The election is less than 2 days old, and already I’m p****d off. Too many of the papers (especially) are talking as if this is a two horse race. It really isn’t.
This is the closest UK election in decades, and it really, really doesn’t come down to a fight between blue and red. With the distinct possibility of a hung parliament in play, plus the aftereffects of the expenses scandal and the banking crisis, this time there is everything to play for. Every vote will count, and even the smaller parties are worth considering.
The BBC’s Election 2010 website lists 19 different parties standing for this election, from the Big Three, to the various Nationalist parties (only 1 or 2 of which are racist), 3 green parties and various left- and right- wing alternatives. And these are the serious ones – I notice names such as the Communists, the Liberal Party, the Monster Raving Looney Party and Free Parking Now are missing from the BBC list (all of which I’ve seen on ballot papers in the past).
Who cares? Well, you should. If you are disillusioned by politics and angry at politicians, then do something about it. If you think the Big Three are all the same, and the old guard are corrupt, then vote them out! There are lots of little parties out there who have real beliefs that are really different from the Red, Blue and Yellow. And, you can pretty much guarantee, tht none of their candidates have had their fingers in the trough – because none of them have been in parliament to have the opportunity.
I personally am leaning towards the Green Party. They have real policies on the environment (obviously), but (less obviously) are of a more socialist bent than all of the big three. If you are a traditional Labour voter who can’t abide the creeping privatisation of the NHS, then they might be worth a look. I’m open to convincing, though. One thing that might convince me is a good honest, local, independent. What better than a bloke (or gal) you know and whose hand you’ve shaken. Should one appear (in Brum where I’m voting this year), they will get my strong consideration.
The main thing though, is not to do what I tell you. Or your neighbour. And especially not the Sun or Sky News. The main thing is to look around yourself. Read the manifestos (when they are out). Grill a candidate or two, if you get the opportunity. Make up your own mind, in your own god time. Voting is not a right. It is a privilege, handed down to us by our forefathers, who shed blood that we might have it. Treat your vote with the care and due diligence it deserves.