It’s the beginning of “The big week” and I’m out today doing some last minute canvassing. Although, these are local elections, they come at a time of impending change, a new Prime Minister, the spectre of Scottish independence and the real possibility of a snap General Election in the near future.
The next government will inherit a mortgaged future, a bankrupt treasury, a sclerotic economy and an electorate that no longer trusts politicians or government. This week, at least, people have an opportunity to express their support or opposition to the record of local government and a central government process which is now so centralised and authoritarian, that local democracy has become very limited in what it can achieve within the straightjacket in which it is tightly wrapped.
How the week ends will prove interesting for all of us. I can’t remember a time when local elections and national political interests coincided or indeed, collided with such force. Over the last decade, we’ve seen our country become badly broken, the victim of a grand and well-meaning socialist experiment that has failed. On a local basis, here in Thanet, we’ve accepted more than our fair share of collateral damage, which has in turn, shaped the face of the island. With luck, the results of this week’s local election will deliver the people and the direction we need to make Thanet a better place; small steps at least, until a General Election gives us the opportunity to choose between a Soviet-like state control of our lives or one which recognises the importance of “localism” and can offer greater autonomy and respect to the local democratic process.
Here’s to the ballot box a new life under Gordon Brown - a PM that nobody voted for - and the grinding inevitability of new taxation and state controls that are bound to follow.