The Road to May 6

The long weekend is over but it doesn’t quite feel like a ‘back to work’ sensation yet. A pleasant weekend was had but the weather wasn’t terribly clement – no matter – a few days off work can never be a bad thing..

And we have the news that an election is going to be called this morning. Gordon Brown will meet with the Queen this morning and ask her to dissolve Parliament. To say it was expected is an understatement but I’ve always rather enjoyed the build ups to the General Elections. I missed one when I was living overseas but generally, I like to take an interest. I’m rather glad we have a set four week period for electioneering though – sometimes it seems to drag a lot in the United States where there are fixed terms.

The alternatives all seem a little drab at the present. I’m pretty sure I know which way I will vote. I’m also pretty sure it won’t make a blind bit of difference in the constituency in which I live – which is a very safe seat. I am, as always, determined to vote even though the vote might seem to be ‘wasted’ as at least it will figure in national statistics and the like – and with London local elections on the same day (although I suspect they are fairly safe in my ward as well) there is more possibility of a move on that basis.

For me, it seems that the certainty of a Labour defeat is far shakier than it was. I can’t help but feel bitter towards the government (Ed Balls, I’m talking to you!) and their abandonment of what I would have termed Labour principles. Working from inside the public sector, in an agency which has been a political football – I wonder if some of the damage that has been done will ever be able to be undone. Hard decisions haven’t been made when they should and could have and there has been too much pandering to the mob mentality. Targets, targets and more targets have been crippling at work. And there are very real effects on the day to day life of people who should be served and protected by public services.

For all of Labour’s disappointments, I find it much harder to stomach the Conservatives at the moment. Not least because they have presented themselves as a train wreck party without a clue about how to actually appeal sensible policies (obviously this is my opinion – many people would view their policies as sensible) but also because they did far more damage in their last incumbency although that was so long ago now… I will watch them with interest though – see if there is any room for surprises although I’m more than a little sceptical.

That leaves the Liberal Democrats (I  have voted Green in the past but never in a General Election, I have no time for UKIP whatsoever). They certainly feel the most akin to some of my own thoughts and ideas naturally but it’s easier to  make these statements if one is the smaller ‘third’ party without a chance of governing. I have to say I haven’t followed them too closely but that’s something I can remedy.

As I have done at each election (save one) since my eighteenth birthday (I was very much more interested in politics with a large ‘P’ in my youth!) I’ll secure myself a manifesto of the three largest parties and try and provide some of my thoughts as the week goes on – particularly in relation to social care and social policy –  but also covering other areas of interest.

Although looking at an election through the glasses as someone who works in a sector that is completely dependent on ever-changing boundaries and government initiatives and reliant on generally held paradigms of social policy, it will make for interesting comment nonetheless.

This will be campaigning about cuts and money-saving. Reducing deficits and chopping down the ‘public sector’, but I wonder if there will be any room for hope and expectancy among the policies mooted – any room for creativity and difference.

I approach this election less sure than I have been for a long while as to whom I will vote for. I also have more questions about policies and particulars than I might have had previously – the Labour Party has a lot of explaining to do about the last five years in particular – in my view and I want to be convinced and feel like a vote is a positive choice rather than an elimination of the negatives.

And so the starting whistle is blown. Let’s see where it takes us..

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3 thoughts on “The Road to May 6

  1. I live in a very strong Tory area, although boundary changes for this election mean that I have been moved from an area where nobody except Tory has ever won the seat, to somewhere where Tory usually win but there have been exceptions…. To be honest I don’t really want any of the 3 major parties ruling the country. I don’t like any of them. I think Labour have had enough years to show what they can do, and ballsed up basically. I don’t really like the Tories, and the current Tory MP in the constituency we have been moved into seems particularly vile, and has voted the opposite way to how I would on most parliament votes in the last few years. Lib Dem are too Eurocentric for me, and I think Nick Clegg is crap. Wouldn’t consider UKIP. I like the Greens. But they have no chance of getting anywhere, which makes me feel like I am throwing away my vote. I am suspecting it will end up being a hung parliament and we will have to go through all of this again within the next year….

  2. Unfortunately I live in a constituency where there’s a chance I will have to vote tactically in order to keep the BNP out.
    I do wonder though how voting will go in a situation where the institution of parliament itself has lost so much credibility, the parties themselves have lost trust in terms of actually doing the things they promise, many of those promises are anyway cast in terms of increasing legal constraints on people and demands for public sector targets (as you say), and perhaps also a sense that none of the candidates actually standing for election are people voters might actually want to vote for. It’s going to be interesting for everyone, I think.

  3. I share a lot of your feelings about the election. I think it’ll be interesting to observe – especially if there’s a chance of a hung parliament..

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