Posted by: ginalazenby | May 7, 2015

Who to vote for today?

Apparently I am one of the 25% of folks who are still undecided. I’m not sure and I’m not being influenced by the last-minute media coverage this week as I am away at a silent meditation retreat. On the one hand I live in Westminster so unless I support the long-standing Conservatives my vote won’t change anything, but on the other hand, every little vote counts for a national total so I’m leaving the retreat early to do my duty.

If there was a Peace party, Equality, Fairness … or Women’s Party, which I hear might actually come about if Sandy Toksvig gets her way, then I would have some clear idea where my loyalties lay. But the swing from Left to Right, Red to Blue and vice versa is so unappealing. Somehow that polarisation no longer reflects the structure of society today.

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Red or Blue .. or 50 shades in between?
I attended a live debate in Manchester a couple of weeks ago chaired by the Political Editor of the Independent newspaper. Afterwards, I went backstage to speak with him and overheard his conversation with another man bemoaning the fact that neither of the two big parties looked set to win a clear majority (again) but he was confident that things would return to ‘normal’ at the next election. I could not resist interjecting and humbly begged to differ. The origins of the Tory party came from those who owned the land, the estates, the factories, the businesses … while Labour largely emerged from the Union movement in the early 1900s and gave voice to those who worked for said owners.  Today, there is not that clear lack of division. Most people work and many people have some level of ‘ownership’ so that is no longer a valid way of dividing us. We will never gain be that polarised.

It was interesting to see in the first live TV Election debate that there were seven leaders and not three as there were four years ago. So many more voices, so many points of view, and each with something to offer. Why can’t we have some system where everybody gets heard?

Women’s voices brought a different tone
It was wonderful to see three women in that leadership line up and in the following debate that took  place without the current coalition leaders, the women were actually in the majority: three women, two men. Their language was different and each spoke passionately about correcting imbalances in society and providing better care. Not being the ones in power it was easy for them to talk about collaboration but they consistently spoke of the need and their desire to work together. And I believe having more women in the debate keeps the atmosphere much more polite, there is less abuse and fewer insults being thrown. On the Andrew Marr Show last weekend the host had to tell his two male sparring politicians, Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson to shut up as they were being so insulting to each other. That is somewhat different to the photograph captured when the TV debate ended of the three female leaders having a group hug.  Amazing!

Something needs to change and not getting a clear majority … again .. is going to force new conversations to be had about how the different factions representing all facets of society can be represented. I feel sure that the Lib Dems had a restraining effect on some of the Conservatives’ more harsh policies but nobody has been talking about that. Goodness knows why the LibDems did not give voice to what they have been doing for the last five years … that was a lost opportunity!

So who to vote for today?
I shall spend the next hour in meditation … then ask for some sign to guide me when I stand in the voting booth in Marylebone tonight.

Has it been an easier choice for any of you?

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