Cast your vote…

I’m sure there’s some unwritten rule of blogging somewhere that says, ‘don’t mention politics.’ Tell the truth, I’m not much of a political animal, feeling sometimes that policies and manifesto’s are so far removed from the day to day realities they are trying to tackle and more recently becoming more and more disillusioned as a frontline member of the NHS. For the first time however, I’m really undecided on how my vote will be cast and I wondered what you were all thinking*.

Front and centre of my thoughts and mind is of course the NHS. The Conservative government has brought the NHS, particularly General Practice, to its knees during this government, and morale hasn’t been lower, nor workloads higher, in decades. However, the economy seems to have been a triumph for the Tories and do I trust labour or The Lib Dems with the NHS either? Personally, I think they all want to dismantle the NHS and Labour and the Lib Dems are just keeping quiet about it. So should I vote for the best for the NHS or take everything into account, even if it’s not great for my personal career situation?

It feels tactical voting this time too. I don’t want to see another coalition. Voting for the ‘wrong’ party might mean UKIP take more seats. On a personal level, I cannot stand Ed Miliband. Should it be about ‘liking’ a possible future PM? I feel like they are all so coached, smooth and trained, that a gut feeling on personality and morals might be the only way to decide.

I’d love to hear a bit of Election chat from you this Monday morning. Perhaps the issues that are most pertinent to you and influencing your vote as the NHS influences mine? Feel free to disclose who you are voting for but it’s not at all required!


*I appreciate this can be a sensitive and personal issue. Please feel free to comment anonymously – just check your browser doesn’t autofill your details when you comment and remember if you have a Gawker picture it’s linked to your email not your name. :)

29 thoughts on “Cast your vote…

  1. I think it’s particularly tough because it’s impossible to know which bits of reporting reflect the truth. I found the Voting for policies website really helpful to get a better understanding of the various parties.
    Whilst I think there is the odd good thing that this government have done well, I think the economy thing is a bit of a smokescreen and trying to reduce the deficit quickly should not come at the cost of closing swathes of children’s centres for just one example of what’s happening out there. For me it is Green or Labour, still not to be fully trusted, but a better fit with my own values.

    • That’s an interesting point re the smokescreen. I think the issue of the economy is definitely something the Tories are using to blow their own trumpet and perhaps deflect away from other niggling issues the electorate want answering.

  2. Hi Rebecca
    I know what you mean about the personalities. A friend signposted me to this and me and my other half have both found it useful in looking blindly at what the parties say they will do. Unfortunately it still leaves the problem of whether they stick to the manifesto once in government (hello, Tory “No top down reorganisation of the NHS” in 2010).
    Best wishes

  3. It’s never been such a tricky decision for me and I think a lot of people feel that way. The NHS, education and the economy are my main concerns. I’ve always voted left of centre but, like you, I’ve no time for Ed Miliband and not for my local Labour candidate either (previous MP with poor track record). Current Tory MP actually seems to have done a good job and is very accessible but I have never, and never thought I would, vote that way. I disappear at the what the government have done to the NHS and education.

    I got quite excited about the Labour party’s plan to ensure wrap around care (before and after school clubs) for every primary school aged child but I can’t vote for just one policy (and who knows whether they will stick with it).

    Feels like I should vote tactictally for one of the top two to avoid a coalition or letting unwelcome minority parties gain ground. When I take the ‘vote for policies’ tests I get Green or Lib Dem.

    Who knows?????

    • Also it was a very tight contest in my constituency last time, with the Tory guy narrowly beating the Labour MP who had held her seat for 13 years. Another reason why I feel I should vote for one of the top 2 parties.

  4. If you’re worried about the NHS then the Tories are the last party you should be voting for, in my opinion. (Well, actually, maybe UKIP hold that honour!) While Labour are far from perfect, providing free to access health care is at the heart of what they stand for – with a Tory government you can be sure that privatisation is inevitable, sooner or later.

