In the spirit of the UK local elections and mayoral debates (I think they're what happens when Council Human Resources are too wussy to dictate jobs themselves), I'm going to tell you what to do with your vote. With any vote.
Do I have the right? No, but then neither does anyone. Even that little voice in your head that tells you "the right thing to do" is pouring poison in thine ear, and those "I'm voting for Green, but vote for who you want! BOOP! lolz" statuses and tweets from your friends still march in on the subtle boots of propaganda.
So here it is.
Vote for the guy/girl/ctenophora/party that is in currently office. Don't vote for who's more popular, or who you prefer. Vote for who you've got.
If the guy in charge does something wrong, don't swap him for someone equally fallible with a fresher face or a whiter smile. Question him, mould him, teach and train him to do better, but don't boot him out the door just because you're sick of him.
We've all experienced a change of situation that makes it almost impossible to get anything done- a new house, an illness, a new job.. substantial life-stalling events that make it hard to get any real work done. I don't think that in 29 years I've managed most of what I'm trying to do, and certainly don't see how any politician or councillor could manage it in 4 years. The start of their story may be hazy, the middle may be awful, but you'll never know how it was supposed to end unless you stand beside them.
If someone goes back on their promises after election, don't hang them from a lamp-post and swiftly move in whoever was most vocally opposed to them. Knock down their door and demand they make you some new promises, perhaps gesturing to the lamp-post if they need some gentle encouragement.
When you rob politics of a popular vote, the X-factor-esque elimination circus of style and soundbites dies down, and takes a back seat to what's actually happening, what actually needs to be done. Say a candidate called you a bigot. That's their opinion. That's not something they have to waste their time fixing. You don't wander away from your desk periodically to tour the office with the intent of maintaining your image, so why should those who are expected to run the country have to travel up and down it while smiling and kissing babies?
When they do fail, when they let us down irreparably with seemingly no avenue of redemption, we still shouldn't get rid of them. We should force them to stay, force them to be held accountable in office for their actions in office. Make them stay and fix their mess. Make the stresses of leadership and the embarassment of their own mistakes into the penance for their incompetence. Don't just sack them only to have them run away to the golden beaches of the European Parliament.
Change isn't as great as people make out. We've had change since we could stand up tall, but we still stub our toes, get caught in the rain, and run out of toilet paper at the worst moments. Our jaws keep making that clicking sound.
The majority of those who talk about change seem to believe in a regression rather than progression, a return to pre-Thatcher or pre-Reagan time when we were all riding unicorns over rainbows and everyone popped gold and lived forever.
Let's focus on the things we can change about ourselves, on the interpersonal level, and stop worrying about what face or what colour tie the person in the biggest chair has.
(One day I'll make a point I believe in without feeling the need to drown it in irony.)