Ballot PaperLocally, the result wasn’t in doubt – Oxford East is a safe Labour seat with a well-respected sitting MP. This tends to make voting for anyone else a bit of an academic exercise.

At an emotional level, I was tempted by the Greens – the environment is an important and urgent issue and the record of all the main parties in tackling the challenge of climate change is abysmal. They had a good local candidate – an economist with some real world experience. Unfortunately most of their policies make Viv Nicholson (of “spend, spend, spend” fame) look like Ebenezer Scrooge on an economy drive.

Election 2015 Mad HatterFrom a purely selfish point of view, I should have voted Conservative, but have seen too many people damaged by the war on the poor, the struggling, the sick and the needy. It would have been a truly exceptional candidate to have won my vote on the back of the last five years or in the face of insane policies like selling off more social housing. As it happens, the candidate on offer sounded as if she wanted to be a sort of super-councillor and didn’t even live in the area.

The Liberal Democrat was a professional political activist who seems never to have had a proper job. Of the others, only the Tea Party candidate (the Mad Hatter – more of an afternoon tea party candidate) was worth a second look – I quite liked his idea of reintroducing the stocks for anti-social behaviour.

Ballot boxSo, how to vote? In the end, I plumped for the Liberal Democrats – the party, rather than the candidate. Their manifesto is much more detailed than the others and they came up trumps on some of the policy areas that I care about most. I also think that their experience in coalition has helped them to grow up a bit and that they’ve learnt the lesson of the student fees fiasco.

Was it a wasted vote? Well, in the great scheme of things, it wasn’t very effective – but it was my vote and I was satisfied with my choice.