Election forecasting in Hackney has long been an easy business: rosy with the occasional burst of rainbow has been a reliable bet for decades.
The European elections to be held on 23 May will thus be the most unexpected and uncertain electoral event in decades. We don’t know whether they will be held, whether those chosen will take their seats, or how long they might stay in office, not to mention how the votes might fall.
Many may be wondering whether to vote at all. But it will be an election of firsts and lasts: the first outing for the pro-Remain Change UK party as well as the antithetically-aligned Brexit Party; (probably) the last time we can vote as European citizens, and the last time that citizens of other EU member states can vote in the UK at all.
Moreover, the uncertainty itself makes votes in places like London count as never before; potentially signalling a realignment of our party system, and providing an important clue as to the composition of our next government.
A final argument for voting is that it is a positive contribution to a democratic process where all voices count equally.
You may disagree with some of the options on the ballot, such as Hackney’s own Lance Forman, whose placement on the Brexit Party’s London list has prompted calls to boycott his salmon smokery in Hackney Wick, but he’s got a right to be there like everyone else.
Rather than deploying the negative weapon of boycott, act positively instead by getting yourself to the polling station, bringing your European friends along and thanking them for bearing with us.