Feature: Concerted effort to raise interest in Euro vote

Efforts increase to get people through the Polling Station doors.
Efforts increase to get people through the Polling Station doors.

A CONCERTED EFFORT is under way to convince voters to ensure they take part in the forthcoming EU Remain or Leave Referendum has been launched.

Every household should by now have a copy of the Electoral Commission voting guide, delivered to every home in the region and throughout Scotland.

Now Moray area counting officer Mark Palmer is urging people to refer to that and ensure that they are registered to vote in time to express their view on June 23.

Mr Palmer said: “Now that voters have received the voting guide from the Electoral Commission we hope they feel confident about taking part in the referendum. Anyone who has not received a copy can view it online at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

“Don’t forget that you won’t be able to have a say if you are not registered to vote by the June 7 deadline, so I would encourage anyone who has not already registered to do so online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.”

Voters who have already registered are being reminded that they do not need to registers again for the referendum. Anyone already registered will have received a poll card.

MSP Urges Remain

Richard Lochhead to raise concerns over Lossiemouth High School
Richard Lochhead – speech followed by appeal to Moray voters.

Meanwhile Moray MSP Richard Lochhead is urging a ‘Remain’ vote, delivering a speech in the Scottish Parliament outlining the benefits to Moray and Scotland of remaining a part of the EU.

Following a vote in Parliament that saw 106 in favour of a Scottish Government motion backing Scotland and the rest of the UK remaining part of the EU, he said: “With less than a month until the polls open for the EU referendum – it is vital that we speak up and speak out about the many ways in which the EU benefits rural Scotland.

“Our rural sector is supported with €4.6 billion of funding through the Common Agricultural Policy – with €3.7 billion worth of payments going to farmers – and with access to a single market of 500 million our food and drink sector has incomparable trading opportunities.

“Tourism plays a vital role in Moray’s economy. Free movement makes it easier for tourists from the rest of the EU to visit Scotland with thousands choosing to come here every year, spending millions of pounds while they’re here. It also provides the opportunity for people with much needed skills to come and contribute to our communities and economy.

“People do have genuine concerns about the European Union and I know from my own experience that it can often take too long to fix damaging regulations and there is a need for decentralisation.

“I won’t for a moment pretend the EU is a perfect institution. But I take the view that the only way to change Europe, and the best way forward for Scotland, is to remain and reform the EU not reject it. That is why I will be voting on 23 June to ensure that Scotland and the UK remain part of the European Union.”

Unique insights good news for ‘Leave’ camp?

While most pollsters place the ‘Remain’ camp as being clear leaders with just over three weeks to go, one analysis of Social Media trends takes a different view – although that, it should be noted, could reflect the greater online campaigning of the ‘Leave’ camp than actually reflecting voter opinion.

The report from Talkwalker, one of Europe’s biggest providers of advanced social analytics, measured hashtags included in Brexit related UK posts on all major sites – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums and blogs.

Across all UK social media, 60.7% of Brexit related conversations and hashtags advocate ‘Leave’ and 39.3% advocate ‘Remain’. The national bias is apparent in every UK region, with, according to the report, 42.7% advocating ‘Remain’ in Scotland against 57.3% advocated ‘Leave’.

Talkwalker CEO Richard Glaesener said: “In the general election, national polls and social analysis lost out when Shy Conservatives held the day.

“Today, national polls favour the ‘Remain; campaign, but grassroots voices in favour of leaving the EU outnumber those advocating leave by a margin of 60% to 40%”.

“Hashtags are the modern advocacy, empowering people to express a gut view. They provide real time analysis of people’s intentions and are taken increasingly seriously by big budget brands trying to understand and influence their consumers’ behaviours.”