With one week to go before the general election, I explain how I’ve gone from supporting the Conservatives in 2010 to supporting the Green Party five years later.
With the current election set to produce no clear winner, I cast my mind back to the last election five years ago, when the idea of having a coalition government and a hung parliament was a strange idea.
Having been brought up in a Conservative household, I had thought that Cameron would be the right person to lead the country out of recession and would be the change Britain needed. My parents had often told me that Labour always crash the economy when they come to power, with the Conservatives left to pick up the pieces. I was also quite eurosceptic at the time, and thought that the Conservatives would help reshape Europe or take us out of the EU altogether. When Cameron and Clegg entered into government together, I genuinely thought that this different approach, which had not been seen in the UK for a generation, may make a positive change on the country. How wrong I was!
As I progressed through secondary school, I saw the Tory-led coalition attack young people through cutting the Education Maintenance Allowance, scrapping AS levels and tripling tuition fees. Even AV, which I thought would be a much fairer voting system, was shot down through scaremongering by the No campaign. When I watched the vote on tuition fees, I felt betrayed by both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, who had promised to vote against any increase before the election. It was then that I decided that Nick Clegg and his party were not to be trusted.
My resentment towards the Tories only grew when I saw VAT rise, public sector pay frozen, and cuts to the NHS and welfare, which have crippled the health service and demonised those on benefits. By the time I went to university, I didn’t feel comfortable with any party, as no politicians seemed to be worth trusting. I would have to vote Labour to kick out the Tories, despite feeling that they didn’t offer a real alternative.
Studying at Sussex, a university with a reputation for being left-wing, I soon came across the Green Party, as their only MP is located in Brighton. After doing my research and listening to Caroline Lucas talk at debates on campus, I found their policies a breath of fresh air; finally I had found a party which offered something different to the others! A party which not only cared about the environment, but also rejected the austerity and the privatisation of public services. Their policies struck a chord with me and pretty soon my mind was made up. I’ll vote Green.
In my opinion, the Greens are the only party left that I can trust to stick to their word and the only ones that offer real change and an alternative message to that of the main parties. Their pledge to end the austerity that has crippled the NHS and scrap Trident really appeals to me and I can now no longer see myself supporting any other party. They offer a positive view of the future, which is why they will get my vote on May 7th.