General Election 2010: My vote

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WE asked prominent Scots to come clean about where they will put their cross this Thursday. Here's what they told us

Tony Singh, chef

We need a strong government to take us through. Look at Germany – they have had a coalition for as long as I can remember and they do the best for their country – they act like adults, but I don't know if our MPs can get on. A coalition may be good for the country but I am still undecided on who between.

Andy Robinson, Scotland rugby coach

I know Labour have had to deal with a severe recession but I feel that it is time for a change of government. I'll be voting Conservative, in England, where I'm registered.

Aileen Paterson, author of Maisie The Cat books

It will certainly not be New Labour – I stopped voting for them over the Iraq war, despite the fact we have a good MP in the area. I am keen on parties that will stop Trident. I am from Fife and we are all tooth and claw up here with regards to politics so I will read, not watch – these debates are just silly – and then make my mind up.

Peter Houston, Dundee United manager

I was brought up in the schemes of Glasgow and I have always been a Labour man. I don't think they have got everything right, but I don't think any of the parties are doing a magnificent job and, more than the others, I still see Labour as the party of the working man. I think they have the right principles at heart and I have always voted for them.

Michael Marra, singer/songwriter

Like most people I am furious about what has happened to the Labour party. I am voting against Trident and so I will go with the independence vote to remove that threat. All the lies about the war and all the people who lost their lives is what steers me away from them – it is natural behaviour from the Conservatives but not from Labour. Both my parents were in the Labour party and I am glad they didn't see what it has come to.

Queen Marie, blogger, Kingdom of Style

Coming from a traditional working class family, I always voted Labour. I don't think I ever heard the "C" word growing up. To be honest now, however, I think I have watched too many episodes of The Thick Of It. I don't really have faith in what any of them are telling me. Having said all that, on the day it will be Labour or SNP. I will go with what my heart tells me when I have the ballot paper in my hand.

Stewart Cassels, lead piper of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers

I have not 100 per cent made my mind up, but it is very exciting and interesting.

This election is about driving us through the economy and I think Gordon Brown is the only one with the experience to do so. It will either be Gordon Brown or Nick Clegg for me. I could go either way but I do think Gordon Brown is the man to turn the economy around.

Geoff Ellis, T In The Park promoter

I am not rushing out to tick any box. I do have a socialist leaning and I probably empathise most with the Green party – they are the only ones who seem 100 per cent genuine. But unless it is likely that they are going to get elected within the constituency then voting for them is a wasted vote. It really is like picking the best of a bad bunch which isn't a good situation to be in.

Aonghas Macneacail, poet

My hope is that for all his crassness and stupidity Gordon Brown will come out on top. As a member of the arts I feel there is more hope with Labour. However, I am voting tactically as I want Labour to be the largest party in a coalition. It works in other countries. I believe in proportional representation – I know it opens the door to the idiots like the BNP and UKIP, but I believe they can be kept out.

Brian Gilda, chairman of Peoples car dealership

We are 18 months away from an economic recovery and I despair that what we are going to get is a Conservative government which will cut and thrust all the way through the Budget. My preference would be to stick with Labour in the hope that they could get it right. I don't have a big problem with a hung parliament. The market has already got to the stage of accepting that there may be a hung parliament.

John Burnside, poet and novelist

I will vote for anyone who I can believe is not in the pocket of some business interest, and seems capable of maintaining their integrity when in office. Someone who won't talk "renewables" while allowing big energy companies to cover the land in giant wind turbines; someone who won't talk "environment" then sell out to Donald Trump when he wants to destroy a parcel of our natural heritage to create a golf resort; someone who won't say they will withdraw Scottish troops from pointless foreign wars if they get elected, then do nothing. In other words, I will vote for anyone I can perceive to be a representative of the general good, rather than serving a special interest. I wonder when that person will happen along?

Vladimir McTavish (Paul Sneddon), comedian

I wasn't sure who to vote for until last week, but now I am. I am going to vote Labour. Anyone who can call a bigot a bigot gets my vote. I also support a hung parliament – they could all do with a good hanging.

Jimmy Calderwood, Kilmarnock manager

I won't be voting. I wouldn't know who to vote for. To be honest with you I have never voted in my life and although that will probably earn me a few phone calls, especially from Alex Ferguson, I haven't got a clue about any of them. They all do my head in.

Ewan Morrison, author

I'm going to vote SNP, because the TV debate has revealed just how London-centred politics really are. Also, having lived in Glasgow for a decade I've seen the way that Labour-dominated councils deal with our biggest problems which are urban poverty and third generation unemployment. The old accusation aimed at the SNP – that they are Tartan Tories – does not seem so bad to me. Unlike the English Tories they do not have an Oxbridge mafia or a class hierarchy. I feel rather like my Father did in the 1970s – angry about the compromises, pigeonholed for being a Scot. I do not care if this is a wasted vote in the rigged system. These election debates have revealed the true state of things. I have turned off my TV and I'm talking to my neighbours.

Graham Blaikie, chairman of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and owner of the Mercat Bar

At the moment I am still a bit undecided, but I certainly won't be voting for Labour mainly because of what they have done to the pubs trade. The duty is constantly going up on beers, wine and spirits. And since Labour came to power, there has been a 68 per cent rise in the minimum wage. I always employ people above that, but they have made things very difficult with employment rules.

