On 4 June voters in Northern Ireland will get a chance to vote for their three MEPs – Members of the European Parliament. The elected few will enjoy five years of committee work and Plenaries dealing with the minutiae of EU affairs. So, of course, the criteria on which they should be elected should include their positions on the key areas of EU competences.
But, no … apparently one of the candidates, Jim Allister, thinks that people should vote for him to be their MEP in order "to give their verdict on the "obscenity of terrorists in government"." Does he mean 'terrorists' in the European Commission (the only government the European Parliament has any say over)? No, apparently he means Stormont!
"If the people in this province think it is marvellous to have Martin McGuinness as their joint first minister then I'm not their man," he said.
"If they think it is fantastic that Sinn Fein has been able to reduce education to an absolute shambles then they'll want to thank those who gifted them that office. If they think it is acceptable that south Armagh IRA can murder Paul Quinn and their Sinn Fein can continue in government then they will not be voting TUV but if all those things abhor them then I am their man."
So there you have it. A candidate for the European Parliament thinks that the role of an MEP has nothing to do with European affairs, and everything to do with petty Northern Irish politics. Allister insults his electorate by telling them that voting for him can or will have any effect on Northern Irish politics, when it manifestly does not. Does he not know what election this is? It is not an Assembly election, where such statements, predictably extreme as they are, might make some sense. It is a European election, where the voters should expect a sitting MEP to stand on the basis of European issues of relevance in Northern Ireland.
Any voter who is actually interested in European affairs should not vote for Allister, because he clearly has no real interest in Europe.