Wow – so, finally we are here! One of the worst kept secrets is finally, and officially, out. On May 6th we all get the chance to go to the polls and put a cross in the box of the party/person we most feel deserves to represent us.
I am sure that my posts will become more partisan as the days and weeks go by but for now I just want to revel in the fact that the election campaign is here and the process of electing a new parliament has begun.
There are some key issues that makes this campaign somewhat different to its predecessors –
– Over 150 MPs are standing down or retiring this time around… meaning that whatever the outcome it is likely to be one of the largest intakes of new MPs in history
– The Tories need a 10% swing to be absolutely sure of winning a working majority… current polls have them at between 4%-10%. This means the likelihood of a hung-parliament is higher than it has been at any point in my lifetime – and makes the Lib-Dems potential king-makers.
– The expenses scandal is going to throw any previous voting intentions out of the window in some areas. Latest polls suggest that up to 40% of people will change their candidate preference in areas such as Luton and my own constituency of Brentford and Isleworth.
– Technology is going to play a bigger and more defining role than ever. Whilst social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook might not be everyones cup of tea, they are likely to help shape the agenda and have wonderful potential for the odd gaff.
– TV debates between the leaders will make this a more presidential style election than ever before and has the potential to have major impacts on the polls.
Finally, but most importantly, there are real philosophical differences between the three main parties vying for power. My only fear is the level of debate coming from the main parties and the media will not truly represent this. These are serious times, with serious decisions to be made, now all we need is a serious level of debate.