Election 2005

Well the Election is nearly upon us; I have my postal vote filled out and ready to go however I wouldn’t be too surprised if many of you were still undecided on whom it was you were thinking about voting for.So that you can make an informed decision do bear in mind that the Internet is always on hand for you to look up manifestos or research the party you are thinking about giving your vote to this year - As the TV adverts have been telling us ‘If you don’t do politics, there’s not much you do do’ so let’s all try and get out to vote this May 5th.

There are four main parties standing that we can vote for here in the south-west, Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative and UKIP – I’m choosing not to feature the last party in this list due to our differing ideologies so instead I will try to focus impartially on the other three parties.

Labour – Of course there really any chance of labour winning in Torbay but as the current party leading the country they do deserve a mention.If you head to www.labour.org.uk you can view their manifesto in Shockwave format, read past speeches, news and even do a search based on your postcode to view a list of things that have improved in your area over the past 8 years labour have been in government.The same postcode checker doesn’t illustrate the things that have got worse however; funny that!

Conservative – The only party that can realistically win against the Lib Dems in Torbay, the Conservative website (www.conservatives.com) is actually pretty well designed and includes most information a potential voter will require.We do of course have the Manifesto in Adobe Acrobat format along with news archives, blogs (web logs) written by Parliamentary candidates, a ‘local conservative finder’ tool and the usual press releases and so on.A picture on one of the pages that featured Michael Howard with a HUGE fake smile on his face did creep me out a little though as this isn’t a sight I’m used to seeing.

Liberal Democrats – Of course this is the party currently in charge of our local constituency who will be battling it out with the Conservatives to get re-elected.I was surprised to discover that as well as the national site (www.libdems.org.uk) that they also have a local site (www.torbaylibdems.org) along with Adrian Saunders personal site (www.adriansanders.org).Focusing on the national site, there is the usual bumph such as the online manifesto in HTML format, policy overview, news articles along with a surprisingly large amount of information on local candidates, the shadow cabinet and so on.

For those who are still undecided on who to vote for you take a look at www.whodoivotefor.co.uk as although it massively simplifies the election process into asking you twenty questions and then deciding who you are more likely to support based on your answers I did find that in my instance that it did reaffirm that I am supporting the correct party based on my beliefs.

Those wishing to keep abreast of developments over the next few days should consider downloading the free BBC election ticker from https://news.bbc.co.uk as once installed on your computer you will be interrupted by a virtual Peter Snow throughout the day as political news stories are released onto the BBC website.Of course along with visiting the BBC news site you can also keep an eye on developments by viewing other news feeds such as www.skynews.co.uk and www.reuters.co.uk

Do make sure that you get out there and vote this year; we are extremely lucky to live in a democratic country and to have the ability to vote and then not use it would be wasting this privilege.

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.