Let’s face it, it was Britain’s worst kept secret but finally, after months of speculation, we now know that the General Election will take place on the 6th of May. Parliament has been dissolved and, around the UK, campaign posters are going up and candidates dusting off their loudspeakers and soapboxes. On this occasion, for the first time ever we will also get to see the three prime ministerial candidates – Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg – put through their paces in three televised debates, the first of which is on Thursday on ITV. The three potential chancellors of the exchequer – Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable – have already faced the cameras in their own special TV debate. Televised debates have long been a popular feature of the US presidential elections, and rightly or wrongly, there an individual’s performance on TV can make or break their candidacy. I was reading only last week that George Bush Senior partly lost his battle to win a second term in office because he looked at his watch towards the end of a TV debate and voters were unimpressed.
I wonder how our candidates will measure up and will their TV performance make a difference to the election? Will the TV debates sway us, or have we already made up our minds? I was recently in a waiting room where I spotted a copy of The Sun with David Cameron on the cover. Some wag had given poor Cameron a rather unflattering biro-makeover, the details of which are probably too offensive to go into here. Presumably that particular voter was not a floating one.
But, if you’re not already switched off by the election coverage, what do you want from a new government on the financial front – whether it’s the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, Labour, etc. or a coalition government if there is a hung parliament? Arguably the election will be fought on issues such as our enormous public deficit and the economic crisis. Do you agree, who do you trust to fix the economy and which other financial issues are important to you? Do you want to see the benefits system changed or more help for jobseekers? Do tax breaks for married couples tempt you or are they a turn-off?
What about the housing market and housing generally? Do you want to see more measures to help first time buyers or provide affordable housing? What about the yawning gap between the rich and poor in our country – do you believe the political parties are doing enough to fix this? Are you prepared to pay more taxes to solve these and other problems the UK faces or are we paying too many already? On a different track, what incentives should there be for small businesses and are the parties doing enough to support them? Finally – can you tell the difference between the main parties’ policies or are you struggling to do so? Will you be voting at all?! Is there anything else you want to comment on that I haven’t touched on here?
Sorry – lots of questions there but, whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear them so please do get in touch.
What do you want to see from a new government on the financial front? I’m interested to hear your opinions, so please leave a message and let me know. Thanks!
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