David Cameron needs to hold seats to overcome the threat to his leadership and Nick Clegg requires an electoral respite to disprove the common perception he is a dead man walking. Meanwhile, Ed Miliband needs sweeping gains to show Labour really is making progress and Nigel Farage spies a golden opportunity to capture the protest vote.
Well, that’s the view of the national media on the local elections anyway. The electorate is being barraged by the national leaders and media with a message that these are elections about national parties and people. This sad state of affairs is often accentuated by the loss of local debate caused by the decline of local newspapers.
However, these elections are about finding the best people to take decisions about the issues closest to people’s lives. They should be about finding the individuals with the talent, experience and brains to come up with local solutions to providing strong services in the face of austerity. That message is not widely enough understood.
Many councils have made big efforts to engage with local populations but much more work is required. It is down to local politicians to engage with residents - both in person, through social media and through the traditional press - to drive home the message of why they should be trusted as individuals, rather than some low-level offshoot of a national organisation.
It is imperative that they are seen as something more than a red, blue or yellow rosette.
Nick Golding, acting editor www.twitter.com/nickgolding