“Both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates have spent a huge amount of time and money over the past two years building campaigns to get themselves elected as the first MP for St Austell and Newquay. In the next few weeks potential voters in this new constituency will be constantly bombarded with leaflets and letters from them and their party leaders urging us to vote for them. Both are keen to impress, saying that if elected, they will serve the people of mid-Cornwall and do their best to represent us. But in this climate of distrust in the Westminster system, with expenses scandals and the rest, who do you believe, and is worth voting at all if nothing much is going to change?
“As someone who has both been a student of politics and involved in the local political scene, I would say that casting a vote is immensely important, but if like me, you have grown tired of the claims and counter-claims of the main parties, there is one test that may help you to decide who to support. All the candidates will stress how they are committed to the area and how strong their roots are here; but what will happen if they don’t get elected? This is what I call the Failure Test: having invested all this time and effort, what are their plans if they come second? Will they stay and keep up the campaigning, or move on to find a more winnable seat elsewhere? How committed to Newquay, St Austell and the Clay Country is each candidate in reality – are they just going for the prize of becoming MP or are they here for the long-term?
“My own conclusion is that there is one candidate who, regardless of the outcome and the size of his vote, will continue serving this area and Cornwall as he has already done for many years; my vote is going to Dick Cole, because, he is the one candidate I think will continue to fight for Cornwall and put its people first. I had the privilege of working with Dick when we were both councillors on Restormel and he proved to me that despite the general cynicism about politicians, there are still a few people in the system that are guided by principle and dedication, and who will genuinely care about our community.
“When I was out campaigning to get myself elected, I met lots of people who said ‘What’s the point in voting? Nothing will change.’ The 2010 election is an opportunity to see real change; too many people will chose not to vote at all, so this means that nothing is predictable and so-called ‘minor party’ candidates have the chance of causing real upsets. Whoever you have voted for before, why not help make a real change this time and vote for Dick Cole?”