How will you vote?

Friends of the NS, including Michael Rosen, Melvyn Bragg, White Dee, Henry Marsh, Ralph Steadman, Susan Hill and many others, tell us how they’re voting.

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Prominent figures in the arts, journalism and business, from accross the political spectrum, explain to the New Statesman how they will vote in the 2015 general election. Click on a name to jump down to their entry.

Michael Vaughan ❦ Martin Sorrell ❦ White Dee
Melvyn Bragg  ❦  Diana Athill ❦ Richard Dawkins
John Burnside ❦ Geoff Dyer ❦ Richard J Evans
Richard Eyre ❦ Linda Grant ❦ Susan Hill
Philip Hoare ❦ Tom Holland ❦ Richard Holloway
Kathleen Jamie​ ❦ A L Kennedy​ ❦ Nicholas Lezard​
Richard Mabey​ ❦ Hilary Mantel​ ❦ David Marquand​
Henry Marsh​ ❦ Jason Williamson​Philip Pullman​
Michael Rosen​ ❦ Alan Ryan ❦ Will Self ❦ Ruth Scurr
Ralph Steadman​ Bryan Appleyard​ ❦ Tracey Thorn​ 
Claire Tomalin​ ❦ Marina Warner ❦ Michael Winterbottom​
Kirsty Gunn​ ❦ Owen Jones Blake Morrison
Raymond Tallis Dale Vince Julian Baggini
Hunter Davies

 

I’ll be voting Conservative. David Cameron inherited a difficult situation from Labour and he’s done pretty well at turning that around. I don’t believe in change for change’s sake. I’m not a political expert, but it seems to me that Britain is going quite well. This is no time to risk the recovery.

 

What the country needs:

- An overarching economic plan (a British version of China’s Five-Year Plan), encompassing education, infrastructure investment (hard and soft), technology, tax and immigration.- 

Political leaders of all stripes brave enough to make the positive case for immigration, membership of the EU and, more broadly, the role of business in creating prosperity and employment.

A longer-term view on investment, which politicians could encourage by, say, raising short-term capital gains tax and tapering it the longer assets are held.

Pride in our having become a services-based economy. The creative industries added £76.9bn to the UK’s finances in 2013, and grew faster than any other sector, making up more than 5 per cent of all British jobs and accounting for nearly 9 per cent of UK service exports.

 

I am finding it so hard to decide on who to vote for at this election. A few policies that will sway my vote. Labour: increasing the minimum wage; scrapping the bedroom tax; guaranteed jobs for under-25s who have been unemployed for two years; freezing energy bills until 2017. On the NHS, I think they are being a bit more realistic with figures. Conservatives: immigration, making people wait up to four years before claiming welfare; three million apprenticeships for young people; protect pensioners’ winter fuel, TV licence, bus passes; improved mental health treatments/awareness.

Another problem: I haven’t got 100 per cent belief in Ed Miliband, whereas I have a little bit more belief in David Cameron. It’s still very close, so hopefully I can decide for sure in time for my vote to count.

 

If I were allowed a vote [Bragg is a member of the House of Lords] it would go to the ­Labour Party as it always has done. It is easy to be dismissive about such tribal voting, but the Labour Party again and again helps working-class people to pursue lives they would not have thought possible a hundred years ago.

More particularly, the party would stay in Europe, which it makes no sense to leave. It would, I trust, at last bend its will and its resources to restore the north after its terrible wasting in the 1980s. It would once more drive forward the arts. It will listen to those who have good reasons to persuade it to look again at its policy on our world-class universities, and rediscover a balance between making and spending.

And finally and radically it will reform the House of Lords.

 

I’d love to vote Green because what they want is what I want but I can’t believe they’d have the faintest idea of how to achieve what they want if they got in, which they won’t. So my vote will be the usual lack-lustre Labour one.

