SO here we are once more in the election playground, ready for the swings of the swingometer and the roundabouts of going round the constituency merry-go-round.
It barely seems like a year since we were last here, eagerly awaiting the fun and games that precede the casting of votes. In fact it hasn’t really been a year; for over six or seven months we have been a phoney war in preparation for the election campaign.
And what a campaign it will be - three votes on one day! Pundits have been sharpening tongues and gathering witty phrases, while radio phone-in presenters have been dusting down put-downs and promising to hold the politicians to account.
But, just hold on one minute. Before we all run away with ourselves, just what is at stake here?
There is the make-up of our local councils to start with. Yes, those august gentlemen and ladies who hope to attach the prefix of councillor to their name after May 5th, will barely be into post when they will be considering at what level they will be setting our rates, and generally agreeing which services to cut.
We then have the AV vote. Now, try not to doze off when someone mentions this, because it is important. Rest assured we’ll try to explain it later on in the campaign, but for now just understand that there is set to be fewer constituencies.
And so, we have the Assembly election. Those of you who have a wee bit of wit about yourselves may have noticed that over the last three weeks the Assembly has churned through a lot of legislation – in fact a veritable mountain of bills, orders and other assorted miscellany of government.
Which begs a question of the outgoing crop of members of the legislative assembly: what on earth have you been doing over the past year or so? It’s not as if you didn’t know this was all due to be done! You lot are worse than schoolchildren waiting until the day before an exam to do your revision!
But the real test will come on May 5th. No, it’s not whether the candidates will be elected on the strength of their achievements to date. Rather, it is which way the orange vote will fall, which way the green vote will fall, whether the middle ground vote will hold, but most of all, how many citizens will get off their rear ends and exercise their democratic right.