The General Election 2010

For as long as I can remember I’ve had little interest in General Elections – for various reasons – but this time around it’s been different.

I watched all 3 of the leader’s debates on television, read various online sources of election information and news, picked up numerous ‘tweets’ about it and pretty much soaked up any other media source of election titbits that came my way.

Why? Well quite simply for the first time in my life I actually feel the outcome of this election will affect not only my life for the forseeable future but that of my family as well.

What did I learn from the televised debates? Very little if I’m honest (did anybody?). We had what I personally felt was expected…

Gordon Brown bombarding us with facts and figures or ‘substance’ as the media moguls kept calling it;

David Cameron playing the ‘pick me for change’ card, but without actually really telling us what that exactly would mean to the average person in the street;

Nick Clegg happily playing the waiting game whilst G&D exchanged verbal blows before swanning in-between both and appearing as the solution to everything (but again without actually telling us anything!);

As for the minority parties well I didn’t really see or hear enough about them – or rather their policies – to really make a judgement. A fact which I thought was rather surprising, especially here in Wales as we have Plaid Cymru. I wonder if any Scots reading this felt the same about the SNP?

Much of the media hype surrounding the debates focussed on what they wore, how they did their tie, did they look at the camera, did they address the person in the audience asking the questions, etc, etc – did anyone really give a rats arse about this stuff? Surely it’s the policy details of each political party that we’re interested in, after all that is where the devil is… isn’t it?

I was brought up in a working class environment – my father a lorry driver and my mother a shop assistant – money was hard to come by and my parents worked very hard.

Growing up I remember the Thatcher years and the stories my Dad would say about the miner’s strikes and in particular the violent scenes at the now former British Steel Plant in Port Talbot. Scenes which were replicated across the coalfields of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – remember Arthur Scargill?

I can also recollect the privitisation of British Rail – another wonderful Conservative government idea. I’m sure there are other bones of contention for those of you with better memories that I.

But all that is in the past now and I’ve kept an open mind – or at least tried too – for the 2010 General Election. I’ve focussed on what affects the house of DDWT now.

I am a married man with two young children and work in local government. These facts alone make me very wary of the Conservatives.

The proposed £6 billion savings that Mr. Cameron would look to slice off ‘Government’ immediately if he came to power worries me – how many jobs and services does that equate to? Then there’s the debate of tax credits, oh and the inheritance tax thresholds to help the more economically stable individuals within the UK. I won’t even be drawn into the debate over immigration….

Mr. Clegg was refreshing and offered – I felt – less of a gamble than a Tory vote but at least they appeared to be on the same lines (‘ish) as Labour when it came to tax credits and the NHS. The only bone of contention for me was/is the immigration amnesty policy – the least said the better probably.

And finally Mr. Brown, whom basically gave it to us as it was – complete with his facts and figures (again!). He is no prime minister though and lacks the charismatic charm that goes with the territory. You only had to see Tony Blair in action earlier this week to confirm that. GB was a good chancellor, but not such a good PM.

So who did the house of DDWT vote for? My wife made no secret of the fact that she didn’t have the same interest or indeed inclination to be interested (her words not mine) in the election as I did, and as such we had our own views on each party and their policies.

Having said that we both voted and given the information at our disposal and considering our own circumstance, we both decided that it was very much a case of ‘better the devil you know that the one you don’t‘.

Only time will tell of course if that remains the case, but I’ve little doubt that whomever is the power holder in British politics some turbulent times lay ahead.