 

No voting system can ever be perfect, but any rational person can see that the first-past-the-post system is especially undemocratic. Unless you’re a member of a fortunate minority, your vote is going to be wasted. I would like to see a mass protest vote, not against any particular party, but against the first-past-the-post system itself. This means a mass campaign to vote tactically all over the country.

To anybody who disapproves of tactical voting, I reply that the first-past-the-post system forces it upon us. Nobody who voted for first-past-the-post in the 2011
referendum has any right to object to tactical voting.

In Oxford West and Abingdon, my tactical vote is for the Lib Dem candidate. It is a bonus that Layla Moran is a scientist, an educator and a worthy successor to the much-missed Evan Harris, a champion of science, rationality and secularism.

 

For a long time, people have been saying that politics is broken. Our “representative democracy” is anything but; environmental degradation continues; the gap between rich and poor widens. There are several reasons why this is happening, but the one that I find most ironic is the way politicians of every ilk queue up to prove how “business-friendly” they are. I don’t want a business-friendly government: I want meaningful regulation, fair pay and equality of opportunity. I want a society that is mature and imaginative enough to see through the myth of never-ending “growth”. No surprise, then, that I will not be voting for any of the parties currently on offer.

 

Sometimes, in the run-up to an election, I wobble and worry and think I’ll vote for the Greens but always I end up opting for Labour. Ultimately, I’m incapable of voting for anyone else. This is partly a negative thing – a blood loathing for the Tories, as incarnated, this time around, by the loathsome Cameron and the still more loathsome Johnson – but it’s also about acknowledging a debt. I’ve led a life of such incredible privilege (free education, free health care, and so on) and it’s all due to measures put in place by the Labour Party.

Ed Miliband comes across as a right little nerd but if he gets elected – in spite of being unelectable by all the usual indicators of personal appeal – it will be a marvellous step forward for a land so ravaged by inequality, it seems to be going backwards in time.

 

I’m voting Labour, as usual with reservations, but that’s the best way to stop a referendum on the Brexit from the EU. Referendums are always biased because they are always based on leading questions (look at the Scottish independence referendum). A Brexit would be a disaster of enormous proportions, and it would spell the end of our extraordinary dominance of international league tables for universities, because we depend heavily on research income from the EU and on the free movement of academics within Europe.

 

I’d vote for a party that proposes to do the following: raise the minimum wage to a living wage; ban zero-hours contracts; stop privatising the NHS and introduce a hypo­thecated health tax; end the bedroom tax; restore Sure Start centres and legal aid; introduce rent controls; build homes at genuinely affordable rents; increase local authority grants; restore libraries; scrap PFI; cap all top salaries at 50 times the lowest paid; cap farm subsidies; block the revolving door to private directorships from parliament, the civil service and the military; abolish the House of Lords; stay in the EU but repatriate and renationalise the utilities while ensuring that they operate under commercial imperatives and without subsidies; ditto rail franchises; encourage manufacturers rather than bankers; means-test pensions; introduce a 1 per cent tax on financial transactions; end non-dom status; pursue corporate tax avoidance relentlessly; raise capital gains tax to the top rate of income tax; raise the top rate of income tax to 45 per cent; scrap Trident; decommission Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and cancel US F-35 fighters; increase support for weapons of happiness – ie, arts and sports; put music and drama in the core curriculum for primary schools; restore and means-test tuition fees; withdraw charitable status from public schools and amalgamate them with state schools at sixth-form level; admit that VAT is a punitive tax on the low-paid . . . and so on.

I shall vote Labour – some of these policies are theirs, most aren’t.

 

I seem to have managed my life in such a way that I have never had a Tory MP. Then on the Tuesday after the 2010 general election I discovered that my MP, the Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone, was part of a Tory coalition, so I picked up the phone and joined the Labour Party.

Our local branch was moribund after our previous Labour MP, Barbara Roche, voted for the Iraq war. I’ll be voting for Catherine West, the candidate I was involved in selecting two years ago. The highest priority for Londoners in this election is to get rid of the cruel bedroom tax and provide affordable housing. The young won’t forgive us if we don’t.

