Something Different?

So it looks like we might actually have ourselves a three-horse race coming up in May.  This makes the coming election a first in my lifetime.
I’ve only been of age to vote in one General Election so far, and last time, after weighing up the options, I voted Lib Dem, not believing for a second that they would win, but because they were the only party I felt I could vote for in clean conscience.
Four years on, I’d expected to feel more jaded about this election, not less.  I’d considered voting Labour, just to keep Cameron out of Number 10.  Then, as other threats loomed larger in my mind, I thought about throwing the Tories my vote, to make sure that – if my horrible premonitions turn out to be true – I’m in no way responsible for Peter Mandelson some day becoming Prime Minister.  By last week, I was swaying back towards my initial gut feeling that, like four years ago, I’d end up putting the cross in the Lib Dem box: another vote cast into the void, but at least it wouldn’t leave me feeling too dirty.
However, watching Thursday’s UK leaders’ debate, I got to feel something that I truly didn’t believe British politics could possibly evoke in me again.  Even now, I don’t entirely trust that the feeling was real.  It’s been so long, it’s hard to be sure.  But I’m pretty sure that was a tiny flicker of optimism.
There was only one person on stage who came out of that debate looking anything like a leader, and, it seems, I’m not the only member of the public who saw it that way, with polls pretty unanimously declaring yellow victory on the night.  I’m not saying the Liberal Democrats are going to win the election, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that they won’t, which is a start.

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