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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Are you looking forward to the election?
Tony Blair leaves Downing Street to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament ahead of a General Election
The Prime Minister has announced that a general election will be held on Thursday 5 May.

The prime minister has asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on Monday April 11 ahead of the campaign.

Speaking in Downing Street after his audience with the Queen, he said his "mission for the third term" was to entrench economic stability and public service investment.

Conservative leader Michael Howard accused Mr Blair's government of losing the plot and Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy said he would focus on people's hopes not fears.

Are you looking forward to the campaign? What will be the key issues? Send us your views using the form on the right hand side of the page.


The following comments reflect the balance of views received so far:

Perhaps politicians of all persuasions should stop blaming the public for apathy and address the real issues, like wealth and inequality. Why should the public be interested in the minor populist issues that capture the campaign and change depending on the tabloid headlines?
Yannis, Canterbury, Kent

Voting is a basic democratic right that people should exercise, not waste. However, as the campaign will have no effect on the way I vote, I would prefer to have the election tomorrow and get it over with for another four or five years. As that won't happen, I'll have to settle for not watching the news for the next five weeks.
Robert Carroll, Worcester Park, Surrey

We live in a democracy and the choice not to vote is as valid as choosing to vote for one of the parties
Keith, Wakefield
How can we make voting compulsory? We live in a democracy and the choice not to vote is equally as valid as choosing to vote for one of the political parties. I am sick of hearing the word apathy being used to describe people who choose not to vote. For many it is a conscious choice and an attempt to highlight that this 'two-horse' race that we find ourselves in is neither fair nor particularly democratic.
Keith, Wakefield

Can we please have a box on our ballot papers saying "none of the above"? Also, I find it laughable that our elected leader has to ask an unelected member of the Windsor family to dissolve parliament. Iraq and other newly democracies/invaded countries must look at this somewhat quizzically!
Brian Steele, Edinburgh Scotland

Talking with my colleagues this morning it would seem that there is a general feeling of despair. There is no longer a party which represents the issues which we are passionate about. Many of the decisions made by the prime minister have been highly questionable. What does one do, vote for the best of the worst - or abstain and have no voice at all?
Julia Galleway, London

I am not exactly looking forward towards the election but I think this will make a great change whether it follows the promises the campaign pledged or not. I disagree with the fact in not voting because it is also the responsibility of the citizens to decide the future of their own country. My hopes are really low though whether the campaigns are going to fulfil their promises.
Diandra, Jakarta

Why don't we actually vote for smaller parties standing for values we agree with
Ben Drake, York, UK
More people than ever before are saying we don't want to vote for any of the main parties - not surprising given their over-riding concern to serve the interests of big business rather than ordinary people. May I suggest then, rather than not voting or spoiling our ballots (neither of which the politicians really care about in the slightest) why don't we actually vote for smaller parties standing for values we agree with, for example the Greens, Respect, Socialists? They may or may not win seats but at least our votes will be counted for what we actually believe. And the more that happens, the more over time it can start to push those values back into politics. Sorting out our political system is a long-term problem, but a real challenge to the political mainstream in this election could be a useful first step.
Ben Drake, York, UK

I will definitely be voting but I feel nothing but despair because of the lack of a credible opposition. The best I can hope for is that Labour will be returned with a greatly weakened majority. I fear the future holds nothing but further tax increases and greater state control.
Rob Lovett, Swindon, Wiltshire

Am I looking forward to polling day? No. Why? I am in a safe seat and with the first past the post system my vote is pointless. At least if we had a preferential or proportional system of voting then my vote would have meaning. The main parties have a vested interest in keeping the current system as it increases their vote and makes it hard for small parties (and even the Liberals) to get in parliament. The big parties real disdain is also shown by the election being on a Thursday and not Saturday - if you want people to be interested at least have elections so people can stay up and see the result!
Jack, Essex

The three 'main' parties have absolutely nothing new to offer
Simon Ward, York, UK
Until such time as a 'none of the above' appears on the ballot paper, I will do what I have always done - either vote for an independent candidate or, if none is standing in my constituency, spoil my ballot paper. The three 'main' parties have absolutely nothing new to offer.
Simon Ward, York, UK

