Election day is finally here

Today the nation goes to the polls in an election which could define a generation.

This campaign has been dominated by a surge in support for the Liberal Democrats, brought about primarily by the televised leaders’ debates but with the potential to reshape politics for years to come.

The prospect of a hung parliament, and the electoral reform which could arise from a deal struck as a result, means today’s vote could have longer-lasting implications than any in recent memory.

In Dover and Deal the campaign, which sees Labour’s Gwyn Prosser facing down the challenges of Conservative candidate Charlie Elphicke and Liberal Democrat John Brigden, has been relatively subdued.

The lack of a divisive local issue, unlike in the race of 2005, means there has been little genuine confrontation between those who seek to become the constituency’s next MP.

Only when UKIP candidate Vic Matcham, a combative and opinionated Dovorian, spoke out against being excluded from hustings in the town last week did the contest seem to present any real excitement to the casual observer.

Five years ago it was the highly-emotive issue of the Port of Dover which ignited the campaign in the town, with Tory plans to sell off the port being central to ensuring Mr Prosser was returned to Westminster.

This time, it seems, lessons have been learnt from Conservative challenger Paul Watkins’ ill-fated candidacy in 2005.

All the prominent candidates for the Dover and Deal seat have spoken out in opposition to plans to privatise the port, in one swoop defusing the issue which had the greatest potential to spark the electoral race into life.

The future for the port in the weeks and months after the result is revealed early tomorrow morning is less clear-cut. This is an issue, like the need to tackle the deficit, which looks set to come to the fore only once the votes have been counted.

What is certain, however, is that the outcome of today’s election will shape the future of our country for years to come.

Dealing with the huge deficit, fixing a political system many have lost faith in, ensuring our schools and hospitals meet the very highest standards – all these important tasks facing the next government are directly affected by how we use our vote today.

So, whoever you support or even if you had no intention of voting, participate in this election and engage with the system, however broken it may seem. What is at stake is too important not to.

Coverage:

I will be updating my Twitter feed during the night, and of course there will be full coverage of the election results in next week’s Dover Express.

Predictions:

In Dover and Deal Charlie Elphicke unseats Gwyn Prosser with a majority somewhere in the region of 1,000 to 1,500 votes. Nationally a hung parliament now seems almost inevitable, but my suspicion is the Liberal vote could fall away on the day and the Tories may just snatch a narrow majority.

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3 thoughts on “Election day is finally here

  1. Interesting – I had a hunch that Gwyn would cling on against Charlie’s campaign and the exit polls suggest Dover will remain red. We’ll find out in a few hours’ time 🙂

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