at Westminster. They will sit in the EU Parliament as members of larger groups that will decide our laws at an EU level.

However, there’s no getting away from the political reality of it – if Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has a greater than expected triumph, it will be seen as the public giving the go-ahead for Brexit.

But if there’s a Remain backlash, as we saw during the English local elections earlier this month, the seeds of doubt will be planted in the minds of politicians at Westminster.

Do the public really still want Brexit after all? Can the whole rather shambolic mess Westminster has made of it be consigned to the dustbin of history?

The big difference however between today and the EU Referendum in 2016 is that turnout will likely be much lower.

Only 35.6% voted in the 2014 European Parliament Election compared to 72.21% at the EU Referendum.

What this means is that the side of the argument which will succeed today is that which turns out to the polls.

This would, I suggest present a particular challenge to Remain supporting parties. We know that the older a person is the more likely they are to support Brexit and the more likely they are to vote.

There is little support for Brexit among the younger generation but if they don’t get to the polling station their opposition will mean little.

What isn’t in doubt is that your vote will count.

This is an all-Wales election which elects four MEPs through a proportional representation method.

You don’t have to worry that the party you support isn’t strong in your constituency. Every vote will count across the nation towards electing the members that will represent us.

The polls in Wales currently put the Brexit Party in first place, Plaid Cymru in second, the Labour party in third and the Liberal Democrats in fourth place.

But this has been a decade littered with political shocks and unexpected results. And with a low turnout election such as this one, anything could happen.

If Brexit Party supporters want it more, they will get it. But there’s no reason at all why energised Remain voters can’t come together and score a big victory in the other direction.

So make sure that you vote. And take your family and friends with you.

It’s all to be won or lost today – over to you, Wales.

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