Vote will help shape lives

Election results at the Spa.Ballot Box..Picture Richard Ponter 131827e
Election results at the Spa.Ballot Box..Picture Richard Ponter 131827e
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Have your say

I’m sure that I’m not the only Star reader who’s pleased that Election day is finally here.

May 7, 2015 has been fixed in the diary for five years and after all the noise of the last few months – with the leaflets, debates and never-ending news coverage – today is when everyone has the chance to choose who runs the country.

I’ve not knocked on all 40,000 doors in my constituency in recent weeks, but sometimes it feels like it.

I’m out on the doorstep all year round, but obviously it intensifies as elections get closer.

Getting out to meet people and hearing your views is one of the best parts of my job.

As well as hearing about people’s concerns and problems, I also hear a lot of cynicism about politics.

It’s because of this that I stood for Parliament for the first time in 2010, after 32 years working in the city where I came to live at the age of nine.

I wanted to play my part in showing that, like it or not, politics makes a difference.

That’s why the issues you have raised with me have shaped my work in Parliament – on everything from successfully tackling rip-off payday lenders, to challenging funding cuts for our local GP surgeries, and pressing for more resources for child mental health.

I hear sceptical views right across the city, but sadly they affect people differently.

It’s those who need politics most who are too often the first to tell me that they are not voting – young people desperate for their first job, families forced to rely on food banks, or vulnerable people hit by the bedroom tax.

Everyone’s affected by the decisions that will be made by the people elected today, so I hope that everyone will play their part in choosing their representatives.

I know that it’s difficult to unpick the competing claims from all the parties, and the nonsense about who eats bacon sandwiches better doesn’t help.

But there’s a big choice facing the country in this election and it boils down to which party you think has the right values for our country.

Obviously I think we desperately need a change of government, and just as obviously Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will disagree.

But, however you cast it, your vote today will make a difference.

It will shape all our lives for the next five years.

Don’t miss your chance to have your say.