Election '97: In the real world it's very difficult to be different

How will you vote? For the first time in my life I am on the undecided list.
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The Independent Online
Why?

I am a natural Conservative voter, and I oppose the idea of too much state interference and central control. But on the face of it we now have two Conservative parties, one led by Blair, one led by Major. Blair's one may not turn out to be as Conservative as it now appears, whereas Major's is so utterly divided it does not deserve a vote.

What issues affect the way that you will vote?

If, as Clinton said, the economy is everything, then why should anyone throw out Major? Whether he should be given the credit, or whether it happened by accident, the country is in extraordinarily good shape.

The greatest issue today, however, is Europe. But I don't think anybody knows what a future in Europe holds, or understands it fully.The Conservative Party are divided. It is unclear what their policy is on Europe as they are frightened to say if they have one. But I don't think Tony Blair is going to be so different. In the real world it's very difficult to be different.

How does living in Kensington and Chelsea affect the way you vote?

If it wasn't for Alan Clark, I'd certainly be voting for Tony Blair. I like Major and Blair both personally. I think they are terribly decent, cheerful people. Blair must be given credit for the extraordinary transformation he pulled off in the Labour Party. On the other hand, I also like Alan Clark. The more eccentrics we get in the House of Commons, the better, so I lean towards him as a human being.

The bottom line is that whatever I vote in my constituency the outcome is as good as decided. So I'm voting purely for my own conscience.

Sometimes I've forgotten to vote. But I've decided this time I will, because I feel, however pathetic, like having my 60 millionth of a per cent recorded. There's the added incentive that the polling station is in the Leyton House Museum, round the corner from my house. They've just put up a few nice pictures, so I may as well go and have a look at them.

Which politicians do you admire?

Apart from Alan Clark for his oddness, I also like Kenneth Clarke. I think he's done a terrific job. I admire John Major and Tony Blair, but I don't think you could get very excited about any of the others.

When did you first acquire an interest in politics?

At school I voted for Clement Attlee. Together with Thatcher, they were the great prime ministers of this century. Thereafter I remained a natural Conservative, sometimes voting, sometimes not. So I'm not what could be called a dedicated Conservative. If this time round I do vote for Labour and they then become extremely left-wing, I and many others will feel very let down. If they do get voted in, it is because they are essentially watered down Conservatives.

Interview by Sam Coates

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