Four weeks and counting

The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.

And so it begins. Yesterday’s announcement that the General Election is to be on May 6 puts an end to the ‘phoney election’ period and the campaigning moves up a gear.

In 30 days we may have a new party in power or we may not. We may have a hung Parliament, with all the instability that that brings.

The last time we had an election where the outcome seemed so uncertain was probably 1974 when Harold Wilson’s Labour was returned with 33 seats short of a majority, leading to a second election that October. Unless you count the 1992 contest which Labour was widely tipped to win, until the late John Smith’s proposed Budget and Neil Kinnock’s US-style Sheffield rally cocked it all up for them.

The Channel 4 TV Chancellors’ Debate between Alistair Darling, Vince Cable and George Osborne, effectively the televisual start of the election campaign, was interesting but it really served to show one thing.

That with a three-party first-past-the-post system, the guy in the middle (in this case Cable, both literally and politically) is always going to be the last horse home, no matter how much better he performs before the polls. And boy, did he perform, knocking spots off dear Darling and the boy George.

Every association and organisation is feverishly preparing their statements and manifestoes to try and get each political party to listen and take their concerns seriously.

I’m not going to list all their demands as we’ll be covering them all in our special election mini-site, but the key point is that whether it’s the CPA, the FMB, BMF, the Get Britain Building Campaign, the House Builders Federation, the National Housing Federation, or the Building and Construction News charters, we all want the same thing from the next Government.

We want the construction industry to be listened to. To be taken seriously. To be treated like the huge, important chunk of GDP that it represents.

Watch out for our Election Special micro-site which we are preparing now which will include all the relevant news stories, comments and blogs and where you can have your say. Plus, keep an eye out for the April issue of BMJ which goes to town on the Election.

What are your views on the upcoming election? Vote in our online poll, tell us what you think, and see more election coverage on our dedicated election pages.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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