Taking Stock - April 7, 2014

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Have your say

There’s nothing like a good election.

One of the highlights in any journalist’s career is being part of the big night, working into the early hours at the count while careers are made and broken around you.

I’ve done my fair share over the years and they’ve always been exciting.

What’s more I always make sure I cast my vote, in everything but a European election.

There’s been a lot of talk on the issue recently, the ice maybe thawing on the big debate which lay dormant while we all sorted out 
finances out.

A man called Nigel and another man called (Nobody’s With) Nick have been battling it out on the telly – their sword clashing and sabre rattling given a fair bit of exposure by Auntie’s seemingly enormous self publicity 
department.

It’s got to be said that who won the debate and who is right are two very different things.

Mr Farrage (remember to use the Hyacinth Bucket approach to pronunciation) has been declared the undeniable victor over two legs.

But I’m not sure I can agree with him wholeheartedly or for that matter with Mr Clegg who seems braced to single-handedly bear the brunt of the coalition austerity backlash.

I’m fortunate to have seen first hand what goes on inside the European Parliament – I’ve been there twice.

There’s a very nice coffee shop, a fantastic view from the top floor and there are people, lots of people.

I’m not sure what any of them do, other than pack boxes to prepare for the regular move to Strasbourg – the equivalent of our MPs packing up Westminster and bunking off to Doncaster for a couple of weeks.

I went as a europhile. I left still believing the continent has plenty to offer, a lot of which can be found in the wine and cheese aisles of an Intermarche.

Better out than in?

I’m not sure any more.

Just as I don’t feel connected enough to Europe to cast my vote I don’t feel I know enough about the consequences of walking away to make an informed decision.

Have the debates of the last fortnight helped?

Not a jot.