 

For the Conservatives, of course, as I have at every election since I was a starry-eyed Trotskyite student. (Who was it that said we should be left when we are young and turn right as we grow up?) Why Conservative again? The economy, stupid. Remember Brown almost bankrupting us?

But it will be in spite of David Cameron, a weak PM if ever there was one, not because of him, that I will vote Tory again. His campaign has been feeble. His own heart doesn’t seem to be in the fight. The economic turn-around should have been trumpeted and it hasn’t been. Why?

Cameron has two policies I deplore: the bedroom tax, which is iniquitous, and Right to Buy – which seemed like a good idea but which failed, with disastrous consequences for housing, the first time round, and will fail again. There is, though, one deadly serious and overwhelming reason why I am desperate to keep either the Conservatives alone, or the coalition, in power. Her name is Nicola Sturgeon.

 

I first came of voting age in 1976, a heady year of fantastical and real anarchy. Nearly 40 years later, after eight general elections, I still make my mark, metaphorically, in red ink. Voting tells out our personal lives, measuring out the decades. Like a birthday, it becomes increasingly symbolic, perhaps even meaningless. I wish my one little cross would clean up the air, restore the sea, make food banks unnecessary; make it all better. It is strange how voting can make us feel powerless; how it only reminds us of our complicity in the relentless mechanism of economic growth and all its penalties. Nevertheless, I will vote Labour, as I always have. It is a reflexive act which retains that glimmer of hope – for all that it is perennially disconfirmed.

 

As with last year’s Scottish referendum, so with this year’s general election: the great theme is the future of Great Britain as a united kingdom.

Unfortunately for someone like myself, who values the bonds between Scotland and the rest of the UK, there seems to be no good result in the offing. A dominant SNP, if indeed they wipe the floor with Labour, as the polls predict, will be ideally placed either to torture a minority Miliband government, or to cast any Conservative administration as illegitimate.

So I find myself in a paradoxical situation: rooting for both Jim Murphy and Ruth Davidson to do well – and hoping in particular that the feisty and charismatic leader of the Scottish Tories can help to re-establish her party as a genuinely national force. As for my own vote, I will probably cast it in favour of the Liberal Democrats.

What matters in this election, it seems to me, is less which party wins the most seats, and more which party is best placed to go into coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives. Given the choice of the SNP, Ukip or the Lib Dems, there is really very little contest.

 

I hope the SNP wins big in Scotland on 7 May. I believe that nothing short of a
volcanic shock will jolt Westminster into a refiguring of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Like many Scots who voted Yes in last year’s referendum, I want a fully federated and decentralised Britain. And I would love it if a united Ireland decided one day to join the new federation. Ireland would help balance the other small nations in the alliance against the centripetal force of England, a force that has become so heedless, it may soon shatter the present Union.

But I shall vote Labour on the day. I live in the South Edinburgh constituency, where the sitting Labour MP is his own man. He refuses to back his party’s line on the renewal of Trident. Although he doesn’t believe in Scottish independence he does believe in independent thinking. That’s why I shall vote for him.

 

We love you, Scotland! Stay in the Union, Scotland. More powers! More powers! Be a strong voice at Westminster. We were threatened, and we were begged. So we said, all right. We’ll stay in the Union. But we’re going to send some MPs on the southbound train who will be anti-austerity and anti-Trident. Is that OK? Apparently not. Suddenly, the legitimately elected representatives of the Scottish people will pose a dangerous threat.

In truth, Holyrood is the centre of gravity in Scottish politics these days. Come the Holyrood elections next year, I might well vote Green. Actually, I’d like to see the whole party system in Scotland torn up and reimagined. But for Westminster I’m voting SNP, partly because of their leftist policies and partly, I admit, out of sheer devilment.

 

I’m a member of Left Unity, but they aren’t fielding anyone in my constituency, so I’ll most likely be voting Green.

