I haven't had the chance to blog this week until now because I have been campaigning in the elections. After canvassing on a visit to Crewe on Friday, I was in Leicester on Saturday and on Monday took a campaign team to canvass for Sue Lent's campaign in Cardiff central for the Welsh Assembly elections. On Tuesday I was in Liverpool at the front of the May Day march.
I was born in Liverpool and my Dad was a Liverpool docker so it was good to be in the city meeting some of the retired dockers. I actually met a few people who lived down our street.
I am always impressed by the hard work our candidates put in on the ground. It is often frustrating that local candidates are not judged on their performance locally but on people's reaction to national politics. The same can apply to the Scottish and Welsh elections.
I wish all our candidates success in today's elections. It is absolutely critical that we especially halt any rise in support for the BNP. Retaining control in Scotland and Wales is essential if we are maintain the momentum of progressive politics. It is the same in local government. Last year the Tories took majority control in my local council of Hillingdon even though we held virtually all of the seats in my own constituency. The best example of what Tory control means in practice is that this month the Tory leader awarded himself a rise in his allowance to £66,000 pa and at the same time announced the closure of our outward bound youth centre on costs grounds.
So good luck to all our candidates in today's elections.