The coming local and general elections on Thursday 7 May will be my first in Broxtowe and Beeston. I am not new to voting, having voted for the first time in 1966. In every general election I have voted Labour and will do so again. The same goes for local elections, except for one occasion in Harrow when, in the absence of a Labour candidate in a Greater London Council by-election, I joined some 5,000 others and voted Communist.
I have heard enough already to know that cynicism is rife and if this persists until election day, then UKIP, the cynics party, could garner enough votes to muddle the outcome both in Broxtowe and nationally. The Greens might even have a part to play as well, especially if ex-Liberal voters by-pass Labour. One thing is sure, at the end of it all there are going to be millions of dissatisfied voters, who will see their preferred party gain a decent percentage of the vote without the elected MPs they deserve.
This scenario could be turned on its head by a single event during the election campaign. I have no idea what, but just as Gordon Brown lost 2010 for Labour with a few choice words about one voter, it could happen again, or some last minute 'scandal' could toss millions of votes into the air.
Once general elections were much more clear cut, just two or three names on the ballot paper with no political description attached. Then you voted for the person, not the party (occasionally the former was true), and there were no official polling cards, just those delivered by the parties to their own supporters and collected in as voters left the polling stations. Now, the whole experience is marred. It is not just voters not trusting politicians, now many don't trust the system.
I will go on delivering for the Labour Party and helping on election day until the polling stations close at 10pm because I want Nick Palmer to win. My only other wish is that the Green Party candidate does not lose his deposit.
This is the first election in which I will be a deliberate tactical voter. Why? Simply, I want to see the Tory Party defeated and Nick Palmer promises not to be a party hack once he gets to Westminster and I want to believe him.
I suspect Nick will vote for continued austerity and yet more cuts, but I have never expected everything from any candidate I have voted for. I want Nick to be his own person first, as willing to confront voters in Broxtowe as well as Party whips in London.
I know one thing for sure, if enough non-Labour/Tory voters hold their nerve and vote for their first choice candidate, then they could distort a hundred outcomes across England in ways not even the cleverest pollsters will be able to predict.
My one message to Labour is hammer on about the damage two years of waiting for a European Union 'in-out' referendum in 2017 could do jobs across the country. Europe and immigration per se are not the enemy. It is the political elite and their corporate capitalist masters who seek to accrue as much power and wealth as they can at our expense, and we collude with them by voting for their political candidates and parties (which includes UKIP).
Without doubt this is toughest election to call since I first voted in 1966 and I suspect the result will change political attitudes forever. Mine included. England post-7 May will be a different country. The future is too important to be left to a bankrupt political class. The Greeks, the Spanish and the Scots understand this. So can the English.
Today's 'Guardian' has a article about the Spanish movement 'Podemos' (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/31/podemos-revolution-radical-academics-changed-european-politics). Read it. I have long held the view that scratch a Tory and a fascist bleeds; that Liberals are amoral and opportunists and that Labour has been betrayed by its leadership time and again and this has fed the cynicism which fuels UKIP. The Left badly needs a populist movement able to challenge the political elite and their corporate capitalist allies. Maybe the Green Party will become the catalyst for change we so badly need.
For now I wish Nick Palmer well and look forward to Labour getting an outright majority on Broxtowe Borough Council. Perhaps they will become part of the revolution we so badly need. I hope so.
I don't intend to say any more about the general election until it is over. I will come home at 10pm on 7 May and collapse in front of the television, where I am likely to stay until breakfast. This time it may be all day, as even the last two or three seats declaring on the Friday afternoon could decide which party gets to lead the next government.