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Deciding how to vote in a constituency where the outcome is certain

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Living in Central Suffolk and knowing that my vote is not going to make any difference to the national, or local,  outcome should make deciding who to vote for easy. Yet have spent the past few weeks vacillating.

While it was never likely I would vote Conservative, Dan Poulter, a personable man with a 13,786 majority last time, has worked hard as a constituency MP and is bound to be re-elected. His literature concentrates on what he has done in the area although some of his claims are “a bit of a stretch” according to a friend in a village where he suggested he was instrumental in saving the post office. The mystery is that in none of the leaflets I have seen does he mention that he is a health minister. Why?

UKIP: there was never a chance I would vote for their man although I do admire the party’s recognition that the way politics is done has to change.

English Democrats are simply not a party I would vote for.

Liberal Democrats: The only political organisation I have ever belonged to is the Young Liberals when I was 17. The main reasons was that I was a member of CND and the Labour party supported British nuclear weapons. Also the Liberals were strong advocates of Britain joining the EU. We worked with the Young Socialists, in a sort of coalition, to bait the Young Conservatives.

Five years ago I lost all trust in the Lib Dems when they went into coalition with the Conservatives. In this campaign it has become clear that Clegg would be prepared to go into the same partnership which could mean supporting a referendum on EU membership. That is my red line.

Labour: If I was in a Conservative held marginal I would vote for them. Their candidate here is young. Jack Abbott, who lives in my village is impressive, wrote his own election leaflet which is full of determination and shows a real understanding of the issues facing the area. He would make a good MP and I hope he gets the chance in a more winnable seat.

Greens: Rhodri Griffiths, their candidate, has retired to Suffolk from Wales where he had fought elections and looks like a safe pair of hands in a currently unwinnable constituency. The party has been building an organisation and in the Mid Suffolk district council elections, also on Thursday, could overtake the Lib Dems to become the largest opposition group.

Years ago we used to judge political trends by the numbers of election posters in an area. Now few people put up posters but of those that do would the Greens are winning in the villages around here.

Until this weekend I was undecided between voting Labour or Green. The deciding moment was when I realised Ed Milliband’s pledge stone was not a hoax. I will vote Green.

By bolstering the Green vote I will, at least, be helping to make the case for electoral reform to give  us a more proportionate system. And I prefer their vision of the future, unformed as it is.

 

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