It’s very clear that the three major parties are indistinguishable and blindly committed to punishing the poor for being poor and the weak for being weak. (This seems hardly fair, given that they’ve weakened and impoverished millions – to say nothing of the thousands of disabled people DWP policy is estimated to have killed.) The idea that all three parties would form a coalition simply committed to holding power and continuing a banking agenda is fairly sickening and fairly likely. I live in London, but at this point, if I could vote SNP, frankly, I would. And I’m not the only Londoner saying it.

 

This is a theoretical question for me, as the constituency where I live has never returned anything but a Conservative MP, and never by anything less than a very comfortable majority. Not even Ukip at the peak of their popularity, which I suspect has passed, could put a dent in it.

Were I still living in Shepherds Bush, though, I would be voting enthusiastically for Labour’s Andy Slaughter, who although cringingly obedient during the Blair years has proved himself a dedicated and tireless local MP.

There was some damn fool proposal to have my old friend Toby Young run against him as the Tory candidate, and few things on earth would have given me greater pleasure and deeper satisfaction than to have seen him humiliated at the ballot box. But alas! It seems that he has “too much on”.

 

I might have voted SNP if they’d had the brass neck to field candidates in England. But I will go with the Greens, out of shared beliefs rather than tactical common sense. Westminster needs voices of plurality and principle even if they’re comparatively powerless.

 

I’ve missed most of the campaign because I’ve been abroad, but returned to an atmosphere of dead-eyed horse-trading. The electoral air is fetid, the major parties demeaning themselves; it would be funny if it weren’t so disgusting. I mean to vote for our independent candidate in East Devon, Claire Wright. She is an experienced local councillor who has covered the ground, knows what matters to people here, and talks in concrete terms rather than mouthing slogans.

East Devon is a safe Tory seat so in a sense it doesn’t matter what I do. But I hope that if enough people turn out for her, a decent, young, energetic candidate will be encouraged to keep striving. It’s a vote for the political process rather than a political party. Which is an act of faith, and seems the best one can do.

 

My heart tells me to vote Green; my head says Labour. In a sane electoral system I could do both – Green first and Labour second. But in the antediluvian system we live in the head has to win.

The Labour Party isn’t perfect. Its insistence on renewing Trident is pure fetishism. But Ed Miliband has managed, with a remarkable mixture of courage and skill, to lance the boil it inherited from the New Labour years and revive its social-democratic vocation. He is brave and honourable; and he has shown a strategic vision rare in British politicians. Quite apart from that, only a Labour victory can save us from another Cameron government: mammoth cuts in public spending, a shrunken state, more disastrous marketisation in health and education and further attrition of the public realm. Almost certainly, it would also mean the break-up of the United Kingdom and perhaps self-exclusion from the European Union. In no election in my adult lifetime have the stakes been higher.

 

I will be voting Lib Dem. I switched to them from Labour when Michael Foot in the 1970s talked of introducing the closed shop, which offended my libertarian instincts. To be honest, I pay little attention to what politicians say – the end result, especially with regard to the NHS, seems to be the same. I will vote Lib Dem partly out of my English sympathy for the underdog but also because I think it is important that there is a reasonable and progressive third force – albeit a weak one – in UK politics.

 

Let’s leave the existence of the Conservatives out of this; they are deeply unintelligent. The Lib Dems don’t exist any more. Then there is Labour, the new user-friendly Conservative Party. I’m voting Green. There is no other option. Out with bedroom tax, out with tuition fees, out with priorities towards corporate profit. In with affordable homes and a rent cap, too. Please, give us a f***ing rent cap.

Do I believe passionately in the Green Party? No, I don’t, course I don’t, but it’s the only one bothering to lower the lifeboats to the lower quarters.

 

I want to see a Labour government. But because of the dysfunctional nature of our voting system, which can only be described as a few islands of meaning in a welter of frivolous pointlessness, I can’t vote Labour in this constituency (Oxford West and Abingdon, won last time by the Conservatives with a majority of 176) without knowing my vote would be wasted.

