Vibrant local democracy

I’ve just been for a short stroll across the Ruralville village green to the Village Hall. There, I placed two Xs on a ballot paper (I always find multiple choice questions to be much easier), reflecting my views on local issues and not on national ones.

Ruralville is a small ward, with around 250 voters. Voting here is never a chore, as there is never a queue and the short stroll is a chance to enjoy the view down the valley, admire the spring colours of the trees and listen to the cuckoos (birds, not politicians). The two ladies looking after polling today were not anticipating a high turnout (“we spotted you coming across the green, so we had a moment to hide our teas and paperbacks!”), although I did find another voter entering as I left the polling station, doubling the turnout.

The question is, in a district where the council has been held by one party for 37 years, is it important to vote? Well, clearly the answer must be “yes”. If you are a supporter of the incumbents, then it is important that they have a clear mandate from the electorate to carry out their policies. If you do not support them, then clearly the only way to force change (excluding the possibility of riots on the streets or showering the local council offices with manure) is to use your vote and support an opposing candidate. And, since this is about local politicians applying policies at a local level, issues such as war, income tax and the NHS shouldn’t really come into it.

So, no matter what your politics are, if there is voting to be done in your ward today, go and use your vote. If you don’t and I then catch you moaning about some aspect of local services, don’t be surprised if I come round and give you a stern talking to.

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