Leaders of the mainstream parties are expecting a low turnout for today's local authority elections in England, Wales and Scotland.
The reasons are not hard to find, with many electors believing that a choice between candidates offering similar "efficiency" packages of jobs and service cuts doesn't justify a trip to the polling station.
Holding down council tax levels and trimming the services on which many poor people depend is standard fare for Tory Party candidates, but it has been adopted by other parties under the false banner of responsibility.
No-one likes to pay more tax, but people will agree to if they see that doing so brings dividends in terms of a more cohesive and less stressful society.
Yet councils of every colour are lining up to cut expenditure, closing essential services such as libraries, care homes, schools and debt advice centres, effectively carrying out the bankers' austerity agenda operated by the conservative coalition at Westminster.
Pay restraint and growing unemployment are combining to cut purchasing power and drive down living standards, which makes any "business as normal" approach by councils untenable.
Millions of trade unionists have already taken strike action on a number of days of action and many will continue to protest against government policies.
But local communities must also become centres of resistance, expressed in both electoral and mass mobilisation terms.
Local campaigns to defend public services have tried to extract promises from those standing in the elections and have, in some circumstances, worked alongside mainly Labour candidates to present an alternative approach.
One of the positive outcomes of returning a minority Labour government in last year's Welsh assembly elections was that Carwyn Jones's administration agreed a joint approach with the Wales TUC to prioritise employment protection.
Where trade unions fighting actively against Westminster government policies can find common anti-cuts cause with labour movement candidates, that is a positive outcome.
No candidate from any party should be allowed to get away with the lie that cuts are inevitable. Implementing them is a political choice.
Councils faced with financial problems over a gap between the funding available to them by the government and their necessary spending plans should work together with local trade unionists and community groups to campaign openly and effectively against the Westminster conservative coalition.
Giving a good electoral kicking to the Tories and their Liberal Democrat coalition junior partners is essential in today's elections throughout Britain.
But it is even more vital in London, where the beleaguered Tory Party is banking on re-election of Boris Johnson as mayor to boost its own morale and deflate Labour.
Some of the more embittered Blairite remnants have been doing the Tories' job for them by making negative comments about Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, which says more about them than him.
Livingstone's programme, which is unashamedly targeted at London's working class - taking in cheaper fares, rent controls, restoring the educational allowance maintenance, holding down heating costs through a co-operative, extending public transport and building half a million homes - should commend itself to Londoners.
In addition, if successful against Johnson, it would illustrate the sort of approach needed at national level to enthuse Labour's former voters who were turned off by the new Labour nightmare.
Today's elections are an essential part of the fightback process to defeat the coalition and present an alternative to the bankers' austerity agenda.
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