Nothing will incline me to vote Lib Dem again, so I shall vote for the National Health Action Party, because the NHS has been very good to me in recent years. That won’t win, either, but it feels less trivial to vote for it. But what I want above all is a voting system that allows the votes of the people to be reflected accurately in the make-up of parliament. If that means deals and coalitions, fine; but please let’s get away from the current arrangement, which is no better than a lottery.

 

We’ve had five years of class war from the Tories, supported and enabled by the Lib Dems, keeping wages down and securing increased wealth for the super-rich. Nick Clegg has been candid about forcing real-terms wages down. He doesn’t seem to think that it was wrong of him to ensure that the least well-off took a hit for a crisis caused by bankers. Similarly, the Lib Dems have let Michael Gove divide education in England into competing parties, ruled by the iron rod of testing, testing and more testing. I am over the moon that there is a good chance that in my constituency a vote for Labour will help boot out a Lib Dem. I will vote Labour.

 

This is a counterfactual statement of intentions. Six thousand miles away in California, I have no doubt that I would be voting for the Liberal Democrats in Oxford West and Abingdon.

Evan Harris was an excellent MP; he was rational in the way you’d hope a scientist would be, and humane and generous, too. He stood unflinchingly for the right side of contentious issues such as assisted suicide, but without undue rancour towards his opponents. The successful Conservative, Nicola Blackwood, is on the wrong side of most social issues and not intellectually impressive.

Would I vote Lib Dem if this was a Labour-Tory marginal? No. Is it likely the Lib Dem vote will surge at the last minute, and bring the Lib Dems close to where they were with Evan Harris? No. But the Labour vote is far too low to do the trick. We need the old alliance of Labour voters voting Lib Dem where it makes a difference (and the reverse elsewhere).

 

Probably Labour... It’ll be the first time since 1997, when I voted very reluctantly for Blair, who I already knew was a wrong ’un. Since then I’ve voted Green locally, nationally and in European elections, with the one hateful exception of the last general election, when, in line with a lot of other gullible idiots, I voted Lib Dem (this despite having met and spoken with Clegg and realised that he was a complete plonker).

Apart from not clasping the SNP to his breast – a tactical error of some magnitude – I’ve been reasonably impressed by Miliband during the campaign; I could live with a Labour/SNP confidence-and-supply minority government. Its compromised mandate would surely reflect the compromised status of the British state in our fissiparous and warming world...

 

Ruth Scurr

I will vote for the Liberal Democrat candidate in Cambridge, Julian Huppert. He has been an excellent MP for Cambridge since 2010. He is one of very few MPs with a science background and he has fought to protect the science budget from funding cuts. More generally I think the Liberal Democrats have been unfairly maligned for their role in the coalition. The UK has little cultural understanding of coalition politics, but there is almost certainly going to be another coalition government after May 7. I think it is important that the Liberal Democrats are part of it.

 

I will put my X in the box of whoever is standing in our part of Kent – someone called Jasper Gerard, I believe? He may even be a Lib Dem. But he knows my friend Councillor Brian Clark, who works very hard on local issues such as threatened woodland areas.

“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under,” said H L Mencken – and he covered the infamous Scopes (monkey) trial. From coal miners to coalitions in a mere 30 years, with white-collar workers mouthing the word “democracy” – Greek: demos (people); kratos (rule) – that we all know and love. And it is high time we sent the Parthenon Marbles back where they belong!

We are now also “award-winning” obsessed. We even hauled in Tony Blair dot org – the BLAIR SCARE – to tell us that a referendum would cause CHAOS (an ancient Greek religion also!). Let’s hone the Pledge-Hedge and trade in the Future for short-term political hocus-pocus. UGH!!! Ukip if you want to: I’m staying awake!!!

Ed Miliband can’t say PLUM JAM!!! It’s not his fault – and I wouldn’t dream of mocking him for it but . . . GIVE HIM A CHANCE!!!!!!

