Some say this is the tightest election in living memory. Others say it’s the dullest. But I’m calling it: it’s the most personality-driven.
Despite some parties’ campaigns hinging on a series of ad hominem attacks, the sensible and perceptive among you will remember what we go into that booth to vote for: policies.
It would be easy to describe the MP for Romsey and Southampton North in glowing terms. Caroline Nokes keeps her expenses in check and has one of the highest response rates to constituents. However, her voting record tells a darker story. Here’s why I’m saying “No to Nokes” on 7 May.
1) She voted to raise the tuition fee cap to £9,000 a year
That’s despite her constituency containing (by my count) six secondary schools* and two university halls of residence. And it could get worse. The Tories recently refused to rule out yet another hike.
2) She voted against same-sex marriage
That was in the bill’s second reading, which was the only one Nokes turned up for. It was a free vote, so she was under no pressure from her party to vote either way.
3) She voted against tackling “rip off” rail fares
In fact, she supported rebuffing a government-imposed cap to increase ticket prices. That’s despite the number of Romsey residents who commute to London and elsewhere daily. And don’t think you’d be better off hopping in the car. Nokes said no to reducing VAT on fuel, too.
4) She voted to hike VAT to 20%
And she’s taken every opportunity to keep it there. It’s the tax that hits the poorest hardest. At the time of the original vote in 2011, the ONS said the poorest fifth spent almost twice as much of their disposable income on VATable goods as the richest fifth.
5) She turned her back on the worst off…
Supporting the bedroom tax, denying certain benefits to cancer patients and the long-term disabled, and capping welfare increases at 1% rather than 2.2%, in line with prices. That’s a cut in real terms.
6) …While giving a helping hand to the rich
Slashing income tax from 50% to 45% for those earning £150,000 or above. Bringing the main rate of corporation tax down from 28% to 21%, well below the OECD average. Voting against taxing bank bonuses — the greed-inducing incentives that plunged this country into recession — which would have been spent creating 100,000 jobs and building 25,000 homes.
Please, let’s not have another five years of this.
* Mountbatten, Romsey, Hampshire Collegiate School, Test Valley, Cantell, and St George Catholic College.
Image credit: The Conservative Party