Politicians are not miracle workers. So many voters (and non voters) think that politicians can radically change their lives and make them HAPPY! This is impractical. Politics provides the framework in which, hopefully, we can work and live together in some sort of harmony. But it will never be perfect. Happiness and fulfilment can only come from within oneself. Do vote, but don't have unrealistic expectations.
Ricahrd Foskett, Weald

No, I'm not looking forward to that cheated feeling I had last time when a party with less than 50% of the popular vote and, more importantly, more votes against it than for managed to win a huge parliamentary majority. So the majority will again be ruled by the minority.
Paul Sherrington, Basingstoke, UK

I am shocked by all the whinging and sceptic views on this board. Wake-up Britain this is your only chance in four years to make your opinion register. If you don't vote, you've failed yourselves as well as the country.
Ivan, Teddington, UK

Although I've always voted Labour, mainly to keep the Tories out, none of the main parties represent my views
Ben, London
Although I've always voted Labour, mainly to keep the Tories out, none of the main parties represent my views. If there was a mainstream party that stood up to big business and had a genuine interest in reducing social and economic inequality then I'd vote for it, but while the antiquated first past the post system still operates that's never going to happen. I do still hope Labour get back in though - at the end of the day they are better than the Tory nightmare.
Ben, London

I'm looking forward to the election campaign but the thought of a third term for Blair is too awful to contemplate.
Christopher Daniels, Redhill

Like many other people I have nothing but contempt for the arrogance of most of the politicians from all of the parties. I distrust them all and believe that the most effective way to voice my protest is not to vote, although I will do so extremely reluctantly and with a heavy heart.
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

No. Living in Northern Ireland, I am denied the opportunity to vote for two of the three main UK parties. Elections here are fought on one issue only and as such I hate them.
G T, N Ireland

Am I going to vote? It's like asking am I going to eat, sleep or drink. Many people have fought throughout our history to allow us the opportunity to choose who governs us; I'm not going to ever forget that.
Gareth Clear, London, England

Howard talked of choice today. Yes we do have a choice. Do we accept the 21st century with its diversity and multiculturalism? Or do we go back to prejudice and racism? Howard and his Tories will lose and deservedly so!
Rob, Northfleet

I believe there is going to be a massive surge towards the Lib-Dem's in this coming election. Who remembers Tony Blair's words for his massive 97-election victory: "Education, education, education." Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?
Rob Bluck, Birmingham UK

Everyone who is fed up of MPs should go out and vote for an independent candidate if one exists, rather than not voting or spoiling their paper. What's the point of that? The worst that could happen is that the current lot manage to scrape home with a bloody nose. The best that could happen is all the current crop of cronies are kicked out and the 'party system' is thrown into disarray! It sickens me that people just lie down and let these idiots in because "my vote won't change anything".
Paul, Cardiff

What on Earth for? Who cares whether Old Tories or New Tories form the next government? Now, if only I could have voted in the election that really mattered to us, when our real ruler - Dubya - was re-elected...
John Rogers, Bristol, England

Some people on this forum are calling for a party to vote for which is secular, republican (in the anti-royalist sense), and supportive of proportional representation. Look no further than the Green Party. They stand for all these values. Have a glance through their published policy commitments on their website and I think you'll be surprised. This is not a single issue party, but one which stands for social justice as much as ecological protection. They've got my vote.
Steven Burns, Reading, UK

If less than 50% of the electorate vote, does any government have a mandate to rule? I'm fed up with the lot of them, and wish there was a better way of doing things.
Daniel Dignam, Cambridge

I'm looking forward to it in the sense that it is likely to be more contested and the result closer
Mark Kidger, Bristol, UK
Yes, I'm looking forward to it in the sense that it is likely to be more contested and the result closer. The last 25 years have established firmly that elected dictatorships where a party of whatever colour has a huge majority and can do what it wants make bad governments. In another sense though this is a totally unnecessary election with a government seemingly only calling the poll now to avoid the danger of things going badly wrong later at some point.
Mark Kidger, Tenerife, Spain/Bristol, UK

I am looking forward for the election as I am now 18. The views expressed by people appear to be that nobody represents them. Well, I'll be voting for Labour as they've created a strong economy and provided a equal society for all. Howard superficially appears to fight for issues that matter but he has no real way of implementing them if he is going to cut taxes. Where will the money come from?
John Elfred Hughes , Llanrwst, Conwy, UK

