Before every election since I was able to vote, I’ve contacted all the main political parties in my area and asked them for a copy of their manifesto, and also their views on areas that specifically interest me. I genuinely try to keep an open mind and to vote based on which party I believe is closest to my beliefs and values.
Although I’ve ended up voting the same way since I was 18, that’s likely to change this year. I’m devastated that the party I’ve supported all my adult life no longer seems to reflect my values, and so it’s more important than ever this year that I do my research.
I live in Camberwell, held by Harriet Harman for many years. Since I moved here 17 years ago, I have never had a reply from the Labour party, probably because it’s a safe seat (I have, though, had endless leaflets through the letterbox).
Presumably for the opposite reason, I’ve never had a reply from the Conservatives either (but no leaflets).
The Lib Dems have answered me every year I’ve contacted them, although not always with a personal reply; so have the Greens.
This year, though, I’m genuinely struggling with how to vote. I will vote, of course – I believe passionately that we have a duty and a responsibility to vote, in order to have a voice. So getting an answer to my questions will be really important.
This year, as well as reading the main manifestos, I’ll be asking about: Brexit; the NHS and social care; economic growth; environment and air quality; support for small businesses; commitment to equality; and what any prospective government intends to do about the appalling reports coming out of Chechnya of concentration camps for gay people.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who is on the fence in the run up to this election.
Businesses are expected to answer every query from their customers. Surely we should expect the same from our politicians. It’ll be interesting to see which parties genuinely care about every voice in their constituency.