Tomorrow is the Big Day. Britain is finally going to the polls for a General Election after what seems like the longest campaign in the history of the world. Normally I feel a sense of relief at this point because even as a political junkie there is only so much election talk I can take. This time however I am alternating between butterflies in my stomach and a sinking sensation...
This is because both the Conservatives and Labour have a real chance of getting into power and I can't quite decide which is a scarier prospect. A party that ruined the country irreparably in the 80s or a party that ruined the country irreparably in the 00s? A Prime Minister who has only the interests of the rich at heart or a Prime Minister who kow-tows to the bankers no matter what? The horns of this dilemma are big enough to be hung on the wall and shown off.
It may not surprise you to hear that I will be voting for the Lib Dems. I've been voting for them for a while now thanks to a dislike of the Tories that comes from growing up in the 80s and a lingering resentment of Labour's actions over the Iraq War. This time though I'm one of the cool kids thanks to the recent outbreak of Clegg-mania rather than a political oddball.
I'm not sure the Lib Dems are any better than the Tories or Labour in some ways, but they are different and a change is as good as a rest. I don't expect them to be perfect, but I also think they might manage not to destroy our economy, make the rich even richer and embroil us in an illegal war. I'm willing to give that a go.
None of the parties have spoken to me as a young woman. Especially a single, childless, unemployed woman with health concerns and a feminist mind set. Every policy concerning women concentrates on them being mothers above all else. Tough shit if like all the women in this country you happen to be multi-faceted and capable of more than one thing at once. You don't matter in 2010 in the UK (but then neither do single childless men so maybe I should chalk that one up to equality?)
Women politicians have been all but invisible in this campaign. Admittedly I'm happy to see a less of Tessa Jowell and Harriet Harman toeing the party line every time they open their mouth, but it would also be good to have seen women represented by more than Diane Abbott larking about on This Week or Sarah Teather discussing political theme tunes on Newsnight. Although compared to the terrifying lack of black and ethnic minority candidates or representatives, I'm being churlish to complain.
Despite the sudden burst of national enthusiasm for the Lib Dems, I think the rest of the tone of the election campaign sets the scene for the next Parliament. No matter who gets in, there will be much more obfuscating about issues the electorate actually want to discuss, more reliance on how politicians look on TV than how they work with their constituents, 1950s style focus on the leaders' wives, a total lack of discussion about crime and a lot of dithering about electoral reform without any solid policies.
It's a depressing outlook to have on the country you live in, but it's even more depressing to think that it might all get worse come Friday. So make sure you all use your vote tomorrow no matter what and even if we can't salvage the situation, you're at least entitled to bitch about it for the next five years!