Until proportional representation is bought in my vote is a waste as I am in a solid Tory constituency.
Bob, UK

I am constantly annoyed by the commonly held view that people have fought and died for our right to vote therefore we owe it to them to make our opinions heard. I would argue the contrary: that it is the politicians' responsibility to ensure that both they and their policies are worthy of such a hard-gained accolade. Surely having trustworthy politicians with highly developed arguments that we can rally behind and believe in leaves a greater legacy to our fallen forebears? If you consider this point then apathy cannot always be the product of the electorate.
Andy, Hants, UK

By abstaining, all people are doing is giving parties such as the BNP a bigger share of the overall total, which is shameful in itself. If you don't like the local policies of your party, talk to your representative. There must be a party that has your interest, whether it be Labour, Green, Tory, Lib Dem, Respect or an independent candidate.
Ross Tarbard, Leicester

As people have died for my right to vote, I will attend the Polling Office
Rob, London
As people have died for my right to vote, I will attend the Polling Office. However, I have nothing but contempt for all our current politicians and will be spoiling my ballet paper.
Rob, London, UK

I urge everyone to at least try to vote. Apathy causes disastrous outcomes. Having relied on the NHS recently, I fear if Howard's lot get in I will not be able to afford private health care. I and others will either die or end up crippled due to financial shortcomings. Iraq was a bad decision but us at home have a decision either to vote for survival or be forgotten.
Tim McMahon, Pennar, Wales

The unpredictability of this election shows why we need a fixed term parliament. The Prime Minister should not have the power to decide the timing of elections. It is undemocratic and too easily abused. The government has already been abusing these powers: publishing bills they knew stood no chance of becoming law to 'campaign' while getting round rules on spending in elections. I just hope that the turnout this year will go up. It is embarrassing to see the number of people who can be bothered to vote fall at every election
Alastair, Plymouth, UK

Yes, this will be the first time I can legally vote and after studying politics at university, I'm all geared up to mark my x
Neil, England

I'd prefer it not to be 5th May. It will spoil my wife's birthday if Blair wins again on 5th May. Can we have it a week later on 12th May?
Dougie Lawson, Basingstoke, UK

The only positive outcome here would be Labour taking a mauling at the ballot box, Blair stepping down and the infinitely more honourable Brown taking over. I am dreading this campaign; it will be presidential, insubstantial, and insincere. Just like the government, in fact.
Pete Fenelon, York, UK

The campaign will be a slanging match with precious little factual information. But I will vote. To all you non-voters: vote for a party promising Proportional Representation - at least make a start towards a system where your vote always counts.
Neil, Edinburgh, Scotland

Irrespective of what you think of the players, this promises to be a very interesting election
Henry, Ilford
Yes I am! Irrespective of what you think of the players, this promises to be a very interesting election. But most of all I am looking forward to the amazing graphics that will be used to support John Snow and his swing-o-meter.
Henry, Ilford

What is with this British obsession with whining? I barely see one positive comment on this page. I love living in a democracy and this May I'm going to bring down warmonger Blair with a tick in the box. This is more exiting to me than any World Cup or Olympics because it actually affects real events and real lives.
Chris Winks, UK

Why? We live in a one party state. The party just has two names: Labour or Conservative. Both faces promise the earth and then rob us blind. Then again, for four weeks our over-paid, arrogant, masters will be forced into the guise of "your obedient servant".
N J, Cambridge, England.

The only honourable thing to do is to abstain. One does not buy a soft drink simply because one finds the others less palatable! If you vote they will assume that you agree with them and act accordingly. If enough people don't vote they will have to pull themselves together and put the politics back into politics.
David Edwards, Wolverhampton UK

It's an unfair two-party system that works to benefit the Labour and Tory party big business sponsors
Charlie, Billericay
I'm not even 18 and I'm sick of the political ping-pong of spin and hypocrisy. It's an unfair two-party system that works to benefit the Labour and Tory party big business sponsors, not ordinary working-class families like mine that are the backbone of this nation.
Charlie, Billericay

