by Chloe Staniforth
I’m born and bred in Rotherham, your typical working class Northern town with a Labour council since 1933.
Throw into the mix the fact my family are Labour supporters too and it’s pretty obvious who I’m expected to vote for in this year’s general election.
Yet it seems my first time voting isn’t quite as simple as that.
After all, my home town is receiving a lot of attention at the moment for all the wrong reasons.
Professor Alexis Jay was commissioned in November 2013 to lead an independent inquiry into allegations of child sexual exploitation in the town and the local council’s handling of cases.
Her report last August revealed the hidden scale of the problem in Rotherham over a 16-year period.
Now, a follow-up report from local government inspector, Louise Casey, has concluded that the council is “not fit for purpose” and identified some necessary measures for preventing further cases.
In short, Rotherham has become a by-word for negligence, callousness and incompetence. Labour couldn’t have a worse backdrop for their campaign.
I’ve grown up being educated to vote. I appreciate and thank the Suffragettes for their campaigning all of those years ago which allow me this opportunity to vote.
But, I’m afraid, I’m in an impossible position in a town where well over 1,000 females have been abused and abandoned.
I don’t feel I can trust the Labour party to rectify their awful handling of the situation, nor begin to put things right.
Rotherham has since become a major target for UKIP and a hot bed for the far right. Neither of which I would ever want running Rotherham.
So I’m left with the Conservatives – an unprecedented choice for me considering my upbringing. And a vote for the Tories seems awasted vote and would open the door for UKIP.
I feel my only choice is to act like a sulky teenager and spoil my ballot paper, but I really don’t want to lose my first vote.
What should I do?
Chloe is a first time voter