Tuesday 4 May 2010

Electile dysfunction

I've voted at every general election since I turned 18 - I believe it's very important to do so, not least because we should cherish democracy and because of the suffrage of those in the past that have secured our right to vote. I also just happen to believe that if you don't vote you lose your right to complain about anything Parliament does, or its effect on us. And that's a lot of stuff. As I've written once before, it's no good moaning about whoever subsequently wins if you don't get down to the polling booth and do your bit. So there you go, a nice easy message for this post: use your vote.

The trouble with this election, though, is that it's the least clear cut in years. Even aside from the fact that the power of television seems to have turned the election into a genuine three-horse race (though lets wait until the votes are counted before we really judge the effect of the televised debates), the ballot box will seldom have been a more confusing place than it will be on Thursday. The problem is this: all the main parties have some policies that make sense... but then they all have some policies that are anathema to me. So which to choose?

Maybe it comes down to which party is the best fit, then? At least that's what I thought... so I tried VoteForPolicies.org.uk, WhoDoIVoteFor.co.uk, Channel 4 News's "which party suits you?" quiz and the BBC's excellent party comparison website to try to help me decide. Do you know what I found? The results are inconclusive - I am a political smorgasbord. Maybe I should start my own party for next time round?

Then there's the question of whether to vote tactically or with my heart: whether to be true to my principles but effectively vote for a hung parliament, or to vote strategically and hope for a clear result nationally, even if I don't end up with the local MP I'd prefer. It's tricky, isn't it?

With two days to go, I haven't decided yet. But I will, and so should you. Then, when you've done your bit, treat yourself to a DVD of Election, one of the funniest films of the last ten years and a perfect political satire.

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