Voting in a General Election should be compulsory. This has proven to work in Australia. If you don't vote you have no right to complain about the health service, education, asylum and immigration, crime, council tax, the environment, taxation or the price of cigarettes and/or alcohol. Everybody has an opinion on one or more of the topics listed above.
John Porter, West Sussex

People have fought and died to make sure I have a vote - those who do not vote are guilty of demeaning those who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy today. I will be voting on whatever day the election is called.
Paul, Winchester, Hants

How can I look forward to an election when no party represents my views? Show me the party that will raise taxes and redistribute wealth along the Scandinavian model and I'll happily vote for them! Our parties all stand for capitalism gone mad with not thought for the benefits a more equal society would bring to us all, rich and poor.
Anne Robinson, P G Scotland

The main problem is that no matter who you vote for the government get in.
Simon, London

Saying we should vote because our ancestors fought for the vote is a poor excuse. What our ancestors gave us was the choice and the opportunity to vote if we choose. I want to vote but the choices are limited. This is where democracy backfires. You have the choice, but you may only choose who is on offer. I could always run myself but my overdraft doesn't extend to millions!
Lizzy, Nottingham

I hope all the people vote on the record of this Government, and choose wisely. However, wouldn't it be nice to have an option to select 'none of the above' on the ballot sheet, to indicate the total dissatisfaction with all the parties? Now that may be a true reflection of this countries feelings.
Stuart, Norwich

It is all a big bore and it's all lies anyway
IM, Scotland
No absolutely not - it is all a big bore and it's all lies anyway. If there was proportional representation it might be worth it. I have in the past voted for candidates who promised but never delivered their campaign promises.
IM, Scotland

I can not understand people not voting, without the vote you are nothing, use it or lose it, there are alternatives to the big three. Alternatively scrap the vote and return full devine power to the Monarchy and the Lords.
Paul, Nottingham, UK

Whoever you vote for the same kind of insincere professional politician wins, which is why I support the campaign to add a "None of the above" box to the voting form.
Richard Read, London, UK

Apathy has always won in the more recent UK general elections. If you don't vote you shouldn't complain.
Kevin Ward, Glasgow, UK

I am excited about exercising my right to vote - it is the first time I have been old enough to vote in a general election. This forum, however, has thoroughly disheartened me. Almost without exception, these comments are depressing rehashes of boring, unimaginative, curmudgeonly politician hating that adds nothing to any kind of informed debate. It's not clever and proves nothing to say.
James Goldsbrough, Cambridge, UK

They will have to make it compulsory
Geoff, Maidstone, Kent
If the politicians wish to increase the percentage of the vote, they will have to make it compulsory. The public in general will only accept this if there is a box to tick for a withheld vote, or 'none of the above'. This box MUST be implemented as an option BEFORE voting is made compulsory or the public will not accept it!
Geoff, Maidstone, Kent

The elections don't make any difference. A party goes in and says they do some good but all they do is increase taxes and try and fix the mistakes of the party before. And after all that they are hated and kicked out for the next lot to try and fix their mistakes with yet more tax.
Colin, Aberdeen

There will be a pathetic turnout, which shows just how unrepresentative the current parties are of the people they are supposed to represent. Neither of the major parties flatter me.
Jono Pike, Exeter

I will vote come election day as I have every time since I became eligible as I firmly believe that nobody should forego the opportunity to vote. At the same time I can see why some feel it is futile as, let's face it, all we are voting for is which flavour of bi-party totalitarianism is more agreeable to us.
Richie, UK

As a 72 year old grandmother who has voted in every local and national election since I became eligible to vote, this year I will not be exercising my franchise. This is my only means of registering my distrust of all politicians and a distinct feeling that "party" comes before country.
Esla, England

I wish we had a system like in Australia where you get to tick a box if you don't want to vote for any of the parties
Stu, Newcastle
I wish we had a system like in Australia where you get to tick a box if you don't want to vote for any of the parties. That might wipe a smug smile from politicians when more people say that then vote for the parties!
Stu, Newcastle

I realised long ago that it isn't government that controls the UK economy but the City of London. As no party seems willing to take on the City then nobody is worth voting for.
Dick, Scotland

I am looking forward to this election as it will be my very first chance to vote - I'll be 18 just days before polling day! However, I have seen very little campaigning for votes from my age group so I am completely undecided.
James Armitage, Folkestone, UK

