This week, for the first time, I think I'm having a bit of a dilemma about how to cast my vote in the local election. It's not that there is any change in my political views or the parties open for me to vote for. More a quandary about what the decision-making factors should be for local elections.
This thought has been prompted by a very good piece of campaigning by one of the parties contesting my ward. They've gone further than the traditional leafleting and newsletters (which they've also done). Their candidate has actually gone to the trouble of finding out my name, handwriting it on an envelope with my address, and enclosing a print of a handwritten letter outlining the reasons I should vote for them. Most of the leafleting that comes through my door goes straight in the recycling bin. But I have to say I was impressed by this.
So now I'm wondering what criteria we should use to decide on which way to vote in local elections. I've always gone the way I would vote nationally. But is this fair on the neighbourhood level candidates who have no control over their national party's policies and appear just to want to make their community better?
Should I vote based on my opinion of local services? I terms of the services I really care about, I've been very satisfied with my Council. But I've felt that way in all the time I've lived here, under two different parties. Or should I make a proper effort to ask the candidates what they will do for me and my family?
It's an interesting dilemma, and one that more people may face around the country if more of the candidates seeking their vote used the personal touch.