    Whilst the economy is undoubtedly stronger than it was, I think the important question is – at what cost? The poorest people in the UK are worse off and the rich are richer, and the social aspects of our government and constitution – things we have always had a right to be proud of – have been steadily dismantled in the name of the economy, while tax avoiders at the upper end have been able to continue to get away with avoiding paying millions and millions of pounds back into our society.

    In addition, the education policies of the Tories are awful. Our children, under the Tories, can look forward to being tested throughout their primary school years, and if they “fail” a times table test at 10/11 then they’ll have to resit it. How is that good education or fair? Our education system should be built on supporting and helping children, equipping them with the beat skills of life, but understanding that they all learn differently and not heaping the pressure on them at such a young age.

    Anyway, I will get off my soap box now as I could go on and on and I’m not doing it eloquently enough as it is!

    • I agree with absolutely everything Emma has said so thought I’d save myself the time of writing it all down and just say Yes to all of the above!
      I’ll be voting Labour both locally and nationally. I’d only add that I feel so sad that Ed Miliband is being judged so very harshly. I actually think he’s alright and he and his family have behaved pretty admirably in the face of some horrific personal abuse from the tabloids, in particular the Daily Fail. Nevertheless, for me it’s policies that are more important than personality.

  5. I’m Labour at heart and always will be but now I live in an area (Oxford) where they have no presence at all so will have to vote tactically – in 2010 the Tories only very narrowly beat Lib Dem. It’s a rubbish situation though as by not voting Labour this time the situation will only be perpetuated.

    In contrast to the comments above I find Miliband to be a complete sexpot and have been thrilled with all the Milifandom attention he’s been receiving!

    • You need to move to Oxford East, Sophie, then you could have Andrew Smith as your MP!
      I’ll be voting Labour, I think, for this reason:

      Andrew said: “Many people in Oxford are facing a cost of living crisis and are struggling with housing costs, with the average cost of a house approaching £400,000, and comparison between rents and wages making Oxford one of the least affordable cities outside London. By getting Britain building again a Labour Government will help tackle ever-spiralling private rents and will make home ownership an achievable dream once more for those that are currently priced out.”

      “It is essential that if Labour wins the next election, it allows Oxford to expand and build the homes that local people need to live in.”

  6. I’m not so sure that the economy has been such a success for the Coalition government. I think that depends what your personal circumstances and beliefs are (about if cuts should be made, and if so, who bears the brunt) – and which news you read!

    It’s a difficult decision, where to put your X on Election Day, but to paraphrase Michael Sheen, for god’s sake, vote for something (check out his speech on You Tube – amazing, Sheen for PM!). The fewer people vote, the less the government reflects what we want, and the less accountable our politicians have to be.

    Use the online tools to find the policies which agree with what’s important to you and vote for that party. Why does it matter how a person speaks or looks or how likeable you think they are? The policies matter.

    But just please don’t vote for UKIP. They are a disgrace to our country – the BNP in tweeds.

    • Thats very true, the cuts have been harsh, but I believe something had to give and if I weren’t complaining about the NHS (as an example) somebody else would be complaining about the loss of something else that affects them.

      My personal circumstances don’t feel any richer, but you can feel all around that people are better off, even if they don’t ‘feel’ it.
      Interestingly as a GP we see and feel the economic climate keenly. Depression rises when people lose their jobs and houses or are just worse off financially, and we do less insurance reports and medicals when people aren’t buying houses and life insurance etc. Things are definitely improving.

  7. Hi Rebecca

    I’m a journalist and my other half is a political pollster (he’s the one behind all the polls telling you who’s ahead on a week by week basis) and in a very uncertain race, one thing we can be pretty sure of is that there WILL be a coalition of some form. None of the parties have a hope of an outright majority, particularly seen as the SNP are going to wipe out much of the Labour presence in Scotland. So it’s really a case of which coalition situation you’d find preferable – Labour/SNP, Tory/Lib Dem or Labour/Lib Dem. Or one big party bolstered by a few of the smaller ones like the Greens.

