SO, off we go to the polling stations yet again next Thursday.

Just three weeks after they packed away those battered old ballot boxes following the Somerset West and Taunton Council and parish elections, they’re having to bring them out all over again.

This time round we’ll be choosing the people we want to represent us in the European Union. Yes, we are still members.

And the winning politicians collecting their Eurostar tickets to Brussels could find themselves out of a job quicker than you can say Jean-Claude Juncker if Brexit actually materialises.

Which begs the question, ‘Why, if we’re actually heading out the door, are we still going ahead with such a costly election?’

The answer is because our politicians have been unable to untangle the complicated leave conditions, so the UK is still a member of the EU, still paying into the kitty and still part of the everyday processes.

The election is unlike the first past the post electoral system we have in this country for all domestic polls - instead there’s what’s called a ‘closed list’ style of proportional representation.

That means the nine political parties fielding a total of 47 candidates vying to represent the South West this time round produce a list of their candidates from top to bottom preference. A total of six seats are up for grabs.

Voters put a cross against the party they want to win on the ballot paper.

All ballot papers from across the South West region, which also includes Gibraltar for political reasons, will then be kept secure until Sunday at 6pm.

That’s when counting will begin, with the results likely to be announced by the regional returning officer at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council at around 10pm.

Seats are then given to the names on the lists in order of preference and dependent on how many votes each party gets.

The UK uses the D’Hondt or Jefferson method to work out how to allocate the seats.

It’s all to do with averages, but don’t expect an explanation here - it’s the political equivalent of cricket’s Duckworth Lewis unintelligible way of choosing a winning team when a limited overs match is cut short.

Most European Union countries will be voting on Sunday week, with only the UK and the Netherlands picking their MEPs on Thursday.

A splattering of nations choosing either the Friday or the Saturday. Over in the Czech Republic they love their elections so much that people are given two days to cast their votes.

And did you know, voting is compulsory in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg? The turnouts in those countries will doubtless put the UK to shame.

More than 400 million people across 28 countries are eligible to vote, more than in the US Presidential election, but nowhere near as many as in India’s polls.

The number of Euro MPs chosen by each country differs, depending on their population, so the UK will be sending 70 politicians across the Channel, while neighbouring Ireland will only have 11.

There will be plenty of empty seats in the European Parliament if our MPs at Westminster finally get their act together and take this country out of the EU. No-one’s holding their breath though.

Here’s a rundown of the South West candidates in next Thursday’s poll, some of them well-known names:

Change UK Party: Rachel Johnson, Jim Godfrey, Oliver Middleton, Matthew Hooberman, Elizabeth-Anne Sewell, Crispin Hunt.

Conservative and Unionist Party: Ashley Fox, James Mustoe, Faye Purbrick, Claire Hiscott, James Taghdissian, Emmeline Owens.

English Democrats: Jenny Knight, Michael Blundell.

Green Party: Molly Scott Cato, Cleo Lake, Carla Denyer, Tom Scott, Martin Dimery, Karen La Borde.

Labour Party: Clare Moody, Andrew Adonis, Jayne Kirkham, Neil Guild, Yvonne Atkinson, Saik Al-Hassan.

Liberal Democrats: Caroline Voaden, Martin Horwood, Stephen Williams, Eleanor Rylance, David Chalmers, Luke Stagnetto.

The Brexit Party: Ann Widdecombe, James Glancy, Christina Jordan, Ann Tara, Roger Lane-Nott, Nicola Darke.

UKIP: Lawrence Webb, Carl Benjamin, Anthony McIntyre, Lester Taylor, Stephen Lee, Alison Sheridan

Independent: Larch Maxey, Mothiur Rahman, Neville Seed.

The lucky six winners can expect monthly pre-tax pay of 8,484 euros, which amounts to an annual gross salary of 101,808 euros.

But that goes down to 6,611 a month after an EU tax and accident insurance contribution are taken out. And UK MEPs also have to pay National Insurance in the this country and the difference between EU and national income tax.

Maybe some of those UK MEPs elected next week will be hoping the country hangs on in there in the EU for a good few months to come so they can continue to pick up their wages.

You can catch up on the South West results at and in your County Gazette newspaper.