John Harris

Journalist & Author

The big swing: voters who are changing lanes

‘I used to be a Lib Dem. This year, I’m voting Tory’: meet the voters changing their political stripes and what it means for the 2015 general election

Alex Beaton is a 22-year-old philosophy and economics undergraduate with a bushy beard, a blue stud in the lobe of his left ear and a gentle sense of the absurd. You might think of his politics as post-ideological – or, if you were being slightly less intellectual, absolutely all over the place. At the 2010 general election, he voted for the Liberal Democrats. He has very little time for either Labour or Ukip. And though he’d vote Green in an ideal world, he’s actually about to give his support to the Conservatives.

On a freezing cold Thursday afternoon, I meet Beaton in his home town of Warrington. We spend an hour chatting in a cafe, and I get a sharp sense of how politics works for someone for whom Margaret Thatcher is a figure from period dramas, and who remembers the Iraq war as something that happened just as he started secondary school.

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