Let me begin by saying I feel your pain. I was in Eastleigh yesterday and I understand why you're reluctant to cast your vote for the Conservative candidate. You think the party has been captured by a metropolitan, progressive elite who have no understanding of what it's like to be a basic rate taxpayer in an ordinary town in the South of England. On too many issues, the official Conservative position is indistinguishable from that of the centre left parties, a point made by Roger Scruton in the current issue of Prospect. (He complains of "a new kind of conservatism which conserves nothing, changes everything, and is guided by the very same rhetoric of equality and human rights that shapes the left-liberal agenda.") This was brought home to you by the formation of the Coalition. Until he was forced from office, the Lib Dem MP you voted against in 2010 was a member of the Cabinet.
However, I think there are still plenty of good reasons to stick with the Tories. On schools and welfare reform, this government is still pursuing vigorous, Conservative policies, largely free of Lib Dem interference. The income tax bills of more than 20 million people have been cut and over two million of our lowest earners have been taken out of tax altogether. Admittedly, progress on cutting the deficit has been slow, but Public Sector Net Borrowing was still 24 per cent lower in 2011/12 (£121.5 billion) than it was in 2009/10 (£159 billion). It's heading in the right direction.
But even if you regard the Coalition government as a huge disappointment, I would still urge you to vote for Maria Hutchings. Why? (To read more, click here.)