Dateline: 1 May 2011
This Thursday, we go to the polls in the first opportunity for voters to deliver a verdict on the performance of local government and, indirectly, national government, since the 2009 General Election when the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition took over the reins of power.
Alongside this, there is taking place a referendum on a possible change to the national voting system for MPs, from first past the post to alternative vote, as used in Australia.
At a time when savage and controversial cuts in local government budgets and services have begun a major surge in unemployment and significant reductions in local services which are already having a serious affect on our lives, many will be relishing the opportunity to deliver a kick up the backside to those whom they hold responsible - in this case, most directly the local politicians who have been forced, with varying degrees of relish or resistance according to their political ideology - to implement those cuts.
And the verdict of these local elections, though not directly affecting Members of Parliament, who often see themselves as being above their constituents, is certainly capable of affecting national policy as well as the political make-up of local councils.
How are the forthcoming local elections likely to affect Walsall politics? Current predictions from local pundits suggest losses on the Conservative and LibDem sides, and a possible return to no overall control, with a remote possibility of a Labour resurgence to regain control of Walsall Council. Because not all councillors are up for election this time around, however, the electoral verdict is likely to be somewhat diluted. We shall have to wait and see.
As to the AV referendum, apart from the arguments about fairness and making your vote count, its seems to the Bloxidge Tallygraph that any system which is so rabidly opposed by the Tories and reactionary elements of other parties as AV is, must have something going for it if they don't want us to have it.
Whichever way you vote is a matter for your own personal conscience, of course. But whatever else you do, please go down to the polling stations on 5 May and make your voice heard. If you don't then our British democracy is no democracy at all.