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And they’re off!


And they’re off!

No, not the Grand National a week on Saturday but the local elections. The candidates have all been nominated and verified and all the parties have launched their campaigns. It’s all out electioneering from now to the 4th May!

This is an exciting time as the season’s campaigners are joined by their new rookie hopefuls, some of whom may never have been in the council offices, and whose only engagement with the authorities they now seek to become part of has been to pay their council tax.

Some will be assuming, as paper candidates, that they have little to no chance of winning, but it has been known in the past for those “paper” candidates to win… and the look on their faces is one of pure shock. And if they are not shocked, their group leader will be, as they take stock of the councillors elected for their party.

It will also be a sad time, many will be stepping down after many years of loyal public service and when the 5th May comes and the new councillors are sworn in, then they will find themselves with much time on their hands.

There will be others, who will be campaigning for all they’re worth, but the electorate will decide and many serving councillors will not win reelection. It’s harsh, the world of politics and they too will find themselves with much more time on their hands.

Soon after the 5th May, political groups will meet, leaders will be elected and full council meetings held. New Administrations formed and civic life will once again resume. New, refreshed, renewed and full of energy, well we hope.

Whatever the political affiliations of the candidates, I respect them for standing up and taking part in our democracy. For putting forward their ideas for their communities and taking the time to knock on doors and deliver leaflets for causes they believe in. Some will get a handful of votes but their participation makes the whole exercise work; others will enjoy large majorities. There will shock losses and surprise successes as the electorate make their choices.

I have known success and defeat and both have gone a long way to make me respect and admire those who give up so much of their time for the communities. It’s not easy at the doors asking for your vote, if you do have someone knock, be kind and wish them well, regardless of your voting intentions. The day people stop standing for local government will be the day all that we hold precious will finally begin to crumble. Let’s not lose what we have.

And as for those who see no point in voting, there is every reason, because if you don’t vote then you deserve the political leadership you get. Do vote on the 4th May and make local democracy work for us all.

To all the candidates, good luck

And they're off! 1