I'm not a fan of Nick Clegg or the Liberal Democrats. I disagree with many of their policies and particularly with their highly pro-EU stance.
I'm not particularly enamoured of the Labour party either, with their tendency to waste money on quangos, bureaucracy and politically correct causes. And, as a low-paid worker and recipient of Working Families Tax Credits, I don't fully trust the Tories to care about people like me. I have even thought about voting UKIP - purely as a protest vote against the lack of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Increasingly, however, it seems to be the case that a vote for UKIP could just as easily be interpreted as a protest vote against burkhas or against immigration, and that's not the protest I want to make. As for the English Democrats, I completely support their vision of a Parliament, Executive and First Minister for England but, even if they were standing in my constituency, their small size and low profile would probably put me off through fear of wasting my vote.
But it's precisely because of this last point - the notion that to vote for a small party (ie. any party other than Labour or Conservative or apparently, now, the Lib Dems) is to waste one's vote - that I have decided to vote for the Liberal Democrats; not out of any desire to see that party form the next government but in the hope that, in the event of a hung parliament with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power, they will use that power to push for a system of Proportional Representation to be brought in for future general elections. The introduction of PR would completely change the nature of politics in this country and would break the stranglehold of Labour and Conservative, making room for those who dissent from the views of the major parties to have their own ideas and opinions taken seriously within the political arena.
In other words, people such as myself, who would, all things being equal, be inclined to vote for one of the smaller parties, should, in my opinion, give serious thought to refraining from voting for the natural party of their choice in this election and consider instead voting tactically in order to bring about what would be far more amenable circumstances for said party at the next general election. Call it an electoral investment, with a very worthwhile dividend to be reaped in 4 or 5 years time. A vote for the Liberal Democrats in 2010 could be the springboard for a far more meaningful vote for one of the smaller parties in a few years time.