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And so election fever has swept through the nation like a tickly cough, and the day has finally arrived to put your best cross next to the best candidate. But is the best candidate the person who will best represent your voice in Parliament (Des Turner, the Labour incumbent) or should the best candidate represent the party who most reflects your values (the Lib Dems)?

Turner may well clinch it. Importantly he was against the war in Iraq. His stance for ID cards leaves something to be desired but, on an important local issue, he’s campaigned for the Falmer Stadium site. That said his literature has annoyed me. While mostly positive, he does tack this on the end:

Only Des can stop the Tories in Kemptown. Bar chart showing Labour and Tory close but miles ahead of the Lib Dems and Greens

While that statement may actually be true, the message is fundamentally wrong. Many politicians use this as way of attracting wavering voters but it amounts to persuading people to vote against someone rather than for someone. Crucially, this approach requires that your vote is based upon an assumption of how everyone else will vote. We would still be a two-party country if the everyone voted that way.

An interesting sub plot to all this is the location of polling stations. Traditionally polling stations have been in schools and Post Offices, but now many rural populations are voting in pubs. While this could be said to mirror of a change in society’s values, it is instead a reflection of the (present and past) Government’s policy of shutting down Post Offices and closing local schools.