I am fed up with these "None of the above" bores who crawl out of the woodwork every four to five years. If you don't think any party represents your own views, stand for parliament yourself, or form your own party, rather than whingeing from the sidelines about how you don't want to vote for any of the official parties.
Colin, London

There should be a greater drive for proportional representation
Rick, Somerset
As a Dutch national I am not allowed to vote in this country that takes my taxes, and where other people influence my life. And before you all say why don't you go back if you don't like it here. I live here because I like it. I think it is only fair that I can vote nationally for the people that influence my live. I can still vote for the Dutch parliament, but how does this affect me? Also there should be a greater drive for proportional representation, as this is the only fair method.
Rick, Somerset

I'm not looking forward to the election campaign. The past two elections have been foul enough, even when, on each occasion, the Government had the realistic prospect of winning a huge majority. This time it's different and my greatest hope is that the media will expose any and all dishonest behaviour, whoever is the guilty party. Today's case shows that the prospect of vote fraud is high; countries we describe as corrupt do not have postal voting.
Terry, London, UK

I find it irritating when one MP accuses the other of something. Why can't they just present their manifestos so that the public can decide. Well at least I don't have the problem of hearing the bickering anymore - I moved to Denmark a year or so ago, and they don't have inter-party bickering here, hooray!
Rowland, Denmark

This is a good time to go on holiday and return just in time to vote, or not.
Roger, UK

To those who say that voting is a waste of time I say: Shame on you.
Mike Wheeler, Hull, England
To those who say that voting is a waste of time I say: Shame on you. Your forefathers fought to keep this country out of the hands of tyrants and dictators. As I get older I realise that no change is instant. If you don't like this government there is only one way to remove them. This is the UK not Iraq.
Mike Wheeler, Hull, England

Vote none of the above.
Christopher Teague, Wales

I am very much looking forward to the general election, and to seeing the Labour party securing another term in office. What amuses me the most, however, are those people who feel they can make a difference by abstaining, yet they can be bothered to contribute to this forum to announce the fact. Believe me, when Labour win their next majority - however big or small - they rightly won't care a jot how many people 'bothered' to abstain.
Andy Hutchcraft, Peterborough, UK

Andy Hutchcraft from Peterborough - you have just summed up all that is wrong with the Labour party (and the Tories for that matter). It's quite obvious that they have only self interest at heart rather than the good of the country, which, incidentally, is what our forefathers actually did fight for.
Jim, London

With a majority of over 150 why are we having an election 14 months early? Is it not time to have a fixed term Parliament unless there is a no confidence vote instead of the present speculation? We will all then know when the election is and it can not be manoeuvred for political reasons.
Peter, Weston-super-Mare

I can hardly wait! The cut and thrust of high powered politics is something my whole family enjoys. The fervour and excitement of election night is only punctured when the victor is announced. Then all my emotions of the past weeks come out and tears stream down my cheeks whoever the victor. It makes me so proud to be British.
Richard Stone, Lowestoft, UK

For all of you contributors that are asking for a "none of the above" box, remember: spoiled ballot papers are counted. If you are the winner and there are more spoiled ballots than your majority, that is a message: we are prepared to go to the polls, but not to vote for you lot!
Simon Richardson, London, UK

I look forward with optimism to the forthcoming election. For the first time in my life (I'm in my 20's), there is a significant chance of improved democracy through a three party system. The Lib Dems have both intellectual and moral credibility. For these reasons they have my vote.
James, Bournemouth

I hope the average person can see through all the spin
Neil Shaw, Doncaster, UK
Despite what the parties say about this elections I can see some mud slinging coming over the horizon. It would be a sad day for politics if we start taking lessons off the Americans, I hope the average person can see through all the spin to see the issues.
Neil Shaw, Doncaster, UK

Yes I am! This will be a time when all free thinking people can exercise their vote in total privacy and confidentiality without being subject to harassment, bullying and intimidation of political correctness and spin.
Bill, England

My vote is going to The Monster Raving Loony Party, at least they admit they are loony unlike the others.
Brian, Bristol

No. There are too many people voting against Labour making it a near certainty that the Conservatives will win. A truly worrying thought.
Catrin, Aberystwyth Wales

