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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May 2005, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
UK voters' panel: Vanessa Walters

MEET THE PANEL
Vanessa Walters
Name: Vanessa Walters
Age: 27
Lives: Walthamstow, London
Works: Writer
Original voting intention: Labour
Voted: Liberal Democrats
In 10 words or less:
"Single city dweller into art and people"

I'm a Labour supporter but in this election I ended up voting for the Liberal Democrats.

It wasn't just about the Iraq war, although I was impressed by Charles Kennedy's plan for a phased withdrawal from Iraq.

I was also impressed with Mr Kennedy after talking to him on the BBC's Breakfast programme and after reading his party's manifesto.

But my vote was very much a protest vote to show Labour that I can't trust the party any more.

Labour has sold us out on the war, as well as top-up fees.

It was time to say "enough is enough". The results showed that I was not alone on this.

My vote for the Lib Dems shows just how far from the tree Labour has fallen.

VOTERS' PANEL: FINAL REACTION
It has abandoned some of its core principles under Blair.

A return to "old Labour" values will see my vote return to Labour.

I still see myself as a Labour voter, but not under this administration.

I am happy Labour has won, but now it has to listen to backbenchers and to disaffected Labour voters.

If I don't see this happening I won't vote Labour again.


Your comments:

I totally agree with Vanessa, we were sold out on the Iraq War and top-up fees, we didn't need to go to war under a false prospectus for Saddam to be removed; the US had made it clear that they were going in whether we went or not. Blair's habit of saying one thing and doing another and then relentlessly pretending that he hasn't is what turned me against Labour .
Kenneth Burnside

No one can deny that Tony Blair was the leading figure in the Labour party that brought them out of the doldrums. But l believe the thing that has done him more damage has been, and remains still, his style as PM. I expected great things from him but as time has gone on he has missed many an opportunity and there can be no doubt that he seriously misjudged the opinion of an ever growing number of people over Britain's role in Iraq. Labour won this election but Mr Blair has lost the confidence of the British people.
Steve Trotter, France

I agree completely with Vanessa. Charisma is a good quality for a leader to have, but integrity is far more important. It was wrong to alter the Labour Party merely to please the electorate. If a party's policies change with the opinions of the country, we will end up with a one-party system. I believe in Conservative values, but I am eager to see a return to a socialist, honest Labour Party. Then British elections can return to what they were meant to be: a sincere battle between left and right, both of which wish to make Britain better in their own ways.
Ronald Collinson, Whixall

You made the right choice Vanessa and hopefully the Labour Party and our Democracy can return to good order!
Ian Robertson, Glasgow, Scotland

I can only say the 'real' winners were the Lib Dems - OK, we did not get the seats we wanted, but we had the most support. The current system must go - it is totally unjust and unfair that Labour should be in power with such a small share of the vote. It just goes to prove they are totally out of touch with the public and the Tories only rely on their real true blue supporters.
Alex, Worcester, UK

I was hoping for a bit of schadenfreude and that the Tories would get in, then we could laugh at these one-issue (Iraq) voters. It is pretty pathetic how they vote for Lib Dems and secretly wish Labour get in.
Dan, London

Vanessa has expressed the views of so many so well - Thanks. Start a party?
Keith, Washington DC, USA

I think Vanessa is typical of many people who voted Lib Dem, as a protest. They can keep their conscience clean in the knowledge that under the current electoral system, a vote for the Lib Dems is effectively a vote for Labour.
Chris, Brazil

Your statement about Labour selling us out on the war makes me seethe with anger. Why is it that you leftist liberals have such an issue with the war in Iraq? Why is it that you liberals who champion the cause of basic human rights are prepared to allow decent human beings to suffer under a vile dictator while you rant and rave about weapons of mass destruction? This is a political issue. The welfare of a human being is a fundamental moral issue. It is precisely for this reason that I voted Conservative.
B Berry, New Malden

I am afraid Vanessa is just a fair weather voter who will eventually run out of a party to vote for.
John, Wales

I disagree with Vanessa. One should recognize that Tony Blair helped to resurrect Labour and it was his efforts which brought Labour out of the doldrums. It made New Labour electable. Mr Blair is a man of conviction and he firmly believed that Saddam had to be removed if the Iraqi people were to be spared from further suffering and mayhem; hence his support of George Bush.

So Blair should not be faulted on this. Every courageous leader makes mistakes: his support of George Bush because he liked the man was one of them; otherwise Blair has been a charismatic leader far more than Michael Howard or even Charles Kennedy.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium





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