As Mr Snow himself pointed out, although last night's results demonstrated Labour's current popularity over the Tories, the European elections have traditionally represented a mid-term swing away from the ruling government. Indeed, the BBC's reasonable coverage of the results on the other EU member states showed this to have been the trend in all but one country, Italy, where the government is enjoying a honeymoon period. How could the BBC justify a continued direct comparison with the 1992 general election results?
The low Euro-election turnout also bucks the general election trend. This is something that both new and returning MEPs must address over the next five years. In its ever-increasing thirst for new powers, the European Parliament must concentrate on putting more time, money and energy into marketing itself in the member states at a level above that of the single partisan MEP. It is little wonder that turnouts of 30 per cent or below are to be expected if the parliament, as an institution, only gives itself a short blast of exposure in the four weeks before an election.
STEPHEN M. KEHOE
13 JuneReuse content