It’s a while since I have written anything on here. To be honest I have been feeling uninspired – and this may in large part be down to this extraordinarily tedious election campaign which seems to have been going on forever.
Of course it’s disappointing for nature and the environment to have been completely excluded from the political debate – and I’m not alone in thinking that. A poll from YouGov showed Education and the Environment were the topics electors wanted to hear more about from the parties. Even the Green Party has had almost nothing to say about nature. And plenty of commentators and politicians are happy to conflate action on climate change with environmental action, let alone any concern for nature. Why should I be surprised? Nature and the environment are not issues high up on any politician’s priority list, and they will say “the electorate is concerned about the economy, or the NHS or Europe, so we have to say what we will do” blah blah. As if we only want politicians to hold up mirrors to ourselves, rather than provide leadership.
The election appears to be being played amongst the politicians and the media, without any reference to the electorate – and that means that there have been very few genuine policy debates, just a lot of posturing and positioning.
There’s a very good reason for this. As the polls have consistently shown, another hung parliament has been guaranteed for months, so we have been subject to the unedifying performance of the parties appearing to talk to their electors, but in reality signalling like fiddler crabs on a beach, to each other, as to what they would be prepared to do (or not do) to work together. Because of our now thoroughly anachronistic first past the post voting system, the battle has focussed down on a few key marginals, and just a hundred thousand voters will determine the outcome for the other 65 million inhabitants, so all the resources of the parties are concentrated on these pressure points.
It is no real surprise that, apart from in Scotland where PR and the close fought referendum has energised politics, the electorate feels disenfranchised and angry or apathetic; and this in part will lead to a large “protest vote” for UKIP on the right and the Greens on the left, but also could see the lowest turnout in modern election history. Whoever ends up in Government may struggle to persuade the country they have a mandate, though whether they will care about that seems questionable.
Who will I vote for? West Dorset isn’t a real marginal and the campaigning has been very sub fusc. Our MP is Oliver Letwin and he has slowly increased his majority over the past few elections – in 97 it was a very slim 840, in 2010 it was just under 4000. I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I won’t be voting for him, even though he is evidently quite a good constituency MP. The Labour candidate and the Green have both said they support the Rampisham solar farm development, which will make it difficult for me to give either of them my vote, even though I usually vote Green.
That leaves the Lib Dem Ros Kaye who has changed her mind and now objects to the Rampisham development, which is good news. And the Lib Dems are the only party who could unseat Letwin. But then they have been complicit in so many awful policy decisions as part of the last coalition Government – could I really hold my nose, ignore that, and vote on local issues close to my heart? To be honest I am still undecided and I am not alone. Apparently 40% of the electorate have not made up their mind yet.
How will you vote? Will you bother, and what sort of a Government would you like to see at the end?
Photo by Mnolf (Photo taken on Taveuni, Fiji) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons