As I wrote here a few days ago, I had not at the time returned my postal vote. I have now done so - in fact I sent it off last Friday, so it was probably delivered only yesterday, the first day after the Bank Holiday. I also indicated in a previous post that I was considering putting in a sort of 'protest' vote for the local Publican Party, which is campaigning, principally, against a smoking ban in pubs. My 'protest' would have been on the basis of civil liberties, to support the notion of keeping the State out of citizens' affairs as far as possible.
However, re-reading a post and the associated comments at A Gurn from Nurn (Graisg) in a post entitled Campaign gets cancerous?, has made me consider more seriously where my vote should go and re-assess whether my comment near the end of this post that "they [the Publican Party] at least seem like a harmless enough bunch"was not just too flippant, even for me. So I decided that, whatever I did, I was not going to vote for the Publican Party.
So how did I vote? Well, after a lot of soul-searching, I decided not to write 'NONE OF THESE' as I did at the last elections for the Scottish Parliament on both the FPTP ballot paper and the modified-PR ballot paper, and instead vote where my political instincts [mostly] lie - I voted 'Conservative'. I did this, to some extent, through gritted teeth, because there are a number of aspects of Conservative policy in the areas of social, economic and immigration policy that nake me question their motives. For example, are the worries I mentioned here, and alluded to in the comments to another of my posts about the believability of the Party's conversion to a policy of inclusivity to be ignored? Obviously not. Similarly, what I see as the political expediency illustrated by the timidity of the Conservative Party's economic aims, which allowed them to dispense in so cavalier a manner with the services of former Vice-Chairman [and very much a 'social conservative, too, of course] Howard Flight, must count as a negative factor.
On balance (admittedly not a very pronounced one), though, I consider the Conservative manifesto to be the most practical and achievable of any of the major Parties. I certainly don't want four or five more years of the so-called 'sound' economic management of Gordon Brown and I think that the LibDems economic policies would similarly push the UK further down Brown's route to long-term indebtedness for the country, even if their policy of opposing ID Cards is sounder than the Labour or Conservative stances. Not an easy choice. On the other hand, of course, my one vote here for a Conservative candidate is not [probably] very critical, as a Conservative victory here would imply an impending political earthquake throughout the country, which even the wildest opinion polls have not indicated is about to happen, even if I did hear one the BBC political correspondents (the one with the Northern Irish accent - his name escapes me for the present) on the 'Today' programme on BBC Radio4 this morning venture the idea that Michael Howard could be PM on Friday. This particular commentator has always struck me as a pretty sound judge of what is happening on matters he chooses to comment about, so while I am not convinced I am not willing to completely pooh-pooh his speculation. Only between 36 and 48 hours to go until the speculation will be over, though, unless postal voting does turn out to have been a shambles ...