THE perfect political storm is never usually associated with the European elections. Usually a relatively sedate sectarian headcount, this time we had: (in no political order) the ongoing Daily Telegraph parliamentary expenses scandal; the First Minister’s food bill ruckus; the horrible BBC NI Politics Show DUP/TUV debacle; the TUV ‘TV won’t interview us’ whine; and voter disillusionment.
And, when faced with endless political stories, headlines, informed and misinformed debate what does your average voter do? That would be the “stay away” from the polling stations.
There was much debate about the reasons for the exceptionally low voter turnout locally. Some pointed to fact that there wasn’t the same urgency to vote as in previous elections, the constitutional question having been settled… for the time being. Others pointed to the fact that voters were turned off by the political sleaze associated with the MPs expenses row.
But a more realistic interpretation is there for all to see. The Cowell reality TV generation was locked watching The Apprentice and couldn’t be bothered with reality over reality TV.