    Fundamentallyy, I believe in the welfare state and I think Labour is the only hope of preserving it in some form. But as a preggo lady struggling with the cost of living in London, I also find myself swayed by any policy that helps working mums and affordable housing. The thing is that as soon as one party makes any new policy concerning either of those, the other one adopts it anyway! So I’ll vote with my heart. :)

  8. As a postal voter, I voted on Saturday. And I voted Labour.

    I’ve always vote LibDem, but I’m in a safe Conservative seat and am voting tactically. I would never vote Tory. Realistically the LibDems are unlikely to get more votes, so Labour is the only option.

    The destruction of the NHS and increased poverty in the UK as a result of the current government is very worrying. While none of us want to pay more tax, I would happily pay a bit more so that those in financial difficulties can have a bit more support. I’m not a huge fan of Ed Milliband, but I think the UK would be fairer without a Conservative government. I am hoping for a coalition government as I think it provides more balance.

  9. Such an interesting topic, although all the press and negative campaigning are beginning to weigh on me a little. I’m also a front line NHS worker, and the idea of another Tory government scares the wits out of me. Worst case scenario for me would be a UKIP /conservative coalition(shudder). Being in Scotland though I have the option to vote SNP and I’m swithering between them and labour.. I don’t want Scotland to be independant, but feel a strong left wing party such as the SNP in a coalition would be a really good thing for the whole of the UK.
    Lots of people seem to dislike Ed Milliband, but he’s really grown on me throughout the campaigning. I’d be really interested to hear why those that don’t like him feel that way, is it something specific? Do you feel you know enough about him to make that judgement?.

    • @JoW – The Ed Milliband question
      I’m sure he is a perfectly nice person but, for me, he just doesn’t seem to have that confidence that I’d expect from a leader. Seems a bit “think-tanky” (I’m a chemist by trade, so I wouldn’t say “geeky” as some of the press do – wish they wouldn’t either) and like he’s been taught a lot of the “right” lines to sat.
      That all said he us an improvement on Cameron who I can’t stand, and Clegg, who I think has been trampled on in the coalition government sadly. Hopefully others will learn from what I think will be a bit of a bloodbath for the LibDems.

      • PS
        No, I probably don’t know enough about Ed to say that, but as someone who reads the broadsheets and listens to the news regularly, if I don’t I’m not sure many people do.

        • Just reread my post and think it sounded a bit aggressive when I really didn’t mean it too.
          I know what you mean about Ed seeming a bit rehearsed, but I think he’s really improved.
          Just watching Nicola sturgeon – I think she rocks.

          • For me, it keeps coming back to my belief that his brother would have been a much more credible leader. David’s move to the US is such a loss for British politics. I think that Ed put personal ambition before what was best for the party.

            However, party members I know all say that Ed comes across much better in real life.

          • Don’t worry @JoW I think this is something you should be passionate about! Agree Nicola Sturgeon has done a brilliant job – envious of all the Scots who can vote for her (much better than Alex Salmon too!)

  10. Hi – First up I’m a labour city councillor – so obviously I am going to be bias. I wanted to comment on your thoughts that you feel Labour secretly want to dismantle the NHS – I can categorically state – having campaighed with Andy Burham in a number of occasions, that this is not the case. The NHS is one of Labour most precious legacies and there is no way it will be privatised under Labour the pledge is to halt this. Labour have also pledged to take health out of the TTIP agreement with the US – which is integral. The Lib Dems voted to inact the Health and Social act of 2012 which east entails opened up the NHS to foreign ownership (ie can be run for private profit) and allow 49% of NHS hospital beds be used for private patients. Labour have pledged to revoke this act. With regards to the economy if you are in the top 1% of our society you are doing very well – however due to the non support for the Living Wage, the minimum wage not being policed and zero-hour contracts the other 99% are not feeling the benefit and until these working pratices stop and tax avoidance / evasion loop holes close we are unlikely to. Looking at unemployment figures considering the those on benefit sanctions and those on zero-hour contracts are not included in the Figures – if those were considered as unemployed we would have a different set of figures! In conclusion I passionately believe Labour is a party that believes in collective responsibility, equality and looking after our vulnerable – and the Tories believe in a pure market economy that is profit driven for private companies…..I have met Ed Miliband briefly and heard him speak on a number of occassion and he is bright, witty , funny and likeable – I’m not sure any of us would withstand the dismantling job parts of the media have done on him – remember he took on Murdoch certain papers are very much out to get him. Well if you get to the end of this comment you deserve a medal! Political rant over ;)