The whiter than white party - tough on crime etc etc etc. My kids go to a school I choose - yours can go where I tell you. Do not mention `the war`. What a mess they have turned this country into. The economy - why are there so many means tested pensioners - ask Gordon Brown - he started the pensions mess.
Bob Mackay, Aberdeen - Scotland

Why is it important to have this expensive farce? The EU are our masters now. They make our laws. The rule of English Law is over - until we wake up.
Roger, Whitwick England

I'll be glad when it's all over
Paul Johnson, Seoul, South Korea
This will be the third general election in which I will be able to vote, but I still have no plans to do so. I'll be glad when it's all over and the lying, cheating idiots start doing some real work again.
Paul Johnson, Seoul, South Korea

I am going to spoil my ballot paper, and will not be voting until there is a party that is republican and secular.
Martin, Coventry, UK

I'm really looking forward to this election! I've made up my mind to ignore all mainstream media coverage. I will make my voting decision based on party literature that arrives in my letterbox. Points will be added for expressing political views resembling my own/simple and clear use of the English language, and subtracted for using large percentages of the leaflet to criticise opposing parties/not bothering to leaflet at all. This should be an interesting election campaign indeed!
Kate Chaplin, Oxford

I look forward to watching the results through the early hours, especially when there are shock results. Nothing like seeing a politician squirm.
Neil Small, Scotland

Not really, as it basically boils down to deciding which bunch I dislike the least, then voting for them!
Mike, Solihull, UK

I would be very much looking forward to voting in this election, were I not disenfranchised. I find it ironic that that there is so much voter apathy back home, when I sit here stranded on foreign shores gnashing my teeth impotently as I watch this government dismantling our constitutional safeguards and those of my (as yet unborn) children. But then, according to most Labour politicians, we long-term expatriates are just "damned tax-dodging Tories" anyhow.
Michael Deman, Cairo, Egypt

I don't want to vote for any party whatsoever
Susan Richards, Islington, UK
In a time where none of the parties seem to have any real idea on what the general public want, and an age of voluntary voting, who really cares? I will be abstaining this year - I don't want to vote for any party whatsoever. When they start talking about things, and making promises that will make a difference, then I will start voting again.
Susan Richards, Islington, UK

I'm looking forward to hearing truly revolutionary policies - not just slightly differing flavours. Despite Labour throwing billions of our money to improve our quality of life, they're failing. Let's diminish the "nanny state" and let individuals spend their own money themselves. Let our politicians receive a decent wage (without getting top-ups for being the assistant minister for blah, blah, blah,) but they should not be able to be paid for any other job or position (including after-dinner speaking etc...) and then we'll start to get the sleaze out of British Politics.
Wynne Beaumont, St. Albans, UK

Oh dear, politicians telling us how good they are. I will be leaving this country until the elections are over!
Richard, London UK

Can't wait! Britain is far too dominated by Labour, and we must vote tactically to reduce their majority so that democracy is stronger in Britain. Hopefully by the election people will have realised how poor Lib Dem policies are and vote Conservative.
James, Sheffield, UK

As a single person with no dependants, who the heck do I vote for? It seems to me that both parties are competing as to who will give most to families - part of the population which already receives more than its fair share of the country's wealth. Surely, no one in the UK in this day and age should HAVE children if they cannot support them. Demographic changes reveal that single person households are the fastest growing are of the population. Yet, it seems that we are the ones penalised more and more - despite taking the least from the economy. Add to this the fact that we have to choose between a party which has consistently lied throughout its tenure (Labour), a party which still doesn't seem to be united (Conservative) or a party which is too wishy-washy (LibDems) I may have to abstain.....
David, Cambs, UK

I think we should have a separate vote for local MPs and the Prime Minister
Jenny, Gloucester
I'm looking forward to voting for the first time, but feel my vote will be swayed by my "anyone but Tony Blair" mentality. I think we should have a separate vote for local MPs and the Prime Minister; whereas some local labour MPs may be very good, I would not trust Tony Blair in charge of anything...a third term for him is frankly terrifying.
Jenny, Gloucester

