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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
UK voters' panel: Gary Watson

MEET THE PANEL
Gary Watson
Name: Gary Watson
Age: 42
Lives: Peterborough
Works: IT consultant
Last general election voted: Conservative
Current voting intention in local elections: Conservative
In 10 words or less:
"Family man, business owner, school governor, England rugby fan"

If it wasn't for two rather boring flyers through the door, you would never guess there was an election on Thursday.

No canvassing, no posters, no advertising - no wonder local elections have such a low turnout.

This is a big shame because they give people the biggest say in who controls the spending of vast amounts of money on a whole range of local projects and investments.

Peterborough seems to have few controversial election issues, the only one of note for my ward relates to the Secondary School Review, which sees 100m invested in modernising or replacing a number of schools in Peterborough.

This has been dogged by stories of budget deficits, mismanagement and delay. It sounds an ideal debating point for councillors, but they've kept very quiet.

In past years the BNP has made a bid to play on the increasing number of immigrants and asylum seekers.

They got what they deserved - a very cold reception and unanimous calls for their march to be banned. I don't recall any second attempt. Of course Peterborough has its problems, but immigration is definitely not one of them.

UK VOTERS' PANEL: LOCAL ELECTIONS
Although it shouldn't affect local elections, national politics always plays the biggest role in deciding where to put your cross. I'm no exception and I'll be voting Conservative mainly because of national issues.

The Labour government is falling apart, as is the National Health Service, the prisons and the armed forces - not because of the people working in them, but because of the government that controls them.

Peterborough's hospitals are near the top of the list for cleanliness, quality and efficiency but still face a multi-million pound deficit.

The media are giving Labour a rough ride and the Blair-Brown rift keeps resurfacing. True or not, Labour continually fails to deal with this and every other situation that arises, so there is no chance of trusting them at any level of government.

Local and national politics are different, but just now passing a nationwide message of dismay, disbelief and disgust to Mr Blair will do a lot for local politics.





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