Well, it's finally here. After months of debates, analysis in the news and general chatter, it's finally time for the people to take to the polling stations and cast that all important vote for the 2015 UK General Election. The public began casting its vote at 07:00 BST and will continue to do so right through the day until 22:00 when the stations close. The build up to this day has been dominated by two particular themes in the UK's media, first that the election itself will be too close to call. Second, and perhaps more surprising, that the race leading up to the big day has been, for lack of a better word, dull.
What makes the race so tight?
While there is no doubt that a final result is almost impossible to predict given how tight the race has been, what is fascinating is the reason for why it will go down to the wire. The rise of the SNP and the incredible success story that has been Nicola Sturgeon is one of the main factors for why this election is so close. In an election where the Tories and Labour have struggled to stick to a path, the SNP has shown strength in its beliefs and has ensured that its position mattered in this general election. In fact, this election would to all accounts be as good as over had the SNP not gained the momentum it has. Labour would most likely be celebrating a victory and a return to Downing Street, if it weren't for the probable loss of many of its seats in Scotland; a stronghold under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The SNP is in fact the reason this electoral race will go down the wire.
A dull election, or the most important one for a generation?
It has often been labelled a disappointment by analysts, be it for the constant changes in policy by leaders, be it for lack of confidence shown in debates. However, those running the campaigns, the politicians themselves, have been quick to label this general election, the most important one for a generation.
The referendum threat
One of the main talking points of the Conservative party is the holding of a referendum on EU membership by 2017. While many in the UK might agree and support an exit from the European Union, there is no doubt that the effect of such a choice on the economy would be profound to say the least. Not to mention how such a move would impact immigration and the culture in a country that has as its capital, arguably the most multi-cultural city in the world in London. It would seem that David Cameron's intentions are to use the referendum as leverage to negotiate reforms with Brussels, but just having that threat on the table is massively important.
Not only a European referendum, but the threat of Scottish referendum. The SNP has promised to hold a second vote on Scotland being a part of the United Kingdom within five years. Again, the potential for a secession by Scotland, would no doubt have an impact on the UK's economy, starting with a loss in tax revenue.
Hit the wealthy where it hurts
Labour has also come in with a big shift in policy from when Tony Blair was at the helm of the political party. Ed Miliband's pledge to raise taxation on the wealthy, and to put an end to non-dom status in the UK are not idle threats. While they may appeal to general public, there is no doubt they are sending tremors through the streets of London. A city that has been turned on its head in the last 25 years to become one of the capitals of the world. It has done so in large part thanks to the City of London's financial district, and due to wealthy foreign families moving to London - the very sectors that will be most affected by Miliband's actions.
Which way will it go?
It really is too close to call, but one thing is certain, the policies being discussed are potential game changers for the UK, from the threat of referendum, to the financial implications of a new Labour #Government - it is hard to argue that this general election isn't the most important one for a generation. Ahead of today's vote, Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough said that "voters face a choice between David Cameron and Ed Miliband in Number 10, and they know they simply cannot afford to let Labour back in." It is a confident stance ahead of a very uncertain few weeks in the political world. #Parliament #Election 2015