There were local elections across big parts of the UK today. At a time when everyday there seems to be some other scandal or shocking truth involving the individuals in power in this country, I’ve never felt more politically homeless.
I received my postal vote weeks ago, and despite the warning on the envelope saying to send it back straight away, I’ve sat on it while I try and work out the right way to vote. To be honest I’ve never posted my vote, despite getting a postal vote for years (and probably never will as I like dropping it off in person), but I have never been as undecided about where I should place those precious Xs as I have been in this election.
There’s been no canvassing from those bidding to be local councillors and not one leaflet has landed on my doormat. Even whocanivotefor.co.uk, a great website (populated by volunteers) that pulls together available information about the candidates and their manifestos, had little about the 11 candidates I had as options in my corner of Southwark.
For the first time ever, and I’ve voted every opportunity I’ve had, I was tempted to spoil my paper. This country needs to start paying attention to the fact that spoiling a paper is a protest vote. A vote for non of the options we’re given.
I grew up in Tory Britain, under a Thatcher government. I remember the heady days of New Labour under Tony Blair. I joined the civil service when Labour were in power and was working in the Cabinet Office when the Lib Dems formed a coalition with David Cameron’s government. I jumped ship before Teresa May became leader because no other Tory was man enough, and I don’t think I need to say anything about the Johnson years. Neither party has got it right.
I know the local elections don’t effect what’s happening in Westminster but they are just as important. They send a message to the MPs as to how the people of this country are feeling.
I was shocked to see that the turnout in my area four years ago was just 30%! You may not be voting for someone to sit in the House of Commons on your behalf, but politics starts at home and you should care as much, if not more, about the person representing you in day to day decisions on your doorstep as national policies.
I hope everyone who had the opportunity to vote today used that vote, remembering that in some parts of the world it is still a privilege to have your say.
The world is a big place and while we all get enraged by what’s happening in Ukraine, about abortion rights in the USA and the idiotic decisions of our Home Secretary, it’s just as important to pay attention to those local decisions that, ultimately, will affect you more than you realise.
Polls close in 10 minutes and I’ll be paying close attention to the results tomorrow.