This is a difficult time for elections.
There's no doubt we're all still punch drunk from a year of pretty intense politics. First, an election that gave us 5 straight days of frenzied nail biting, only to leave us with a decision on points and the odd spectacle of a Con/Lib coalition.
No sooner did we catch our breath, but Labour launched into a leadership election and activists who had just given their heart and soul to endless bouts of election campaigning had to decide who would be best placed to lead their party.
More months of hustings and TV shows and campaigning for favoured candidates saw a result nearly as surprising as the first. The media fed for weeks. It was a straight knock-out in the 5th round.
As soon as the bell rang for the 6th, Osborne came out hitting with the Comprehensive Spending Review. And hitting. He beat us relentlessly with good, old-fashioned Tory ideology that would make Thatcher blush.
So, all good politicos launched into the Main Event and took their places in the "Cut" camp or the..... well, the what camp? That's the big question. Labour as yet, have been looking at the way forward, leaving rather a vacuum in the present
Nonetheless, many of us politics-geeks were thrown Osborne-gauntlets on the 26th October that simply had to be taken up. We went our own way, some fighting for our National Health Service, some for forests. Some, like The Broken of Britain knew they had to speak for the dignity of sick and disable people, others like UK Uncut tried to put forward an alternative in the form of clamping down on tax avoidance. The Robin Hood Tax and 38 Degrees have surged from nowhere, the new, uncontested champions of politics. Social media has arrived and it's changed everything. These excellent, non-partisan groups have opposed certain policies loudly, and often, successfully.
Today however, we get to vote. We get to walk into a polling station and tell this government, this coalition, what we think so far. Like it or hate it, we also get to do that under the First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system.
Students get to say how they feel about the trebling of tuition fees or scrapping EMAs. Concerned citizens get to say what they think about proposals to sell our forests or close our libraries or sell off our parks. Police officers and nurses and doctors and carers get to give their opinion on the attitude this coalition have shown towards their professions. Mum's get to say what they think about scrapping childcare support and Child Trust Funds and Child Benefit.
It's FPTP. You only get to say what you think is by voting for the other parties. So that's Labour, Green, UKIP or the BNP.
If you want to oppose this government, the best way is to strip as many council seats away from them today as possible. Inevitably, often that will mean voting Labour.
When I hear politicians say they are listening, I always give a little chuckle, thinking, "Well, I know I am." I'm not a politician but I can hear you all loud and clear. Labour let you down. Labour have no alternatives yet. Labour need to change.
When you all say "change" I'm beginning to realise you mean CHAAAAANNNGGGE!!!!!
So, I can't speak for the other candidates, and I certainly don't speak for any of the groups above, but I can speak for myself. I'm standing for Labour because no matter what, they are the main political opposition to the coalition at our ballot boxes. Politically, as things stand, that's simply fact. In a ward like mine, where there's a straight three way fight between Lib/Lab/Con the only protest vote is a Labour one.
This is my promise to my electors : I will stand as a Labour candidate and I will be a Labour candidate. I won't win - it's a safe Tory seat - but I will still be the Labour candidate. I will continue to fight for the dignity of the sick and disabled and I will show my party which way to go. I will do my very best to fill in Ed's blank sheet of paper with the word "compassion".
Up and down the country similar candidates are standing for Labour for similar reasons. They will fight just as passionately for your NHS or your trees or your books or your educations. The only way to make sure that the Labour party is a party made up of people like me is to elect us. To give us a chance.
Let us show our party what Labour really is and what we want it to be.
We are not Westminster. We are not Murdoch or Spin. We are the Grass-Roots. We are Labour.
But whatever you decide to do today, please vote. There is more at stake politically now than there has been for generations. Politicians think you don't care, they think they can do what they like because no-one really understands.
Please show them that you understand all too well. Show them that you do care. Just vote.