The General Election passed this blog by. For the first time ever I had no idea who I was going to vote for before I entered the polling booth. I really did struggle - I knew who I wasn't voting for (the Conservatives, Demetrious Panton (independent standing on an anti-immigration ticket, the BNP) but who did I choose from those left (Labour, the Workers Revolutionary Party, the Lib Dems and the Greens)?
The only party to actively canvass my vote was the BNP. We were deluged with leaflets and harrassed in the streets. They even had the temerity to send me a letter in the post with my name next to a slogan stating "People like you vote BNP". Therefore, it was no surprise when they polled their biggest ever vote. Except to the Labour party and the incumbent MP, Margaret Hodge. I was apoplectic with rage when I read her defensive response in the Observer last weekend. Her reading of the situation on the ground was absolutely accurate which makes you wonder why she did nothing to counter the BNP's claims and attempt to win the votes of her disillusioned constituents BEFORE the ballot papers hit the bottom of the black boxes. People openly voted for the BNP because the party recognised their fears and efficiently exploited them. Hodge blames the Labour party for ignoring it's heartland voters. In my anger I thumped out a letter to the editor of the Observer laying the blame fairly and squarely on Hodge's shoulders. Today they printed a much edited version. (Letter).
My next letter will be to the woman herself. When I lived in this constituency a few years ago (I have voted in four general elections in four different constituencies), I would write to Hodge every so often but in the end gave up. The answers were not good for my health - bland, formulaic platitudes that made me go mad. I have, however, decided to plague her on every issue, local, national or global, that I see as important. And there are many.
Watch this space.