General Election 2010: Pre Polling Day Ponderings


Tomorrow. Polling day. It looms with a sense of trepidation and nervous anticipation. 

Could we wake up on Friday morning with a hung parliament? Will we have the first Liberal Democrat government in 65 years? What will the BNP and UKIP have to show from the 15 hours of voting? As I write this, the once rank outsider is rallying his supporters in the centre of the city of Sheffield. (In case I lost you there, I am referring to Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg).

This is the first time I have experienced such a flurry of activity and discussion about a forthcoming election. I voted in my first General Election in 2005 and while, as a university student I was inflicted with a barrage of political campaigns, I don’t remember as much of a buzz about the whole fiasco. 

In 2005 there was no real competition. No party was strong enough to truly dislodge Labour’s grip on the country. They had won by a landslide in 1997 and despite the unpopular Iraq war and WMD scandals, 2005 showed little sign of a slip the other way. The media was full of stories of disenchanted, disheartened, disenfranchised voters up and down the country. Even the students who could usually be counted on to be political vocal and active were holding back. In my hazy memory of 2005, it seemed everyone was resigned to another Labour term. 

But 2010 is different. This time, at least in some parts of the UK, it is very definitely a three horse race. Labour MPs seem to be losing face after their 13 years in power. Nick Clegg and David Cameron are providing a competitive opposition where one has been missing for so long. 

And you can’t discuss GE2010 without a nod to social media. Twitter and Facebook and other sites are revolutionising the election despite there still not being an option to electronically vote. A survey conducted by Virgin Media Business showed that two fifths of all internet users in the UK believe the option of an e-vote would make them more likely to participate in tomorrow’s election. And surely a fair bunch of the electorate will be checking the internet while they wait in line at the ballot boxes?

Dare I say that the combination of social media pushing this election to the fore of a media savvy generation and the election of Obama has caused the British public to realise that if enough people act upon it, change is a real possibility.

Whatever we wake up to on Friday morning, I hope the second top story will be news of a record high turnout at the polls tomorrow. Change is possible, but only if we all unite.

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