Express & Star comment: Vote this Super Thursday

Super Thursday, they're calling it.

Today sees Britain's biggest set of elections, other than general elections, in nearly half a century.

Some of that is down to coronavirus, which delayed some polls, and some is simply down to the range of things on which Britons have the opportunity to cast a vote these days.

Today will not be quite so super if people do not take advantage of this chance to shape their futures by casting their votes at the ballot box. Unfortunately in local council elections turnouts tend to be low and doubly unfortunately there are some places where people will be denied elections at all – not because none were due, but because not enough people have put themselves up as candidates to fill the available seats.

This is a shame because even at parish level councillors can make a difference by raising issues and irritating officialdom and so stirring it into action.

And that infamous Zoom meeting which hit national headlines a few weeks back, refereed by Shropshire-based parish council clerk Jackie Weaver, at least showed that the passions can burn just as brightly in the forum of a parish council as they can in the hothouse atmosphere of Parliament.

Across our region there are a variety of different contests, depending on where you live. Elections for mayors and police and crime commissioners will determine which candidates take the reins of power – and this is not powderpuff power, but real power to exert a telling influence and make changes.

You might think your vote doesn't matter, that they're all the same, or that the elections are not important.

What a luxury it is to be able to think like that. Across the world there are people who are dying to be able to vote. It is literally true that in some places people are giving their lives in pursuit of a democratic dream which we in Britain take for granted.

Putting a cross on a ballot paper indicates that you care enough to take a view.

And while it gives ordinary people a chance to elect those they like to office, there is also another important aspect which helps keeps our governance moderate and reasonable – it gives ordinary people a chance to lock those they don't like out of office.

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