Lewisham Elects

It may, in many ways, have been a depressing election campaign, consisting of car crash interviews, uncosted promises, reductionist slogans and unprecedented U-turns, with a long shadow cast by the horror of Islamic terrorism.

But on the other hand, this is the first election in generations where the public has been offered a real battle of ideas. There are stakes beyond which colour rosette you prefer. There is choice.

The Conservatives may have moved to the left economically - with the promise of a new wealth tax, more Keynesian stimulus by pushing back their deadline to achieve a balanced budget, and state aid to reduce regional disparities - but Labour has embraced socialism red in tooth and claw, with nationalisation, a tax take that would be the UK's highest since World War II and £250 billion of further stimulus over ten years. The Tories would end the Pensions Triple Lock. Labour would scrap University tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants. Five years ago, it was thought impossible that these kinds of policies could come back on to the electoral table.

The reemergence of choice between the main parties has also reversed a trend that seemed irreversible - the decline of the two-party system and the rise of smaller players. In London, Labour seems likely to wipe the floor with all comers, increasing its support in stronghold areas like Lewisham by peeling off votes from the Greens and LibDems and returning a strong crop of MPs in the form of Alexander, Foxcroft and Reeves.

So nationally, there is a real choice, but locally, it is likely that we will make only one choice. The real question is which parties will emerge as the primary challengers to Labour in Lewisham.

Full details of who to vote for and how to vote can be found here on the Lewisham Council website. How will you cast your vote?


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