In my last British Elections 2015 post, I said I would be next posting on who I would be supporting and my hopes and expectations for next Thursday’s election. While I have an idea who I would be voting for, it is liable to change and I may end up doing what some goody goody types do and declare who it is they vote for is their business and no one else’s. While I recognize I may influence a few people, I would much rather be encouraging them to vote based on an intelligent and principled understanding of the issues than suggest who it is they ought to be voting for. But I will vote for someone and not do what one principled friend said he would do, and that was to spoil his vote. Moreover, even though the Big day is only five days away, a lot can still happen, including my becoming better informed.
So if you want a clue; with reference to my own ward (St. Lukes), it will be one from the Independent (Alliance), Labour, Conservative and UKIP candidates, all of which having things going for and things going against them, that would bring something to the party if elected, although deep down I think I know who it is I will be voting for on the big day. Regarding the National elections, right now it is literally a toss up between Simon (Green) and Ian (Labour), not necessarily a bad thing, but choose I must and choose I will. While I have many reservations concerning each of their parties, both Simon and Ian have run creditable campaigns, have some good qualities and have demonstrated that they have what it takes to be an MP. I would be happy to work with either. Bear in mind, usually in the past when I have endorsed a candidate it has been the kiss of death, so maybe it is better for both Simon and Ian I don’t do so now!?
When it comes to the national elections, my prediction (and do remember my poor record as a pundit) is Labour will win, just ahead of the Conservatives, with the other parties getting just a few seats, except maybe the SNP who look on course to winning most Scottish seats. The fun bit is predicting who Labour will get in bed with should they form a government, given they won’t have an outright majority. My list of reasons for voting against either of these parties is at least as long as reasons for voting for them, and if folk want to know what these are they need to read my recent political blogs, but also find out for themselves what the parties stand for, helped considerably this time round by what one can find from a click of a computer (connected to the Internet) button. While not seen as the main reasons for many, the Conservative U turn bringing in gay marriage and the Labour continuation with the European nightmare are two of many reasons I find it difficult to vote for either.
The local situation is also interesting and it is a pity that given media coverage is (understandably) on the national scene, the local one has not been afforded too much attention. In my view, the alliance between Independents, Labour and Lib Dems have done relatively well in Southend and I for one will pay tribute to the way they have listened, something the previous regime didn’t. The Conservatives have not taken well to being in opposition, something they are unaccustomed to, so they need to take stock. I hope they do and it is in the public interest they do. I am far from convinced the alliance have got it right in all areas but don’t feel it is my job to dig deep into the detail to say how, but it is the job of the opposition. Ron Woodley (Leader of the Council) has said more than once that his door is open and will discuss ideas with all and sundry. That seems a reasonable offer, and I would like to see this being taken up.
My expectation is the Southend rainbow coalition will be set to continue, at least for another year. I expect people’s voting patterns in Southend will follow much the same as national patterns, and I expect both its sitting Conservative MPs to be returned, albeit with a reduced majority. Councillor wise, I think the Conservatives will do well to hold their own and may lose seats, likely to Labour. The same might happen to the Lib Dems. I expect the Independents (now a party in all but name) will just about hold their own; despite the attention on the main parties being a factor going against them, their bubble has not yet broken and they are still seen as a creditable force in the town. UKIP is a bit of a mystery; while UKIP continue to attract support for reasons more to do with what is going on in the country, they would have done a lot better locally I feel if it weren’t for the damaging civil war that has been taking place in the past year. Sadly, I don’t see a place for the Greens (wrong party, wrong town) as I feel they have something to offer to the local scene.
Meantime, I will continue to watch developments with interest and will endeavour to play my part in being a good citizen. As I have long maintained, while I have strong views as to what constitutes the common good, I will work with any politician in order to achieve it.