Star comment: Make your vote count in local elections
The elections are upon us and many will view them as the first real test of Rishi Sunak’s leadership.
The man in Number 10 has made a better fist of it than his two predecessors and is setting about stabilising the UK economy, albeit without providing much comfort to the vast number of workers who are worse off.
The elections serve a far more important purpose, however, than acting as a barometer in the Sunak versus Starmer race.
They also provide us, the local electorate, with a chance to make choices about how our council taxes are spent, what local services are provided, and who should sit on our councils.
Local democracy relies on people who put their communities first and devote long hours trying to find solutions for residents in their area.
We are fortunate that the region is well served by a range of individuals from all parts of the political spectrum and now we should do our civic duty as we select those best placed to represent us.
The way in which we vote is changing, as people take photographic proof of their identity to the ballot box, and we must not let that deter people from casting an X in the box of their favoured candidate.
It is important that we exercise the right that so many people around the world do not enjoy.
Power is in our hands and we should take time to inform ourselves of the runners and riders.
Experiences in other parts of the world show us how fragile democracy is and in order for it to flourish, we must be active participants and show our support for candidates, whomever we happen to support.
All too often, we neglect the beauty on our own doorstep. As spring brings warmer weather and longer days, it’s time to delight in the treasures that surround us.
Our region is fortunate to have numerous National Trust properties, which have been well maintained for the benefit of us all.
As the weather starts to pick up, it’s a great time to explore our region – and the pictures we feature in the centre pages today are a reminder of the jewels around us. From magnificent architecture to spellbinding gardens and from the opportunity to step back into yesteryear to the chance to enjoy a fabulous cream tea, National Trust properties provide a super day out – without having to drive to the ends of the earth. Such venues depend on local support and we could do much worse than avail ourselves of the opportunity to spend time there.