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Will You Be an Unsung Hero On 7 May?

05/05/2015 15:54 BST | Updated 04/05/2016 10:12 BST

There's a definite seam of panic running through Labour and Conservative heartlands at the moment, as they see many a once unblinking red or blue eyed voter turning to alternative parties, if not in droves, certainly in significant numbers.

The glib jibe that a Green vote is a wasted vote is something that has been challenged in the Green Party's 2015 Party Political Broadcast which went viral on YouTube a few weeks ago.

It's something of a departure from other PPBs and has been a definite 'Marmite moment' both inside the party and out. Personally I loved it, especially the exaltation at the end to 'vote true'. A novel idea that people should vote for what they believe in rather than as a tactical manoeuvre.

I've been including that clarion call in my own campaigning activities and it is something I really believe is true in most cases. Being forced to vote for the least worst option has to be one of the most iniquitous aspects of our daft political system, and calling such an act 'tactical' really gives it more credit than it deserves.

Leaving aside calls for phantasmagorical revolutions born from the febrile celebrity of notable goth gurus, it's clear that most people don't easily relinquish their political security blankets.

No matter what they might say in the run up to the polls, when they have that stubby pencil in their hand, cultural muscle-memory still compels them to tick the usual box.

But in areas like Thanet, where politics has the potential to leave reality far behind, even I might capitulate to calls for a bit of tactical ticking.

Ironically one of the groups down there that might facilitate that leap into a parallel universe is The Reality Party. Just one of a plethora of 'me-too' micro-parties dividing up the same policies between them like so many bubble gum cards, and in the process weakening opposition to Nigel Farage's bid for seaside glory.

I don't have a problem with diversity in political opinion, but I do rather worry that an increasingly fractured political fringe will struggle to make even the most superficial dent in the well polished armour of the establishment parties. Especially when parties like the Greens are really achieving some traction at last.

Alternative politics should be more about unique policies than a logo and a T-Shirt. If what matters to you is already being addressed by one or other party, try giving them your support first, before calling the graphic designers or the PR agency.

But with the notable exception I've already alluded to, you should vote with your heart not your head. And this is even more true if you live in a safe seat.

The idea that it's not worth voting as the same candidate or party will always get in, is what ensures that the same candidate or party always gets in.

Change rarely comes in the form of a revolutionary super hero. Even if it does it's usually short-lived and messy. Real change is the result of incremental shifts, sometimes across generations. No vote is wasted, if it's for something you believe in. The vote you cast now might not make a difference in your lifetime, but it lays the foundations for future reform.

As others see a validation of smaller parties in the results, they begin to believe that change is possible and that belief adds to the momentum of that change.

It's a concept that's hard to swallow in our world of instant gratification and click and forget campaigning, but social and political change is usually brought about by people you've never heard of and will probably never know.

Those people are the unsung heroes who did nothing more glamorous than walk into a polling station to make a mark on a ballot sheet next to the person they really believe might bring that change.

Rarely do we have such an opportunity to make such a big difference with such a small act.

Lets not waste it.