The next UK election will be a tough choice for people like me. I earn enough to live on, my child is doing fine at school, my husband is having difficulty getting the NHS treatment but coping, many jobs are being lost in the industries we work for, and we are stuck in inappropriate but mortgaged housing.
Being brought up in a working class family I find voting for David Cameron and his Conservative Party a heinous act. I am very aware of what George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith are enabling to make the poorest and weakest struggle daily. Instead of making the richest pay more towards the country, they employ accountants to help them avoid tax, whilst the poorest, who needs the money the rich can contribute, are wondering where their next meal is coming from. Universal Credit, the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance and the introduction of the “Bedroom Tax” for housing benefit claimants have hit hard. All these measures have been the brainwave of the Conservatives.
The Liberal Democrats had my vote in 2010 because I agreed with most of their policies. This time around though, they have a proven record of being the Conservatives’ stooges. The biggest back pedal was the huge increase in University tuition fees. Whilst the numbers of young people going to Further Education has not gone down since the fees went up, it has led to many post-education with huge debt. As a man, I like Nick Clegg, but they do not have anything that will make my or my family’s life better.
Labour is traditionally the party of the working class but they have a terrible record on the economy. They haven’t offered anything new about the NHS, or justice, or immigration. They have nothing about housing. I wouldn’t trust Ed Balls with the local Bowls Club subs, let alone the country’s finances. Also, no true Red Labour supporter will ever forget what Ed Miliband did to his brother David by stealing his crown. If David had won the leadership I am sure the party would be a different beast today.
Then we have the weirdness of UKIP. They seem to attract the type of person who never admits outright that individuals born abroad should be thrown out but secretly believe it. They have a small point that the UK may be getting full but apart from that, I can only see passive racism. In the past, their members have blamed bad weather on gay marriage and called women “sluts” if they didn’t clean behind the fridge. On the policy of restricting immigration from the EU, people tend to forget that UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage is married to a German.
The Greens have an outside chance of gaining seats in England. But the leader, Natalie Bennett, was caught out on LBC radio recently for poor preparation when explaining how to fund her new Council housing plan. It leads the voter to wonder what else has she not thought through properly. There is another problem, in that Caroline Lucas, a prominent Green and MP for Brighton, is more popular with Green voters than Natalie, which is a formula for disaster, leadership-wise. I like the Greens policies but given the huge debt that the UK needs to repay, I cannot see them as anything but pipe dreams.
I am not the only person to say that there is little choice. Many of my peers and contemporaries say the same. In part, it’s our own fault for not registering to vote in time, or voting at all. The voting system is not effective and needs to be changed to better reflect the thoughts of the voters. Although Russell Brand advocates, “don’t vote, organise”, I think both are needed to change British politics.
Post-election, I think there will be another hung parliament, another coalition, and a further feeling of not being properly represented. I certainly don’t think my vote will make any difference.