ON Thursday, you have the opportunity to decide the future of the borough.
While the Conservatives will come out of the May 2 local elections as the largest party, the chances are its majority will be reduced significantly.
While putting on a brave face in public, insiders from all three parties have been talking about Tory losses having the potential to be double figures.
There are even whispers that there might have to be another leadership contest for the Conservatives if polling is accurately forecasting the results. With a number of Executive members (Wokingham’s cabinet) facing stern contests from opposition parties scenting good sport, it could be the voters’ night of long knives.
Clearly, voting for the party that you believe in next Thursday is important.
Even though the Conservatives will most likely still have overall control of the council after the election, some key decision makers could change overnight.
The choices facing you, the voter, could not be starker.
The Conservatives are promising to see through the job that they started: the regeneration of Wokingham town centre, the new roads and the housing.
They have even pledged to launch a consultation over housing numbers, in a bid to get the borough to stand united and say enough is enough – although it remains disappointing that election leaflets are branding this as a Conservative exercise rather than a need for all parties to work together.
As the second largest party, the Liberal Democrats have published mini-manifestos on each of its main policy areas. These can be read on our Vote 2019 mini-site.
Over the past couple of the years, the Lib Dems have worked hard at being a credible opposition. Its recent alternative budget was, it says, fully costed and the party also claims that it worked with council officers to ensure that its sums added up.
Labour too has its own manifesto. The party’s leader, Cllr Andy Croy, said that his councillors have to work hard for residents, otherwise they would get voted out pretty quickly.
Then there are three wildcards: Louise Tomlin for the Women’s Equality Party and Lynn Forbes (independent) are both contesting Evendons. Jim Frewin is standing as an independent for Shinfield South in protest at the overdevelopment of the Loddon Reach parishes.
And of course there are several Green candidates also standing also offering an alternative home for the borough’s voters.
The biggest issues that keep coming up time and time again are overdevelopment, clogged up roads and the mess that is Wokingham’s town centre regeneration.
The decision you need to make is who is the best party to work on these going forward. Who will best represent you, your ward and your vision for Wokingham’s future?
Don’t treat Thursday as a Brexit protest vote: it’s not.
It’s about Wokingham. Wokingham’s today, tomorrow and future.
Make sure you vote.