THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: How well have the European elections been publicised?

Britain voted for the European Parliament under a proportional system for the first time

Britain voted for the European Parliament under a proportional

system for the first time

Stephen Woodward

Britain in Europe

’The Government’s done more than others had during previous European

elections, but more effort is needed to explain to people the growing

importance of the European Parliament. I don’t believe people understand

how the parliament has changed, especially since the whole commission

resigned. In the 1970s, it was a talking shop and now it’s a very

powerful institution.’

Gill Brown

Band and Brown

’So far the election PR has been a bit of a joke. Most of the exposure

has either been about the predicted low turn-out - which is likely to

lead to a self-fulfiling prophecy - or the length of the polling


I know the Government’s had to compete with the Balkans and Sophie

stories, but I think the PR machine could have been better oiled. The

trouble is that people are still not tuned into Europe.’

Ian Wright

Boots the Chemist

’We don’t have a culture of publicising elections in this country, and

there is definite election fatigue. But the two main political parties

have actually connived to downplay the elections. Labour will do well

unless the issue of the Euro becomes a huge concern and the Tories share

in that. Tony Blair is so dominant in British politics that his absence

from the debate because of the Kosovo war makes it hard for the European

elections to get airspace.’

Edward Bickham

Hill and Knowlton

’There’s been a Home Office leaflet through every door, but that was a

lost opportunity because it only describes how the new electoral system

works and doesn’t tell people what the role of the European parliament

is. As far as the media is concerned, the political correspondents’ view

of the world rotates around Westminster and its importance, so there is

a desire to look at the elections through the prism of British


Jane Hurley


’I’m not aware who my candidate is and I didn’t know the constituency

boundaries had been changed, and that’s not through complacency on my

part. No-one has been canvassing. The publicity about Europe seems to

have arisen due to arguments in the Conservative Party rather than the

key issues.’

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