Why we should have voted and why it may now be too late
At the last general election UKIP garnered 12.6% of the vote in the United Kingdom. This represented a significant proportion of the population mainly from the South of England to the Midlands. It also meant that a party previously viewed as marginal, could claim some credibility and more importantly valuable media representation.
However, they were able to rise to this position by our apathetic attitude to our own democracy. Whilst things were ticking along nicely, not that many of us bothered voting in either a general election or more significantly in the European Parliamentary elections. In 2014 only 35.6% of the UK population bothered to vote in the European Parliamentary elections where UKIP secured 27.49% of this vote and 11 extra MEPs taking its total to 24. UKIP were able to mobilise those sections of the electorate who have been moaning about the EU for years, to vote. In fact, 77.2% of those who bothered to vote were UKIP supporters.
Despite what is commonly believed, the European Parliamentary elections are more democratic as they use proportional representation. UKIP have been able to rise to their present level of influence, from their roots in the south of England, because they exploited a flaw in our democracy. The simple flaw being that we don’t always bother to vote. They could gain a stronghold in the European Parliament and therefore present themselves as a mainstream viable alternative to the British electorate using this flaw. Whilst in the UK Parliament they currently only have 1 seat, they have moved from being an outside marginal party to a party that threatens the mainstream parties because they have been overly represented in Europe for years by our failure to vote.
If we had all bothered to vote in the European Parliamentary elections, they would have stayed on the margins.