On May 3rd 2018, polling stations will be open across the country for local council elections. This is an opportunity for voters to decide the makeup of their local city, borough or district councils.

The results of these elections will have NO bearing on the makeup of the national Government sitting in Westminster.

So, there is really no point in voting Labour, because you love Jeremy Corbyn, or voting Conservative, because you support Brexit.

This is when you need to have a cold hard look at your local council, and decide if you’re happy with the way they are running (or ruining!) your local authority.

My dear mother, she comes from what you might call a ‘traditional’ working-class Labour voting family; when I was growing up, she would tell me about how she despised the Conservative party, and Margaret Thatcher in particular, so she would always vote for the Labour candidate at general elections.

However, she lives in the area of Sandwell, near Birmingham, which has had a majority Labour controlled council since before I was born. She does not like the way that Labour run the council, for various reasons, so she has always voted Conservative at local elections, and in recent years has been voting UKIP instead.

This may seem odd to some people, but she instilled in me this idea of ‘think local, vote local’, that I too have applied throughout the years that I have been able to cast my vote at local elections.

You might be a ‘die-hard’ Tory voter, but if you live in an area controlled by a Tory council, and you think they are doing an awful job, do you keep voting Tory in the hope that things might somehow change? Could another party do things locally slightly differently? Open your mind to all possibilities, things will not change unless people vote differently.

By all means, vote for a candidate that you think will do (or is already doing) a good job for your local area, or vote for a candidate representing a party that you support.

I live in Birmingham, which is currently Labour-majority controlled. I would normally vote for a UKIP candidate, because that is the party I support, and I do not think the current Labour council is doing a very good job. I find myself in a position that because there is no UKIP candidate this year, I am going to have to hold my nose and vote for another candidate from another party that has a chance of winning against a Labour candidate.

I would not normally endorse the concept of ‘tactical voting’ but under these circumstances, for the best interests of the city I live in, anything is better than having Labour continue to mismanage things.

But ultimately, your vote is your choice, and I’m not going to tell anyone how they should vote, but look at your situation and choose accordingly. And at least make the effort; voter complacency or apathy is what keeps the idiots in power.

If you want change, vote for change.

But most importantly, think local, vote local!