 

At this point, I have no idea for whom I shall vote. I have no ideological commitments; I am a pure floater. The campaign has been dull in the extreme, perhaps because there has been too much script-reading: a pervasive anxiety about going off-message, which means that there is no message. This is, I think, a generation of politicians who grew up watching The West Wing, a vastly overrated, unrealistic and very silly show that presents politics as a purely internal affair, a game played by clever, empty people. I shall vote for who seems least ridiculous.

 

I’ll be voting Labour with my usual mixture of bright optimism and stoic resignation – hoping for the best, but braced for disappointment. I do very much want a new government, and some curtailing of the swingeing cuts and growing inequality we are seeing. I’m in Hampstead and Kilburn, currently held by Labour with a majority of 42, the second-smallest in the country, and Glenda Jackson is retiring. Walking around, I have seen more Labour than Conservative posters, which gives me hope, but then I worry that Tories just think posters are vulgar. Every single vote counts here.

 

There must be a lot of people like me: a Labour voter living in a constituency where Labour has no hope at all, Richmond Park. I must add that we have an outstandingly good Conservative MP, but I would not dream of voting for the party that presides over ever-increasing inequality.

Caroline Lucas strikes me as the most sensible, eloquent and admirable of politicians, but as things stand I can’t vote for the Greens: I love their ideals but know it would be a lost vote. I shall vote for our Liberal Democrat candidate, because he is a decent person and this is the best way of keeping out the Conservatives.

 

Heaven knows why Natalie Bennett has chosen to stand in such a tough constituency as the solid Labour seat of Holborn and St Pancras, but I am going to put my cross down for her in spite of my anxieties about splitting the vote.

I want to add my voice to support the Greens’ ideas about funding higher education, getting rid of Trident, restoring civil liberties, and other important policies. I expect Keir Starmer will still win for Labour, but I hope a reduced majority will give a strong signal that Labour needs to think harder about current difficulties, and that Ed Miliband’s present advisers are preventing him making the right alliances.

 

I am going to vote Labour. Partly because I always do. Partly because I live in a constituency which is a marginal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Partly because Labour is moving slowly in the right direction under Ed Miliband (thank God his brother didn’t become leader). It was good to see the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP challenge him from the left in the debate. This is what needs to happen more from the grass-roots level. Westminster politics is a boring farce. It needs radical reform.

 

Kirsty Gunn

Like everyone I know and talk to about the forthcoming elections I am so disillusioned by everything about our political situation in Britain that I actually don t want to vote for anybody. We live, as Tariq Ali wrote recently, in a political context of "extreme centre" and this seems to have disabled all philosophical, imaginative and intellectual enquiry and debate around issues that are important - I mean, to do with imagining a society that is based on anything other than capitalist gain. It s exhausting and depressing to listen any of our politicians - and this includes the Scottish Nationalists who are no less guilty of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, despite the rhetoric: We only have to look at the way our beautiful Highland hills have been desecrated by endless ranks of wind turbines - the loss of Scotland s beautiful vistas for the financial gain of a few - to get an inkling of the real mentality that underlies all the talk. It s as though everything we love and care for and have been proud of is being sold off and turned into a business model. I want nothing to do with any of it - and only wish a spoiled paper would count as vote.

 

Owen Jones

I'm voting Labour. Are Labour offering the radical alternative that I would like at a time of crisis for so many? No. But I would much rather prefer to be fighting a Labour government than a Tory government. On issues like the bedroom tax, tax avoidance, NHS privatisation and zero hours contracts, Labour have been forced to shift position. They're not being as radical as I would like on these issues, but that they were forced to shift is a vindication of campaigning, protesting and struggling. If we can win these concessions now, that will embolden people to keep fighting under a Labour government - for a living wage, for public ownership, for workers' rights, and against austerity. If the Tories get back in, there is a real danger of genuine despair. The Tories will claim vindication, Labour will shift to the right, and those anti-austerity protests could well dwindle in number. 'What's the point?' could become almost a cliché. The NHS, the welfare state, remaining workers' rights could all be shredded; rather than being abolished, the tentacles of the bedroom tax will reach into many more lives. Our increasingly bankrupt electoral system prevents us from voting according to our conscience, and a minority Labour government must come under pressure from small parties to introduce a referendum on proportional representation. A warning to Labour: if you alienate your own supporters, look at Spain and Greece - or indeed Scotland - and learn you could be swept away.

