Effecting a change? Your vote counts, don’t waste it.

All change, perhaps? Don’t be left in the dark…

Just a short note to jog people’s memories today. Today is the day of the local council elections, in which those of us in Walsall (and many other places) get to vote for our local councils. Here in Walsall, it looks very much like the Conservatives, who’ve had control of the council for  the last twelve years, may lose to the Labour group.

I’m not about to tell anyone who they should vote for – I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a hairy old left-winger. I just implore you to take part in the democratic process and exercise your right to select who represents you. If you don’t take part in this, you can’t, in all honesty, whinge about the result. Polling stations are open until 10pm, and you don’t need your polling card to vote.

Staying home is also a victory for the extremists and nutters, whose supporters always turn out. As The Mushroom pointed out in a great post earlier today, not voting isn’t just a non vote. It’s far more grave than that.

I can’t pretend to be optimistic about the future of Walsall’s Council. I loathe the current incumbents with a passion, and we desperately need a change, although with budgets already set and a government neutering local authorities, there is, in reality, very little a new administration can do to change course quickly.

I welcomed the publication of the Labour manifesto for Walsall, the only party to do so, but I’m concerned about the woolliness of much of it and am curious to see how it may be delivered in the current climate. I also remain concerned that the tribalism and self interest that is the hallmark of all Walsall politics – Conservative, Liberal and Labour – does not make itself evident again. The last Labour bout of this rendered them unelectable and led to the destruction and shambling neglect of the last twelve years.

Labour in Walsall also seem to have a PR problem, don’t ‘get’ the internet (except for one or two isolated examples) and are hostile to questioning. Since one of their first intentions is to attack thee press office, expect and administration that won’t be big on communication.

On the other hand, the Conservatives have been vague, laissez-faire and seem little bothered about their prospective defeat. The arrogance which has marked their rule – the despised ring road, successive blunders and failed deals, the destruction of social care – seems to be something that they don’t particularly care about.

The important thing is to take part in the process and hold our elected members to what they say. Call them on their promises. Make their lives difficult. Demand progress checks on issues that matter. Make these representatives understand that they work for you, not the other way around. That guy whose face you only see at election time? Make him face his responsibilities and earn his allowance.

Rest assured that I – and I’m sure other commentators in Walsall – won’t rest up. I’ll be watching what happens very carefully, and will not hesitate to speak out, no matter how rattled it makes the incumbents.

Today, you have a choice. Go and make it, take part, and think about it carefully. I thoroughly expect the usual howls of derision from those who assert that the process is pointless and makes no difference. It isn’t, and it does.

This is your chance to select who represents you. Take it.

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8 Responses to Effecting a change? Your vote counts, don’t waste it.

  1. Exile says:

    I would love to take part in the ‘democratic’ process. Unfortunately in this ward the only party to communicate has been the conservatives. No one else has bothered to get off their seat and let us. the eletorate know who they are or what they tand for, which make the selection process difficult. I object to turning up at the polling both not knowing who the candidates are, or what they stand for. These other parties are not doing the electoral process any favours by not communicating with us the electorate.

    • interested says:

      Yes you are very correct, around my way we have only had communication from a single party, and three letters…
      Not a sound from 3 other potential electees… Unbelievable!

      • Hi folks

        Yes, I fully concur. Nailing down your candidates is important, and the arrogance of the main parties is this respect is astounding. If these people want your vote, they should earn it.
        However, it’s still important to vote.
        I am as irritated by this as anyone else. It’s also important to think about how a sitting candidate has been while in office – visible? Effective? It all counts.

        Best wishes


  2. Andy Dennis says:

    In the interest of balance, I had a leaflet from Labour, but didn’t know there was a LibDem until I got to the polling station.

  3. Mike Hawes says:

    Beat me to it Bob! I took a picture of the forlorn little sign for the Polling Station at the Aldridge Methodist this morning. Of course the turnout will struggle to make double digits and we get the local government we deserve. There is such Apathy here in the UK that it’s hardly surprising things just don’t work anymore. We have high profile character mouthing off on TV but on closer inspection many wards polled less than 10% of the available people. Nobody cares any more.

    Of course all it will take is a new charismatic orator to pop up and well be right up the river without a paddle. A new fourth way could be around the corner and it might not be nice at all.

  4. kate Goodall says:

    Disagree with you on the ring road, but you’d expect that 🙂

    It truly grieves me that so many people don’t exercise a right our forebears lost lives and their freedom fighting for. Please get off your backsides and cast your vote. It’s an honour and privilege to be able to play a part in the democratic process in my view.

    And so what if you live in an area where you feel your vote “doesn’t count”? It’s still making a statement. It counts. If you back down in every debate or argument that easily, you may as well get “welcome” tattooed on your forehead!

    I can’t say, hand on heart, that I’m not bothered who people vote for. Blame my Catholic upbringing. But even if you vote for a complete nutter, or choose to write “you’re all crap”, or whatever, on your ballot paper, it’s better than not participating at all.

  5. Pingback: Local election results 2012 « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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