My poll card for the forthcoming elections dropped onto my doormat this morning, and it has distracted me from the circus side show of the expenses for a moment.
My vote is something I take very seriously. Despite all that Labour have done since they took power to marginalise our liberties, we are fortunate to live in a country where we have the opportunity to kick out and/or vote in the people of our choice. I may support someone who is ultimately unsuccesful, but at least I have the opportunity to support them. There are millions of people living around the world who would view this power with a sense of wonder. A vote is not something to be treated lightly, or ignored.
I've pretty much made my mind up in the Council elections, so that really isn't an issue. The big question is; who the hell do I support in the Europeans? Firstly, the Libertarians are not standing in the Europeans, a decision I understand and give qualified to support to, so that's them out. I can also discount the following:
Labour - Not even the hard of thinking will need an explanation as to why it will be a cold day in hell before I support that shower. I've never voted for them, and I'm not about to start now.
LibDem - I had a brief dalliance with them when I was teenager (well, who hasn't?) before realising that, well, they're just a bit shit, really.
Greens - What was it that Caroline Lucas said? Something about flying away on holiday is like stabbing someone in the street? No point in them going to Brussels then, OK they can take the Eurostar, but how do they attend seminars, conferences and the like? Do they swim? Bollocks to them.
BNP - The devilish bit of me quite likes the idea of one or two BNP seats. I can't stand the arseholes, but the political class need a good hefty smack in the mouth, a couple of BNP Euro seats would do just that. But, no, I cannot in all good conscience vote for them. As I said, my vote is important to me, and I've also said in the past that it is important to vote for something, rather than against it. It wouldn't be a vote for the BNP, it would be a vote against the big three.
Nearly, but not quite:
Jury Team - Nice idea, but it all seems to have been thrown together at the last minute. Perhaps next time when I'm surer of their mechanics.
English Democrats - I quite like their basic policies - anti-EU, pro-English parliament, but I'm still a little hazy of what they want beyond that.
Libertas - Fair play to Declan Ganley and his scuppering of the Lisbon referendum in Ireland, but I'm afraid that the whole 'in Europe, not run by Europe' rings a little hollow. Sorry, lads, not for me.
No2EU - Except for the obvious, I know nothing about them.
So that really leaves me with two choices, and one of them many of you would have expected to see in the instantly discounted list:
Conservatives - I'm not a Tory supporter, and I'm well aware that in the Europeans you vote for a party rather than a candidate. However, I am a fan of Dan Hannan, he is very much on the Libertarian wing of the party, is not afraid to raise his head above the parapet and I like what he says. He is number 1 on the Tory list (I live in the South-East England constituency), so I suppose it is a given he'll be returned to Brussels. But does that mean I should not vote for him? I support him, but not his party, so it would be a vote for something, but I'd rather he was doing it wearing a UKIP rosette, given that we (The Libertarians) won't be standing.
UKIP - Single issue party they may be, but bloody hell, what an important issue. Their policy is one that I support wholeheartedly. I honestly believe that if we are to take control of our country then leaving the EU is the only really effective step we can take to start the process. I also think it is important that (as far as I am aware) the UKIP policy if they were to get elected to Westminster, is that a referendum would be held on the issue. Whilst it is unlikely that UKIP would be elected to power in Westminster on a protest vote, I think it is vital that the national debate on continuted EU membership is held. I hate the big three refusing to discuss our withdrawal, and would not want to put those in favour of our membership in the same position as I find myself now. There must be a proper, temperate debate and a simple question put to the electorate.
So, do I vote for a party that has a policy close to my heart, or do I vote for the individual I have a great deal of respect for, but who just happens to sit at the top of the list for a party I do not support? A difficult decision, and one that I'm going to have to give some very serious thought to.