Entrepreneur Azeem Ibrahim, founder of strategic consultancy firm Ibrahim Associates and member of the Bank of Scotland Asian Power 100

The most important thing to remember is that although it sometimes feels like we are voting for a party leader, we are actually voting for a local representative. I live in East Renfrewshire and so far I've been very impressed with the Conservative candidate, Richard Cook. I haven't historically been party political but I've also agreed with a lot of what I've heard from the Tory party nationally as well. For a start, I think they hit the nail on the head with their policy to scrap Labour's National Insurance rise. Right now the economy needs to create as many jobs as possible.

Malcolm Fraser, architect

I'm not going to vote for parties that start illegal wars. Thirteen years of government has put the interests of the business elite over people in general and I want to see the back of that. I normally vote Green, but I might vote tactically this time. I am an incurable optimist. I was an incurable optimist in 1997, and viewed the ensuing wars, torture and enthusiastic embrace of terrible capitalism with despair. While I believe child poverty has diminished, the gap between the rich and the poor has certainly widened.

Angus Farquhar, director of NVA arts organisation

I'm going to vote Lib Dem. I decided pre the broadcasts. I can't forgive Labour for the Iraq war. It destroyed my belief that a party of the Left could instigate and then shamelessly deny culpability for such an action. The Tories are beyond the pale. They are wolves in sheep's clothing; all their nasty little policies are still there in the background. The Lib Dems come from a relatively idealistic viewpoint. Anything that brings a different dynamic to something keeps it alive.

Judith Doherty, director of Grid Iron theatre company

I don't know yet, but either Labour or SNP. My upbringing means I am an Irish Nationalist who lives in Scotland. My political preferences are largely due to my family roots – my dad was a member of the SDLP in Northern Ireland and I remember him speaking very fondly of Alex Salmond after a visit he made to Scotland. The Lib Dem candidate in my constituency is a very dynamic campaigner. It has been interesting to see the power of personality in politics, and also worrying that we expect them to look good on telly. It shouldn't really be about that.

Jim Gellatly, DJ

I'll probably vote SNP because in the Scottish Parliament they haven't done a bad job. A lot of Scottish MPs have cosy jobs in Westminster. If we had a Tory PM we'd be governed by a party which doesn't have a mandate in Scotland. I am uneasy about Labour because of their often sneering way and condescending manner, and the way they look down on anyone who doesn't agree with their point of view. I do feel though that my vote will be a wasted vote, and we do need an alternative voting system.

Mike Maran, storyteller

A big problem for people like me is that we cannot vote Tory. It would be like asking a Muslim to eat pork. We simply cannot vote for a bunch of toffs. Then along come the Liberal Democrats and they smile nicely. The choice is between returning a discredited government or electing a quite impossible opposition. So yes, I am leaning towards the Liberal Democrats. In the end the thing that is important is no longer who is going to govern, but who is going to save democracy.

Peter Buckley Hill, organiser of Edinburgh's Free Fringe festival

I've been a lifelong Labour supporter but I think I might join the Lib Dem bandwagon. I've lost faith with Labour after socialism was stripped out of it by Tony Blair. No party seems to stand for socialism, social justice or the redistribution of wealth. I would like to vote for one of these fringe Socialist parties but, a) they have no chance, and b) they're always fighting amongst themselves.

Tommy Sheppard, director of The Stand comedy club

I did an online questionnaire to find out who I should vote for and for the UK the answer was Lib Dem and for Scotland it was SNP and Lib Dem. I have voted for the SNP in the past as I believe in Scottish autonomy. But I also believe a hung parliament would achieve something if it could agree on a common programme. It would have the majority of the popular vote. Many former Labour voters such as myself have seen Labour drift away from us, in the way that they have given up disarmament and weakened their support for public services. My great fear is that the Tories could win. This is the problem with it being a three-horse race, and with the current electoral system that we have. In terms of their socialist values the Lib Dems have outdone Labour this time.

Mona Siddiqui, academic

TV debates are unnecessary and we don't need them to help us make up our minds. The results of the polls after each TV debate do not necessarily reflect how people will vote on the day. How people are presented on screen has taken over their actual party policies. I am not convinced by Nick Clegg, and often on the campaign trails the different leaders seem to be discrediting each other's policies far more than they are offering alternative suggestions. I haven't decided which way to vote yet, but I will be voting.

Tom Nairn, honorary research professor of politics at Durham University

I have lived in Australia for so long that I no longer have the vote here. What is fascinating in coming back is the deep-seated change I see everywhere, and one way or another it seems the election will herald big changes. In terms of the Scottish election, which I hope to have secured my vote for next year, so much depends on the shift, and on the prospect for the referendum. It probably won't go through the first time around, but it's the process that is important. The state of play at the moment seems to be break down rather than break up.

Charan Gill, restaurateur

Having been raised in the shipyards and threatened all those years ago by my father never to vote Tory, I find myself torn by two emotions. Alas, today, even my father would struggle to tell the difference between New Labour and the Tories. Personally, I feel that change is in the air. Who had heard of Obama just a year back? I have no fears of coalition or being governed by a hung parliament. Maybe it's time Britain had some checks and balances. Perhaps it's time to draw on the best brains and pick the best people to fill key rolls. As for my vote, it's still a very close call but my instincts tell me to vote for change.