WHAT is the most important issue in our winter election? A question with no clear answer.

After all, each of the millions of voters who will decide our nation’s fate on December 12 is unique, with his or her own priorities.

Where we stand politically is essentially decided by the dilemmas we and our families face. These may be real and physically immediate, or merely exist in our minds. Yet the latter kind of dilemma can often feel more pressing than the physical ones. Brexit being a classic example.

I, for one, enter the last weeks of the upcoming election with a deep sense of nervousness.

My reasons are various – and just as personal as anyone else’s.

First, it seems to me this election is more important than any I have witnessed in my fifty-odd years on the planet.

And it is the state of the planet that makes it so.

When I was a kid, eco issues were derided as the preserve of long-haired lentil-munchers.

What seemed to matter was increasing GDP and the quest for ever more and bigger consumption of consumer goods. In short we, as a culture, tried to shop our way to happiness.

But as has become clear in the run-up to this election, Earth itself can no longer be ignored if we are to survive as a species.

Certainly without a future of war, famine, climate degradation, mass migrations of climate refugees and cataclysmic weather events.

Even as I write this, large areas of the Australian bush are burning.

This is just the start of the blaze unless we do something fast.

As for the flood victims in South Yorkshire, every person driven from their flooded home is a climate refugee, albeit a temporary one in most cases.

Little surprise, then, that up there for the most important issue is the different parties’ policy response to the climate disaster.

According to recent polling from YouGov, 56 per cent of people back the total decarbonisation of the UK economy by 2030 and just under half support public spending to make large swathes of public transport free to use.

I suspect that for young people – who will bear the brunt of future climate disasters – the percentages would be higher.

Yet too many people fear it is too late to create a greener, more sustainable future. In short, that we cannot change.

That we as a species are too stupid, too greedy and selfish, too set on burning fossil fuels. That there is no point trying to limit the obscene, genocidal profits of the big polluters like the oil companies and their billionaire shareholders.

Some of the political parties asking for your vote barely mention the climate crisis at all.

Can I urge every reader to reject such doomism.

Please, please look hard at the different offers from the main political players with a realistic chance of governing our country.

Your and your children’s futures depend on your climate vote on December 12.

Yes, I’m afraid that the situation really is that serious.

There is a Medieval English proverb: “A hungry belly may never be merry”.

For all too many of our fellow UK citizens, including record numbers of homeless people and a shameful number of children, hunger is a real, physical issue.

Yet I suspect, for most of us, our real hunger is for hope.

You don’t have to look too hard in Britain, especially here in Yorkshire, to find people left behind. Communities neglected long before the international bankers’ crash of 2008 triggered austerity.

Ordinary, hardworking people, the kind who used to be referred to as “the salt of the earth”, whose opportunities grow more and more limited.

Others find themselves working inordinate hours to merely stand still. And, of course, far too many are finding themselves effectively abandoned by the state altogether.

Homeless people, disabled people, people unable to get social care, sick people finding the GP system and NHS is no longer functioning when they need it. The common word here is people.

As Bruce Springsteen put it: Nobody wins unless everybody wins.

December 12th will decide whether we dare to imagine a kinder, fairer, greener Britain. That choice is up to you.