I'm single, live in a council house, work full time and pay taxes and NI at scandalous rates. It makes little or no difference to me who wins. That said, if I believed any politician could give us enough doctors, dentists, decent adequate hospitals, playgrounds for the children, better pensions for the elderly, more accessible housing and effective public transport, they would get my vote. I've been eligible to vote for 30 years, and have watched the steady decline of all the above. I feel I can rely on Tony Blair to deliver any of them about as much as I can rely on winning the lottery.
Simon

I always look forward to the general election and this year is no different. The templates of the two main parties' campaign have been set over the past couple of weeks and I expect, like many I should imagine, a Labour win but with a diminished majority and gains made by the Lib Dems.
James, London, UK

As I am not a labour voter the whole thing is a giant waste of time
Cameron Ballinger, Edinburgh
Why bother with it? Labour hold a massive majority where I live and have not come near losing the seat in 50 years or so. As I am not a labour voter the whole thing is a giant waste of time - my vote is ineffectual and pointless.
Cameron Ballinger, Edinburgh

We don't vote for a party of promise, we vote for the party who we hope will do the least damage. Tony has done more than enough.
Brian M Keith, Ellesmere, England

This is probably the most important election for the future of the country for many years. The problem is the mediocre offering from all sides is so dire that many people will not bother to vote. Another few years of New Labour and the only work left will be for Government funded bodies that produce meaningless reports. All of the wealth creating business will have been destroyed. What a sad ending for what was once a great country.
Chris Parker, Bucks

I haven't worked out how many election papers I get this time round, but if it's 3 I'll vote as follows: 1 vote for Conservative, 1 vote for LibDem, 1 vote for SNP. Labour have lied and cheated their way through several years now. I've never voted for them before so I certainly won't be starting now.
Buzz, Glasgow

Ugh, no - just make these posturing fools go away!
Sophy, Cambridge, UK

This will be an interesting election. There's little difference between the parties on major issues. But on the minor issues, there are probably quite a number of voters who will take the opportunity to send a painfully clear message to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
David Anderson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

I shall be voting, but only tactically against the Lib Dems!
Neil Wallace, Sheffield, England
What does it matter? The 'government' always wins and the rules are then set by the establishment/big business. I shall be voting, but only tactically against the Lib Dems! Whatever happens, we mustn't allow Kennedy any influence so that he can sell the country down the river.
Neil Wallace, Sheffield, England.

I'm really looking forward to it. I imagine Labour will stay in power, and I hope the Lib Dems become the new credible opposition.
Tony, UK

I would be looking forward to it more if I thought there was a chance that this disgraceful government would finally be voted out. Sadly, it looks remote.
Andy, Cheshire, England

Bring it on, I say. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to finally 'kill' off the Tories, once and for all.
Dave, Croydon, UK

Well done Helen Petty. 'Why should I when there will be nothing in it for me anyway' - you have summed up the selfish views of a large part of the electorate. Why don't you try and decide which party would be best for the county after weighing up their policies - it is not all about your personal gain. People criticise our shallow politicians - but this contribution shows you get the leaders you deserve.
Matt, Watford

I'm with the compulsory voting and 'none of the above' tick box brigade. But that'll never happen - politicians are too scared to allow that.
Dave, Chelmsford UK

Already made my mind up to give a tactical vote against Labour, so a fast forward button to the morning of the 6th would be good.
Bryan Crawford, Stirling, UK

I hope the BBC coverage will recognise the fact that "the major parties" are very different in Scotland and Wales compared to England. Coverage from London has traditionally only focussed on labour, conservative and liberal statements and policies. But here in Wales Plaid Cymru is the second party and therefore the official opposition.
Steve Lake, Pontypridd, Wales

At least when it is announced it will put a stop to this pointless media speculation
John, UK
At least when it is announced it will put a stop to this pointless media speculation. The job of the news media is to report news. As always happens though they seem determined to talk about something that hasn't even happened yet!
John, UK

What is the point of it all, I have no children at home, no mortgage (renting privately), work full time and lose a lot of my wages to tax, and as there is never any incentive given from any party to make me want to vote for them. No I am not looking forward to the election why should I when there will be nothing in it for me anyway.
Helen Petty, Thorpe, Nr Driffield United Kingdom