  11. Living in a purely and historically Tory area, there is little one can do so sway the vote around here. However looking at the policies, there is a definite point towards a Lib Dem vote for me, solely down to their family stance. Being a mother and family of three, almost four, this time round, both working parents, their policies seem to align most with what we want out of family life. I’m not anti another coalition, as I too believe that i gives balance as another reader has said here, but really, I’m not a fan of any of the leaders. I hate the way Dave always brings up his late son in questions or debates about the NHS. Ed is weak, as is Nick. It’s going to be a tricky vote…

  12. @Sian
    Just wanted to say I agree re: David Milliband – I would feel a lot more confident voting for him as a leader – but good to hear that Ed is better in person.

    I know I’ve posted a lot today,but am really interested in how the election goes. Most interesting election since 1997 (when I couldn’t vote :) ) and I am really interested in how it goes.

  13. I am a Lib Dem at heart, but live in a swing Con/Lab seat and after much consideration will be voting Conservative. I identify with the ideals of Labour more, but I remember the realities of the last Labour government all too well and in terms of the NHS alone have seen the direct results of their PFI deals on London hospitals which have been absolutely crippling. I also think we are heading for coalition government, and I find the prospect of a Lab/SNP coalition hard to stomach. The SNP are brilliant for Scotland, they are not going to be beneficial to the rest of us if they wield power in government. So I’d rather support a Con/Lib coalition again. If we get a Lab/Lib coalition, excellent, lets see what they can do, but it’s far from guaranteed. As for the very small possibility of a Con/UKIP coalition – I will admit to being a bit head in the sand about it and keep thinking surely no one is really going to vote for them…

  14. It’s sad when people don’t feel represented by the political system, or compelled to vote tactically to keep the ‘bad’ party out. If you don’t like the choice you have; I would say vote with your heart, then write to whoever you end up with about issues you care about – even if it’s just once or twice. You’re still getting your voice heard and it feels good to let them know your views.

    I live in Scotland and feel really positive and excited about the level of engagement in politics at the moment. At the last GE Scotland returned only 1 Tory MP and we still ended up governed by Tories… this definitely caused feelings of dejection and apathy, so it’s amazing really that so much has changed in a relatively short time.

    I see it as a good thing for the UK that the Westminster system could be shaken up with the results of this election by a ‘proper’, more accountable coalition government.

    So I will be voting SNP. Alex Salmond wrote recently that “Inequity and the debilitating effects of poverty on human potential are real challenges facing the economy.” This really chimes for me. Austerity has not been good for the vast majority of people – and I totally feel it’s a smokescreen as we see the rich getting richer while policies like the bedroom tax ruin lives. Also Nicola Sturgeon rocks!

    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts here! Thanks Rebecca for posting on this topic.

  15. I’ll be voting Labour – but honestly I’d be pretty happy with any of the left wing parties in government (although I don’t really believe that the greens can actually do most of what they say it all seems a bit pie in the sky). Regarding the economy, I have to say, I think the Tories have been very misleading. Firstly Labour did not cause the recession, it was a global recession, with events in America really affecting the rest of the world. Secondly, a lot of economists believe that the coalitions policies actually hurt rather than helped recovery It’s true that things are better now than they were at the time of the last election and some of that will be due to what they’ve done, but also the global economy has improved so ours will too.

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