Now that I am in my mid-30s, the general election is pretty much the only night of the year I am tempted to pull an all-nighter. And what a night this one is shaping up to be.
There is a feeling in the country that politics is somehow changing. We still have out-of-touch MPs, scandalous expenses and the politics of envy. But for many voters it is no longer a clear choice between the two largest parties.
Smaller parties like UKIP, barmy as its supporters tend to be, are quickly gaining ground. The regions want greater control over their governance, even if Scotland does not quite want it badly enough to vote for full independence. One minor celebrity and reformed drug addict even wants to replace the current political system with anarchy, which I cannot imagine would be much fun for anyone involved.
Before we start hoarding food supplies and arming ourselves to the teeth in preparation for the coming revolution, it is worth thinking about the economic impact of this national political shift.
My future mother-in-law is a big supporter of the Green Party. Where she lives on the Isle of the Wight, the Green Party is becoming a serious political contender, in line with national polls placing it neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats at around 7 per cent of the national vote share. The Green Party now has more members than UKIP and its leader has secured a place in the television debates. As UKIP looks set to draw Tory voters away on the right, the Green Party could do the same with left-leaning Labour voters.
Earlier this week a client of mine called to say she has become the Green Party parliamentary candidate for a London borough this May. Another client meeting in the past week, with a lobbyist who studied the hallowed PPE at Oxford and is far more politically astute than many, prompted me to take a closer look at its economic policies.
According to my client, everything right now is pointing towards another coalition government following the election in May. Unlike the coalition we have “enjoyed” for the past five years, this new coalition is likely to be formed of smaller parties. Understanding their economic policies, which could eventually influence government policy, becomes important.
A big part of the Green Party economic plan is a focus on the local economy. It wants to bring decision making to the most appropriate local level, as well as promote self-reliance within communities.
Despite having no natural inclination to vote towards the left, this policy really appeals to me on a personal level. There are strong arguments for local focus, especially from IFAs who often spread themselves across a wider region as clients refer geographically distant friends, relatives and colleagues.
The Green Party may or may not form part of the new coalition come May. Regardless, thinking about how your business might operate within its economic plans would be a worthwhile exercise.
Martin Bamford is managing director at Informed Choice