Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the previous three months, you’ll know that there is a general election in just under four weeks.  And what a mouth-watering, interesting few weeks we’ve got coming.
We’ve already had the “Leaders’ Debate”, which of course I watched. I zoned out a bit during parts of the debate, but overall I thought it was quite interesting.
There are more debates to come, and I believe Cameron and Militant are going to be on a Question Time type show, although not debating head to head.
And then there is the question of who to vote for… It’s a bit of a moot point here in West Worthing, or it has been up until now, as Sir Bottomley is our sitting MP. But I have heard that Bob Smytherman is standing for the Lib Dems, and he used to be Mayor, so he might stand a chance of challenging Sir Peter.
I don’t think I can vote Tory this time around, so I am trying to see what my options are. Cameron, whom I quite like, suggested that if the Tories get into power with a clear majority, they would freeze JSA (Job Seeker’s Allowance), which would save £2bn. But at the same time they’ve raised the threshold at which taxpayers pay the higher rate of tax, which is costing approximately £2bn. So they are causing hardship for those who have to count their pennies, and they are rewarding those, or reducing the tax burden on those who have a bit extra and can probably afford to have their wings clipped a bit. And I include myself in that; I am acutely aware of where the higher-rate tax threshold is, since my salary is slightly higher than that threshold. But then I spend a lot of my salary on comics, and wine, and electronics. I don’t have to juggle necessities, and decide whether I am going to eat well or heat the house. I don’t have to go to loan companies like Brighthouse and get finance on unacceptable terms. I don’t have to borrow from loan sharks and put my belongings and limbs at risk. If I was a bit short one month, I could just stay sober for longer, or more likely dip into the kids’ savings – they have more tucked away than I do.
Of course, with inflation at close to zero, any increase in JSA would be minimal anyway, and he probably could have got away with saying nothing, and still not increasing JSA, but it’s a “dog whistle” tactic, or a policy aimed squarely at the natural Tory voter, and despite the fact that I’m 43 and getting older, it seems a bit distasteful to me.
One of the other policies or beliefs that the Tories espouse is the “trickle-down” theory, that the super-rich benefit the rest of the nation through spending their wealth. And so newsagents see more business, restaurateurs take in more in earnings, etc. It’s not a belief I share, and so again I can’t vote for that.
As I’ve said previously, West Worthing is a Tory stronghold, but they have a strong Lib Dem presence on the council, so Lib Dems might be the way to go. I’m certainly not going to vote UKIP, that’s for sure :-D.
We’ll see how it goes, I will have to make up my mind soon-ish. I am looking forward to the horse-trading which will happen after the election; I think that will be the most interesting and convoluted part.

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