I’ve agonised over what to write here for days – it is, of course polling day here in Brownhills and Walsall today, and you get double bubble; not just chance to vote for one of your three councillors, but you get chance to vote for your European MP, too.
I think it’s important that folk vote. It took centuries to get universal suffrage in this country, and to paraphrase, such things never come without something being sacrificed for them; freedoms are never given to anyone. I think we owe it to ourselves, and to our history, to take the short amount of time it requires to participate in the democratic process.
It’s no secret that I’m an unreconstructed lefty, but you will have your own ideas and beliefs, and that’s cool. Even if you don’t like any of the options and spoil a ballot, having taken part sends a message.
In my view, it’s also important that those who play on division, and seek to rekindle hostilities should be defeated. To my mind there is no position in British politics for the languages of fear, prejudice and hatred, and I personally will be voting to keep them out, whether it’s the lazy rhetoric of UKIP or the divisive polemic of the Tories.
But that’s just me.
You will have your own beliefs. Vote according to them. That’s what this is all about.
You may wish to tell me I’m wrong, that the sun rises in the west and that everything will be glorious: I don’t care, go tell someone else. Vote for who you see fit, but just participate, please.
Walsall Council, in particular, are facing huge financial cuts in the coming year, and our choice of political representation for the council will be key in how these cuts are applied.
You may also wish to think about the way the council has been run – sagas like the Mayor’s new Jaguar and Cabinet pay rises haven’t endeared the public to the current administration, or it has to be said, the opposition.
The political balance – currently a coalition of Tories, LibDems and floating ‘independents’ – is fragile and on a knife edge. With a the political wildcard of UKIP in the mix, this will be one of the most interesting and influential elections in Walsall for years, and your vote really could sway the result.
I was going to write all this stuff, but one man has done it so much better than I ever could – The Plastic Hippo. Please read the latest post on his blog, then go vote. In my view it’s one of the best pieces he’s written for ages.
Polling information can be found on Walsall Council’s website here – your station is printed on the polling card you received in the post.
Thanks. This stuff is important.
Needless to say, as soon as I get wind of any results, I’ll post them here.