AS I am writing, it is polling day for the local elections and politicians and psephologists around the country will be pouring over the figures trying to determine the result of the next General Election.

Atherton has a strong history of independently-led and independently-minded councillors and this trend, which is seen right across the country, looks set to have been continued.

With an anticipated low turnout and a strong showing of independents, it will be a tough job to extrapolate these results into any kind of meaningful General Election result. Obviously, the result of the Greater Manchester administrative area election will give no indication whatever.

Two factors that are going to be significant during the election campaign is driving and whether local residents feel they get a fair deal locally from Wigan Council.

With Labour Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ £12.50 a day charge to certain motorists and the Labour Welsh government’s 20mph speed restrictions. We can see that devolution almost always come with additional taxes and restrictions.

This is what James Grundy MP highlights in his recent column. Wigan Council look set to increase parking fees in Leigh shortly after the local elections.

Labour believe that if they just increase taxes and fees all that happens is revenues increase. The reality is that increased fees will just drive motorists away to where there is free parking.

Labour claim that they want to support high streets but tax shoppers out of visiting them and cause business to shut.

Labour claim that they care about the environment but we all know punishing shoppers for visiting Leigh will not mean more people cycling, walking or hopping on the bus to get to town. It will mean more people sat in more traffic on longer journeys.

Every election seems to be an opportunity for a certain type of middle-aged adult to push an agenda for children to vote. Most of their arguments are vacuous, go against the direction of travel on the broader questions of rights and never even touch on the idea that rights come with responsibilities.

The right to marry at 16 was taken up to 18. The right to smoke at 16 was raised to 18.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds are no longer allowed to participate in hostile overseas military operations.

Every measure, when it comes to freedoms, is becoming more restrictive because society believes 16 and 17-year-olds are not capable of making adult choices.

It is odd that the ‘votes at 16’ campaigners support eighteen as the point of transition to having adult responsibilities in every other area of life and yet do not see their own inconsistency.