A new campaign has been launched encouraging Poles in the UK to register and vote in the European Parliament elections and local elections.
The 'Vote!' (or 'Glosuj!') campaign is aimed at getting people from the Polish community registered on the electoral lists and participating in the elections in which EU citizens are entitled to vote. These include all elections to local government bodies and to select Members of the European Parliament.
The campaign has been initiated by Professor Zbigniew Pełczyński, a former don at Oxford. It is a non party political endeavour.
The campaign aims at building a strong ethnic constituency integrated with British society which will not only effectively articulate its concerns but also attract the attention of British politicians willing and able to vie for their votes.
The many Poles who came to Britain after their country joined the European Union in 2004 have been integrated into local labour and other markets. However they remain divorced from British politics despite the fact that as EU citizens they have the right to vote in local elections and elections to the European Parliament. Turnout by Polish voters in these election campaigns is low.
This is causing concern among local government leaders who see immigrants from ‘new’ Europe failing to integrate and to use political processes to participate in decision making.
Polish community leaders, meanwhile, are worried that the voice of Poles is not being heard by British politicians. The problem is that a significant group of taxpaying inhabitants of the United Kingdom appears to be divorced from the political system.
The “Vote!” campaign is a grass roots, non-governmental campaign which seeks to unite Poles of all generations.
For further information about the “Vote!” campaign, visit the campaign’s website.