But are we? How likely is it that the outcome of tomorrow will bring real change? That we’ll be able to look back in six months and see a significant difference (and hopefully improvement) to the last few years under a Tory government? Yes, I’d agree that Cameron has failed on his 2010 election promises but didn’t Labour fail before that? What’s going to change this time?
You might be able to tell that I’m feeling a tad disillusioned this evening. Since my last post on the issue I’ve discovered that, having waxed lyrical about them, I can’t actually vote for the Green Party tomorrow. East Devon is in the 5% of constituencies that doesn’t have a Green candidate. I’m a bit embarrassed actually that I didn’t realise sooner. Our old constituency in mid Devon and the South Hams (where my parents are based) both have Green candidates so I assumed we did too. I hold my hands up, I should have been more proactive much earlier but I just don’t seem to be able to find time to do everything I want and need to right now and unfortunately things that really shouldn’t are falling by the wayside.
So where does this leave me? I have the choice of the big three, an independent and UKIP. In the past I might have voted for the Liberal Democrats but after their total u-turn on tuition fees and their general cowardice during the coalition, they certainly aren’t an option for me. Luckily though, our local independent candidate, Claire Wright, is an attractive option. She is a strong proponent of environmental protection, opposes the bedroom tax and from what I can tell, the privatisation of the NHS, and wants to increase support for small businesses and young people. If I had the choice I’d still vote for a Green candidate, not least so that they had the power of a party behind them, but she’s a pretty decent second option in my opinion.
I briefly looked into tactical voting through voteswap.com in order to try and still support the Green Party but it isn’t viable in my constituency as the incumbent MP, Hugo Swire, has such a stronghold his only real threat is Claire Wright. I’m not sure how I feel about tactical voting anyway, it doesn’t seem right to vote for a party that you don’t really agree with in order to stop one you really don’t agree with. I can see the pragmatic reasoning behind it but it just doesn’t sit right with me. I would rather vote with my heart and have a clear conscience that I’ve exercised my democratic right to the best of my ability.
So all is not lost for me personally but looking at the polls, things aren’t looking particularly promising. Labour and Conservative are pretty much neck-to-neck, it’s going to be a close one. What is looking increasingly unlikely though is the prospect of a significant shake up for British politics. I can only hope for two things, firstly that if Labour do get in (and I think they are the lesser of two evils) that they stick to their promise to stop the privatisation of the NHS and don’t revive their plans regarding monitoring home education. And secondly, and most importantly, that a decent number of Green MP’s are elected, enough to stir things up and make an impact that is felt by us, the people.
So if you’re on the fence, I’d urge you to have a really good think before heading to the polling station tomorrow. I’d love to tell you all to vote Green but that isn’t my place. Instead, just vote with your heart, vote for the party whose vision for our country is closest to your own. Be true to yourself. But more importantly of all, just make sure that you do vote. Get involved with what little democracy we have. Add your voice, your wishes and desires to the mix. Every vote counts.
I’ll see you on the other side…whatever that might hold.