Nick Clegg writes … It may be just a small cross on the ballot paper but it is a big opportunity

The ballot boxes are being put in place, the polling stations are being prepared, and voting starts in less than 24 hours. But this election is still wide open. We have before us the most incredible opportunity to transform our country for the better and to put fairness back into our society.

So in these last few hours, let me say to everyone who has felt that sense of excitement in the last few weeks at the idea that real change might be possible: we have to turn excitement into votes. Change is coming, but only if you choose it.

Change has never been more essential. For 65 years our government has been handed back and forth between two old parties whose only interest is in securing power for themselves. In these last hours of this election campaign, people have a choice: to settle back into the old habits or to choose something new. This election boils down to a choice between change with the Liberal Democrats and no change at all with the two old parties.

Think about it. How do you want to feel when you wake up on May 7th? Do you want to feel excited about what is now possible? Or do want that same old sinking feeling you usually get when you think about politics?

If either of the two old parties get their way in this election, nothing will really change. If they get their way, the banks will be left to get on with tearing our economy to pieces; the richest will be left to carry on avoiding their taxes while people on ordinary incomes struggle; our politics will remain the plaything of rich donors and special interests; and our children’s future will remain a gamble, with millions missing out on the opportunities they deserve. We cannot let that happen. We must make sure that this time, real change comes.

If we do things differently, we can create the fair society we all want. We can have a fair tax system where no-one pays tax on the first £10,000 they earn and the richest pay their fair share. We can have better schools with smaller classes and more one-to-one tuition so children get the individual attention they need to thrive. We can have an economy that is never again held hostage by greedy bankers, and where there are jobs that last for all who need them. And we can have decent, open politics, where corruption is banished and your voice is heard. In a word: we can have fairness.

We can have the Britain we want if you aim high tomorrow and refuse to settle for disappointment. If you once voted Labour but have lost hope after 13 years of disappointment. If you once voted Conservative but don’t know what they stand for any longer. If you had given up voting altogether because nothing ever seems to change, then turn to the Liberal Democrats this time.

It may be just a small cross on the ballot paper but it is a big opportunity. Yours may be just one vote but it could be the one that makes the difference: so use it. If you believe, like I do, that we can do things differently this time, then together we really will change Britain.

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This entry was posted in General Election and Op-eds.


  • Nick clegg means CHANGE, david cameron means Cameron. The people of England are not stupid Mr. cameron, you cannot drill your insufficent theories into our intellegent minds. Change does not mean CHANGE unless your talking about Libdem, the brilliant Clegg and the masterful Cable.

  • Cllr Patrick Smith 5th May '10 - 2:40pm

    Go for it Lib Dems. Burn that shoe leather.Get those Lib.Dem voters out in big numbers on May 6th. Good Luck!

    Good luck in our marginals in the Northern Cities.

    I agree with Nick !

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th May '10 - 6:50pm

    Have just watched this on the 6pm BBC News. I don’t normally watch TV, is it always as biased as this? Cameron presented in a deferential/factual way and very positively. Clegg presented in a negative way, thrown negative questions, the BBC presentation was establishment opinion not the neutral fact a state TV channel should give. I was disgusted by this. It was as if the BBC was saying “oh, go on you proles, you know your job tomorrow is to elect Cameron”. My wife, who has no interest in politics whatsoever and no loyalty to any party, agreed, she just assumed from what she saw that the BBC is naturally biased in favour of Cameron first and Brown second. When I said, no, they are meant to be neutral and give equal coverage to all, she was astonished because it certainly did not come across to her like that.

    On Clegg, I wish he had said somemthing to link himself to our local campaigns. That “cross on the ballot paper” is for an MP first, why couldn’t he say that?

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