Most years I find myself saying its a mixed bag, but one party or another stands out as best in their responses to the Cycling Campaigns election survey. This year? Nope. Nothing much to choose between Greens, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Looking more widely than the two I picked out from each party, things don't improve much. Labour are obviously the most polished local party operation - there is, as there always is, a discernible party line here. It looks almost as if they're discussing this on an internal party mailing list. They're full of platitudes but when you strip down what they're saying, it is both tentative and uninspiring. We don't need to continually test out solutions proven elsewhere - we need to install them here. And Labour are just unwilling to do so - they're not, at core, a cycling friendly party.
The Liberal Democrats also talk a good game but really have little to offer us. Again, they talk a good game but when it comes down to it what is on offer is very poor indeed. Scanning through other candidate responses in other wards there are some who are a little better, they're certainly more variable than Labour candidates, and perhaps if you question yours closely you'll find something worthwhile there.
Greens. Oh, Greens. I don't get how you're not all enthusiastically for cycling. Is your heart just not in it? Some of the candidates are great, some others? I wonder what they've been smoking. And I'm heart-broken to say that, as I am, by instinct, a Green.
And the Tories are shit. They vary between pointless, hostile and just nasty. There are a couple who seem to get it - but if cycling matters to you, don't vote for them.
Other than Cambridges two other candidates (one UKIPper, one Libertarian - the former a regular cyclist hater and the latter so wrong on nearly everything he says its all comical) that's your lot - the most disappointing group of local election candidates I've yet reviewed. I could go looking for the better ones (e.g. Jamie, down in West Chesterton, is better for the LibDems than most of the others, Phil Salway is rather less crap than the other Tories) but thats not the point of this.
If cycling is the main concern you have in our local elections then I suggest unless you've got a really good candidate you should chewing up your ballot paper and spitting it out again. Its that bad.
Maybe next year. But I doubt it.