Today is Polling Day - how will you vote?(May 06, 2010)
There are five candidates in the new look South West Wiltshire constituency and with hours to go there are still a large number of electors not knowing which way to vote.
"I am in a great quandary this time," says Paul Macdonald. "I have always had a clear idea at past general elections and it was for someone to lose my vote.
"Now for the first time I still am waiting to be convinced but I will vote."
Paul decided to work out a list of key questions and the answers that he has found from seeing the candidates in action locally, the literature that has dropped through the door and the national media coverage.
Who do I trust with crucial question of the economy and taxation?
There is no doubt that Vince Cable has made the best impression with me, I do fear the Tories having experienced the 1980s, and as Labour have not changed since Blair got them wearing Tory clothes I will tick Liberal Democrat on this.
Liberalism (not the LibDem version) has always been my philosophical bedrock and at the core of that is decision making at the lowest practicable level so who will deliver?
At first I thought UKIP as I firmly believe that the EU is completely illiberal and unfit for purpose (originally set up as an economic community of independent states). But it was Crispin Black that resonated most with me with his message of 'Get London off our backs'. I will tick Independent on this.
Who will address the key issue of over centralisation and lack of hospital beds in our community?
The three main parties are all singing from the same hymn sheet on this. 'Cutting bureaucracy will produce savings to improve the NHS' is their mantra but I have little confidence that they can do anything about the inhumanity of very poorly Warminster elderly residents being sent to Marlborough hospital because that is the nearest one available. No help here.
Green Issues Locally, Nationally and Internationally
How will Warminster, Wiltshire, and the United Kingdom go forward on green issues?
'Planning for Wiltshire not Whitehall to decide' said the independent candidate. 'Green taxes' said the Lib Dem candidate getting a thumbs down from me. UKIP candidate said the carbon emissions case had not been made. Big whoops! Nuclear power said the Conservative. More of the same said Labour. Independent getting another tick from me
Once again my Liberalism has always given me a strong aversion to military action (although I did agree with the Falklands War) so who will vote accordingly to represent me?
The candidates from the three parliamentary parties did not speak on this leaving it to the Independent to say 'sadly British troops in Afghanistan do not make us safer from terrorism in the UK. It's time to withdraw them.' I agree. UKIP nationally are arguing for 25,000 extra troops better equipped spending 40% more on defence. Big thumbs down to that.
Which of the five candidates do I believe will take on the government and deliver on local community issues?
The Conservative candidate has had a number of years in the job. The Lib Dem and UKIP candidates are local councillors. The Independent candidate will not have to sign up to a party whip. The Labour candidate is of relatively unknown quality. My inclination is either Andrew Murrison (RCB success) or Crispin Black.
Today is voting day
"So, I had said that I was going to protest vote against the parliamentary parties this time because of the expenses scandals and have used this to concentrate my mind but it is still not made up," says Paul at one minute past midnight.
"How many are like me but I will vote!"