 

Blake Morrison

Whether from tribalism, principle or indolence, some of us are so set in our ways that election campaigns are an academic exercise. We know which party we’re going to vote for. The only question is: given its performance, does it deserve our vote? The answer, this time is: just about. I wish Ed Milliband sounded as clear and authoritative as Nicola Sturgeon, and was braver in standing up for the values he inherited from his father. But at least he hasn’t scared people off: make him PM and he hitherto concealed powers of leadership might emerge. The Cameron-Osborne campaign has been abysmal; even Tories admit as much. Before it started, I didn’t expect to see them lose – when an economy’s in recovery, governments are usually re-elected – but I’ve begun to think they really might. The danger is that last-ditch tabloid scare stories (Red Ed Gets Nasty Nicola into Bed, etc) will turn things round; remember what happened in 1992. The other nightmare scenario is that Labour sneak in, with the help of the SNP, but are so resisted and derided at every turn that we have another election in the autumn, which the Tories then win.

 

Raymond Tallis

I shall use my vote in such a way as to head off the catastrophe of a Tory government (or UKIP getting the slightest sniff of power). While we can no longer rely 100% on any of the parties to do the right thing or to keep their election promises, we can rely 100% on the Tories to do the wrong thing, particularly in relation to public services. If they are returned to power, we can say goodbye to the NHS. The Health and Social Care Act, combined with TTIP, will make the NHS helpless to resist privatisation, which is already taking place at an accelerated pace – with nearly £6 billion worth of contracts going to health privateers in the last few weeks alone. By 2020 we shall be well on course for a barbaric plutocracy. After keeping the Tories out, the next task will be to give Labour Hell to make sure they keep their promises.

 

Dale Vince

For me the big issues at this election are green energy and climate change. We need a government that is committed to both. And this is not just about doing the right thing for the environment, it’s not about saving polar bears (important as that is), it’s the right thing for our economy, for jobs, industry and prosperity, it’s about sustainable growth - from which social justice can flow. This is a new perspective; going green isn’t ‘expensive', it isn’t about giving things up or a life in some way less good. It’s the new way of doing things, we’re at the beginning of a green industrial revolution. The only strong economies of the future will be the green economies because they will be the only sustainable ones - in all senses of the word.

As a latter day Bill Clinton might say - It’s the green economy stupid. I’ll be voting Labour.

 

Julian Baggini

In a constituency system it is not responsible to vote purely on the basis of who you would most like (or least dislike) to form a government. In Bristol West I'll be voting for the incumbent Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams. He's done a good job and although it is now fashionable to hate the yellow traitors, I think his party have not done a bad job of tempering Tory excesses and pushing through some genuinely decent policies. Although nationally I'd like to see a Labour-led government, I have been disappointed by some flaky populist policies and some base electioneering, which locally resulted in a flyer that could have been written by Lynton Crosby, accusing the Lib Dems of being soft on drugs and crime. The Greens are hopeful here even though they did very poorly last time around. I'd happily see a few of them in parliament, but not at the expense of someone who could help form a credible non-Conservative government. My vote is therefore both tactical and principled: there is no contradiction between the two.

 

Hunter Davies

I am voting Labour, not just because Ed is my dear neighbour – and hurrah for the mansion tax, oh, I do hope he gets in and then he and I will have the pleasure and privilege of paying this whopping extra tax to help poor people, or similar – but because Labour is absolutely the best chance of creating in this country a fairer society.  

 

This article first appeared in the 06 May 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Power Struggle