- date: 14-05-2014
A message from Simon Jackson (LJRC President)
Please Go Out and Vote!
As the Umbrella organisation covering the Leeds Jewish Community, the Leeds Jewish Representative Council thinks it is important to remind you of the upcoming EU elections. We have to assist lobbied local MEPs, prospective candidates and other party member for their views on the EU Manifesto created by the Board of Deputies as they concern our Community. The Board of Deputies has set out below, the background and why we think it is important to use your vote.
Please also see the links to responses received to date from those politicians:
Video Link from Nick Clegg: http://ow.ly/wN9nl
Response from Ed Miliband: More Info>>
Response from David Cameron: More Info>>
Response from Henri Colens: Assistant to Timothy Kirkhope MEP More Info>>
Response from Joe Otten – Lib Dem: More info>>
Response from Edward McMillan-scott: (MEP Vice-President for Human Rights and Democracy) More info>>
A response from Linda Cavan MEP:
"I was pleased to have the recent opportunity to meet members of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council. We discussed a number of issues addressed in the manifesto where the EU's policies can have a positive impact, such as in combating extremism and anti-Semitism and promoting peace in the Middle East. I hope I can continue this dialogue going forward if re-elected."
Please Go Out and Vote!
The 2014 European Parliament Election will take place on 22 May 2014 in the United Kingdom.
These elections matter. The EU makes up to 50% of all laws enacted in the United Kingdom and controls an annual budget of around €150bn (or £125bn).
In these elections, there are concerns that extremist parties could win up to a third of the seats in the European Parliament. In the 2009 elections, an extremist candidate was elected in our own Yorkshire and Humber region. As Jews, we must do our bit to prevent that happening.
But the EU has wider powers and implications than just who is represented. The EU and its policies have a bearing on shechita, antisemitism, post-Holocaust issues and relations with Israel.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has produced a ‘Jewish Manifesto’ for the European Elections, which is a helpful guide to the issues that matter to Jews. The Board of Deputies produced this in consultation with other communal organisations, European Jewish communities and it was then ratified by the Board’s almost 300 Deputies, representing synagogues and Jewish charities across the UK. An electronic copy of the Jewish Manifesto can be accessed by clicking on this link.
Over recent months, the Leeds Jewish Representative Council has been using the Jewish Manifesto to test our local candidates on their views. We will be sending out information on the responses we have received in the days leading up to the election. If you would like to do your own research on the candidates, here is some information that you may find useful:
1)The finalised candidate lists have now been released and can be viewed here: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/european_elections/candidates2014.html
2) The elections take place using a proportional list system, meaning that those named higher on the list are more likely to be elected.
3) Many of those standing are already sitting Members of the European Parliament – and since they have experience they usually appear high up on parties’ election lists.
4) Since these people have been working in Brussels for the last five years, we encourage you to check out their track records and see how aligned they are to the European Jewish Manifesto. Visit this webpage - http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_meps/list-meps-by-region.html - to find out if any of your current MEPs are standing for re-election.
5) If so, visit their page on the European Parliament website (go to http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/search.html?country=GB and search by surname, region or political party) and see what they have been doing.
6) Each MEP’s page contains a list of committees they belong to – click on the orange squares to visit those committees’ pages to look at the MEP’s individual contribution.
7) More interesting, under the heading ‘Parliamentary activities’, a list of all the speeches they have ever made, reports they have ever tabled and questions they have ever asked. You can skim through these to search for anything of relevance to the European Jewish Manifesto.
You can also research this from the opposite direction, by searching the transcripts of all European Parliament debates:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/debates.html - for a keyword (eg. ‘Jewish’, ‘anti-Semitism’, ‘shechita’, ‘Israel’ etc.) and seeing which British MEPs participated in those debates and what their position was. Share anything interesting you find with the Leeds Jewish Representative Council on firstname.lastname@example.org and the Board of Deputies on email@example.com .
In the meantime, the most important messages are these:
- Go out and vote.
- Vote for any party that is not an extremist party.