The Swing Voters: 'Now I remember how nasty the Tories can be'

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Indy Politics

Labour has convinced most of our "Generation Jones" panel of floating voters to return to the fold, after their flirtation with the Liberal Democrats. Despite being impressed by Charles Kennedy and the Lib Dems' campaign, Julie Jones, in Selby, and Evan Jones and his wife, Emma, who live in the Bristol West constituency, will all be voting Labour.

Labour has convinced most of our "Generation Jones" panel of floating voters to return to the fold, after their flirtation with the Liberal Democrats. Despite being impressed by Charles Kennedy and the Lib Dems' campaign, Julie Jones, in Selby, and Evan Jones and his wife, Emma, who live in the Bristol West constituency, will all be voting Labour.

During the campaign, The Independent on Sunday has been canvassing the opinions of our election panel who all belong to the age group born between 1954 and 1965 that was so crucial to the US elections last year.

Julie, who works for Age Concern in Selby, says she is voting tactically. The Lib Dems polled only 11 per cent in her constituency in 2001. "I wish I could vote Liberal Democrat. It's a shame that the voting system is how it is. It's a farce at the moment," she says. "I cannot bring myself to vote Lib Dem and find out on 6 May that the Tories have got in via the back door."

Her husband, Mel, is still wavering. "We have this dilemma," he says. "Do we take that leap and vote Lib Dem but risk getting a Tory? Kennedy is quite on the ball. I do like the Lib Dems but here in Selby I'll have to think very carefully."

The Joneses' Labour candidate, John Grogan, who has represented the constituency since 1997, voted against the invasion of Iraq.

Anti-war voters in Bristol West also had an anti-war Labour MP, Valerie Davey. Her constituency is a genuine three-way marginal. At the last general election, Labour's majority over the Liberal Democrats was 4,426. The Conservatives were a mere 39 votes behind in third place.

The publication of the Attorney General's legal advice brought the issue of Iraq to the forefront of the campaign, but it won't affect Evan's or Emma's votes. "The legal advice confirmed my feelings that Blair had acted irregularly," says Evan, a history lecturer at Bristol University, "but there is no point making a protest vote. The decision is about who you think will form the best government."

He has already decided to vote Labour. "The Tory campaign has been so negative. It has reminded me of what a nasty party they can be. I've become even more anti-Tory."

Emma has also made up her mind. "I'll probably back Tony Blair," she says, "but I was listening to Charles Kennedy on the radio and he came over well. He doesn't try to bullshit like a lot of politicians do."

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