This is going to be a difficult one. I feel I should vote but for which party? I cannot possibly vote for Labour as they took us into an immoral and illegal war as well as lying about the reasons, the memories of the last conservative government are too strong to even consider them and the Liberal Democrats want to raise taxes. I think that as Labour will probably win, the best option may be to vote tactically against them as an attempt to reduce their majority.
Kulu, Basingstoke, UK

I am looking forward to getting it over with. If Labour are elected for a third term I will emigrate. Labour is destroying business in the UK with its red tape and stealth taxes.
Chris, London, UK

Mud-slinging and posturing before elections is what causes voter apathy
Ali, UK
Let's just get on with it, this period of mud-slinging and posturing before elections is what causes voter apathy. The economy is going to be the big battleground, and Labour's record there is solid.
Ali, UK

For the first time since I have been eligible to vote (25 years) I am seriously considering withholding my vote due to the way the 'campaign' has been conducted so far. Do the parties think we are so dumb that they need to tell us that the other parties' policies are bad and their policies are the best for the country? I want them to simply present their policies, state the benefits and, importantly, state the costs. We can then make our own comparisons and judgements. Won't happen of course. To them I'm just some naive bumpkin who needs to be told what's good and what's bad. On another note. I think all voting forms should have a 'vote withheld' box. That'll separate the truly disillusioned from the lazy. And just to add a bit of spice, the 'vote withheld' count should be read out by the returning officer.
Steve, London, UK

I really enjoy it when things don't go according to plan like when John Prescott punched that guy who egged him
Neil, Glasgow
I love elections. I really enjoy it when things don't go according to plan like when John Prescott punched that guy who egged him - brilliant. The best bit is election night itself waiting for the votes to come in.
Neil, Glasgow

I am indeed. Seeing the Tories getting thrashed always brings a warm feeling to my heart.
Craig, London

I have no interest in the election at all. As usual, the major parties dismally fail to impress.
Andy, Banbury, UK

I think the very fact we have to speculate over the date of our own country's general election is a farce. Why can't the public be told the date of the election well in advance like the US election so we'd have some time to think over our (already too limited) choices.
Amisha, London, UK

I'm looking forward to the campaign but I can't shake this feeling that labour and the Tories will concentrate on people's fears and prejudices rather than focusing on the in-equality and in-justice around our country.
Jamie C, Glasgow

I want to see a "none of the above" tick box
Urd Yggradsill
I want to see a "none of the above" tick box. This would show how many people are disillusioned by the current parties.
Urd Yggradsill

Fortunately I am going to be out of the country from tomorrow until just before the putative election day, in an area where we can only get CNN etc for world news. I'm really going to miss all the noise and abuse and the vacuity of the talking heads and pundits who will be dragged out of their deserved obscurity. I shall be back in time to cast my vote against Phoney Tony and his Cronies
Chris Davison, Middlesbrough, UK

The sooner the better! Although given the heavy bias of the UK election system I fear we won't see any significant difference to the makeup of parliament.
Brian, Newbury, UK

Voting should be compulsory and each ballot paper should have a box 'none of the above'. Then the politicians would learn what most people thought of them.
Leslie Mustoe, Loughborough

With postal voting and expected low turnout the validity of the result will be severely in doubt
Alan, Slough
With postal voting and expected low turnout the validity of the result will be severely in doubt. Goodbye democracy.
Alan, Slough

Couldn't we have the option to vote against a party if we don't want to vote for a party? And subtract the votes against from the votes for to decide who wins? A lot of people will vote for the party most likely to defeat the party they don't like, rather than for a party they really support. This is clearly flawed, and is why we appear to have a 2-party system.
Duncan Corps, Knebworth, England

The key issue in the upcoming election campaign will be "Can we trust Tony Blair?" - I think everyone knows the answer to that question.
Paul, Milton Keynes, England

I am looking forward to the campaign, as I always do, but the apparent intention of Mr Howard to court the xenophobic vote is an unwelcome development.
Michael Gibson, Durham

I just hope the announcement includes the removal of the postal vote (which I am forced to use). Only those with limited mobility should have this option. Not much chance I know, but you can hope.
A Sweeting, Leicester, UK

Politicians lying through their teeth about both themselves and their opponents
James, London
Ugh. No. Politicians lying through their teeth about both themselves and their opponents. Smear campaigns, scare tactics, media frenzies. I will try and avoid the election at all costs.
James, London




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