Clarke’s view: Whatever you do next week, please cast a vote in the Norfolk County Council elections

People will go to the polls for county council elections on May 4. Picture: Matthew Usher.

People will go to the polls for county council elections on May 4. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Don't worry everyone - Dave hasn't disappeared!

Mr Powles is enjoying a well earned break with his family, so I'm stepping in for this column for one week only.

We're starting to get our plans into the place for the general election on June 8 - and the snap decision by Theresa May to call the poll has certainly given us less preparation time than normal.

But that all adds to the excitement of being in a newsroom.

However, before we can fully concentrate on the national election, we've got the little matter of the county council elections next week.

The authority is responsible for many really important services in our county from looking after our elderly people to safeguarding our children to ensuring our roads are kept in good condition.

We will be voting for the councillors who make the key decisions which will shape the policies for years to come.

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It's a really tough time for the council with so many cuts being imposed - so those elected representatives have a hugely responsible role to play.

I am very proud to work for a newspaper which has never told people who to vote for.

Clearly many papers do nail their party political colours to the mast.

We don't do that - and won't start doing it now.

Our job is to tell our readers who the candidates are, what they are proposing if elected and hold them all to account, whatever colour rosette they wear.

I am very grateful to live in a country where - for all its faults - we have a democratic election system.

As citizens, we have the power to pick and sack our councillors and MPs.

Today we outline those who are standing for the Norwich area in the county poll, which gives you a few days to decide who is your choice.

I know there is a lot of apathy about politics, and to an extent I understand that.

However, my plea is for everyone to get out and make the most of their democratic right and cast their vote.

Ian Clarke