Right, I'm going to do something very countercultural, so hold tight. No, don't worry, I'm not going to leave Facebook or switch my mobile phone off. More radical than that: I'm going to tell you how I'm planning to vote in the next election.
Brighton Pavilion constituency, in which I live, is a three-way marginal between the Labour, Conservative and Green parties. I'm backing the Green Party candidate. Here's why.
- Like many, I find myself disillusioned with Labour and the Conservatives. Nothing excites me less than another parliamentary term under one or the other. I want to see real change, and for me that means a hung parliament after the next election, with greater representation for the smaller parties, and a gradual shift of power away from the Lab-Con establishment (or, more likely, a serious reform of one or both of those parties).
- The Green Party is a significant force in British politics, with numerous Green councillors and two Green MEPs. However, of the 646 seats in the Commons, not one is occupied by a Green Party representative. This is a consequence of our silly "first-past-the-post" voting system. Now, even though I don't agree with all of their policies, I'm not a Green Party member, and I don't think I'd want a Green Government, I do want there to be a Green voice in the Commons. That can happen only if they get a majority of the votes in at least one constituency. Brighton Pavilion is their best chance yet, and a very realistic chance at that.
- There are many things I like about the Green Party. I've been very impressed with the local party, its members and councillors, and think they are doing a great job at making Brighton a better place. There's a certain freshness, authenticity and transparency to the way the party functions. Their policies are much wider than environmental issues and I like the sound of a lot of them (for example, they don't idolize the free market economy).
- Caroline Lucas MEP, the party leader and their candidate for Brighton Pavilion, has been on the BBC twice this week, and has confirmed what I thought already, that she is an able, intelligent and articulate politician with great integrity. But you can judge for yourself: Question Time (available for ages), and Straight Talk (available for the next few days).
Anyway, enough of this crazy political stuff...