Today is local election day, and at least we can be sure that Tony Blair wishes all politics was local. After last week's triple whammy of national calamities, he'll be hoping that the electorate base their decision on local issues. Many borough councils are up for elections, including all of London's - a key battleground for all the parties. Seminal Labour councils like Camden are under threat, Hammersmith & Fulham (after apparent Labour aided gentrification) could fall to the Conservatives.
I live in the New Cross ward of Lewisham borough. Lewisham has red Labour rosettes running through its veins. All MPs are Labour, 41 out of 54 councillors are Labour; it's one of those boroughs where even if a monkey was put up for election, the people would vote for it - so long as it was a Labour monkey. But they also have a few dissident voters, such as those who voted in the Socialist Alliance and Green Party. When I vote this morning, I won't be basing my decision on Prescott's bedroom calisthenics, Hewitt's economy of truth, or even Clarke's dereliction of duty. These are local elections, so I'm keeping it real. Real local.
For the few things I rely on my borough for, it provides a good service. Rubbish and recycled rubbish are picked up every Wednesday, the streets are swept every day, there are no ASBOs waiting to happen, all in all, I'm a satisfied voter. But that doesn't mean that I'll be voting Labour. The Labour party and the independents are the only people who actually campaigned in my area. The Labour man assumed that everyone would vote for him, and just said, "yeah, these are the people to vote for." And that was his pitch - vote for these people. The independents, on the other hand, talked to me about what they perceived to be the issues to be addressed. Even though I'm pleased with the services I use, the differing approaches of the candidates, might well play a part in how I decide to vote. Or, I might resort to tactical voting.