This is the view of the editor of the Thurrock Gazette on how the votes panned out in the EU Parliament elections on Thursday 23.5: Brexit Party battering the big boys – editor’s comment. As keen observers of the political scene across Thurrock, there was nothing in the way the votes went that provided any major shocks.

Those who were shocked by the vote share grabbed by the Brexit Party probably should pay more attention to the mood music in Thurrock. Their voters were obviously more motivated that those of the other parties, hence the 17,573 votes that were cast for the Brexit Party. Had the outcome been anything else, that would have been a shock.

What is interesting is the 5,080 votes cast for Labour. As we’ve mentioned previously, Labour’s position on Brexit is somewhat opaque and those splinters from sitting on the fence must be causing some real grief by now! We can only assume that these votes come from a tribal sense of loyalty.

The elephant in the sitting room comes towards the end of the editorial where the turnout of 30.4% is mentioned. Let’s turn that around – 69.06% of the electorate in Thurrock did not take part in the elections for the EU Parliament.

This may have been down to voters not seeing the point of electing MEPs who will only be sitting until 31st October when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, deal or no deal. It could be the case that the more hard line Brexiteers refused on principal to participate in an EU election. Then again, it could be down to people simply being pissed off with all politicians.

It’s probably a mixture of these and other factors that made people decide they didn’t want to vote. The thing is that this is all speculation. If local journalism was properly resourced, we’re pretty certain that reporters would have been out on the high streets looking for those who didn’t vote and asking them why that is. Sadly, with a very few exceptions, this kind of local journalism is on it’s arse…

Sure, the Brexit Party has, as predicted, lobbed a massive spanner into the workings of UK politics. Things will not be the same again. But, when journalists and commentators focus solely on those who voted and in this case, ignore the majority who didn’t, it’s difficult to get an accurate picture of what is going on. So, the conclusion that can be drawn is that things are in a state of flux and as far as we’re concerned, there’s everything to play for.