In my corner of Sussex, we are having County Council elections on 2 May. This is the Council that stands over the various District Councils.
In my simple world, District Councils do bins, and County Councils do roads. I want both of these things seen to properly, and if a council can do that, I don't mind paying my Council Tax.
As it happens, most Sussex roads are in a dire state - bumpy and pitted with potholes - just the thing to destroy the suspension on your car, even a Volvo. And the Labour Party have clearly identified this as a potential vote-winner, or at least a Big Stick with which to beat the Conservative Party, who presently control the County Council, and have done Many Bad Things according to a Labour leaflet that came through my door this morning.
Will this mean that if the Labour candidate comes to the village, and pesters me at my doorstep, I will jump to it, and sign my name in blood and spittle on their list of Angry Voters who will support Labour, and Get The Tories Out?
No! No more than when, two years ahead, I am pestered for my vote in the next General Election.
The truth is, no party that gets into a position of power has ever delivered exactly what they promised. The easy seductions in party manifestos (and leaflets popped through your front door) do not in practice get translated into the kind of effective action that will bring broad smiles of satisfaction to most of the electorate. Vested interests, political posturing, and the very machinery of government itself, whether local or national, will glue the wheels of action. I am actually surprised that so much does get done at any level.
Nowadays I take a very broad view, and I look for trends. In other words, where exactly is a party going? Who is running it? Who influences its decisions? How are its core policies developing? Has it got what it takes to serve the country well?
What does my instinct say - do they 'feel' right? If they say all the right things, but they feel wrong, then they won't get my vote.
People on your doorstep might want to talk about the existing government's record on, say, managing the economy, or their 'austerity measures'. I can see that Tory Singlemindedness On Cutting Benefits And Hammering The Poor will be a popular theme for upcoming elections. Similarly: Tory Tax Increases For The Middle Earners, and Tory Handouts For the Undeserving Rich. I will certainly be asked to consider how Tory Unfairness has affected me personally.
Well, actually, not too badly.
Take, for instance, my main monthly expense. Diesel for my car. I was paying an average of £1.46 per litre in March 2012, but only £1.43 per litre in March 2013. It went down! Good old George Osborne! Hurrah!
And what about the income tax I pay on my pension? Let me see. In 2009/10, Labour's last full fiscal year, the tax I paid represented 14.4% of my gross pension. In 2012/13 it was only 13.5%. Down again! Less tax than when under Labour! Good old George Osborne! Booooo to Labour!
Of course, I'm ignoring the price of food, and indeed the price of domestic fuel such as gas, which have crept up quite alarmingly. On the other hand, I'm not affected by cuts in cash benefits because I claim none, and indeed have never qualified for any.
How your purse or pocket might suffer depends on so many things, and at the end of the day it's your own personal hit that matters. I'm terribly sorry for families who feel squeezed, but when casting my ballot, when it comes to scratching 'X' on the ballot paper with that strange blunt pencil they provide, I will chiefly recall the injuries that targeted myself.
Such as who it was that switched the calculation of annual pension increases from RPI to CPI. Well, it was that robber and thief George Osborne, wasn't it? He done it all right, m'lud.
And who is likely to deny me my winter fuel allowance, before I even have a taste of it? That recidivistic miscreant George Osborne again. And I'm not a fatcat banker, not a higher-rate taxpayer, just an ordinary woman doing the best she can. Boooooo!
So, assuming the state of the local roads moves me to vote on 2 May, who shall it be? The Conservative Party? The Labour Party? The LibDems? UKIP, maybe? The Greens? The Pinks? The Zombies? The Monster Raving Looney Party? Or any of these parties from a jocular list I once produced:
The Sensible and Decisive Party
The Just and Reasonable Party
The Equality Party
The Social Justice Party
The Law and Order Party
The Philosophical Party
The Power to Pensioners Party
The Love and Kisses Party
The Extreme Sex and Sensation Party
The Sunshine and Ice Cream Party
The Chocolate For All Party
The Barbie and Ken Playtime Party
The Boring Old Fart Party
The More Pay For Bankers Party
The Appallingly Bigoted Party
The Mindless Cretin Party
The Hunt Out All Deviants Party
Ho hum. Now which of these will fix the potholes properly?
This morning (Thursday 18 April) the Conservative agent came to my door, and asked me if he could count on my support for their candidate. I said no. Who was I going to vote for? I told him, the LibDem candidate. He pushed off. I won't necessarily vote LibDem. But I didn't like the look of the Conservative person. I was sure we'd have different views on everything that mattered to me. The agent made a big thing about his man living in the village, whereas the LibDem candidate lived in Bolney, some miles away. So what?
It doesn't look as if there will be a Barbie and Ken Playtime Party candidate. Damn.