THE next stage of the run up to May 5's local elections has just come to an end with the closure of nominations.
Candidates had until midday today to get their nominations in - along with lists of supporters who can vouch for their standing in the community.
The Conservatives were boasting last week that all their candidates in the 22 wards had been cleared of any blemishes (at least their nomination papers were correctly completed).
Labour was less lucky, and still searching for official supporters to complete nomination papers at the weekend.
Papers were handed in this morning - just before the deadline.
Staff were already trying to sort out papers belonging to several of the smaller parties.
Electoral officers are currently checking the entries, but all three major parties are said to have candidates in virtually every ward, there are plenty of independents in the offing and it looks as though the parish councils are about to get a wake-up call with at least two polticial parties - Conservative and Liberal Democrats - putting in nominations on the west bank of the Medway.
If the parishes do have an election, it will be the first in Medway since there was a stand-off in High Halstow in 2003, and only the second since the beginning of the 1990s.
The row at Allhallows (which has spilled on to this blog site and the Medway Messenger's web pages) seems to have sparked renewed interest in the principle of democracy. The practice of the same should follow later.
One of the names in the borough council hat is that of Dan McDonald, the chief executive of the Medway CItizens Advice bureau.
Mr McDonald had a good airing yesterday on The Politics Programme on BBC-1 sparking a few angry comments from the Liberal Democrats.
Mr McDonald is an interesting character.
He has variously been a Labour Party member and a Lib Dem (he was press officer for their most successful candidate in the 2010 Gneeral Election.
These days Dan is with the Andy Stamp independent group.
Interesting to read recently that when he worked for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in North Devon as a housing manager he was known as Rory.
I understand one of the Lib Dem candidates is a fellow with the name Jasmin. The Bosnian barrister pronounces it Yasmin in case there was any doubt.
On a more mundane level, I hear Derrick Singleton, the former housing chief who was moved sideways, has now left the council. The sound of the door clanging shut was (I undestand) delberately silenced.
Among the many who will not be standing for election next month are the two MPs who have also been councillors, Reh (call me Rehman) Chishti and Mark Reckless. They are going to concentrate their efforts in Westminster.
A regular correspondent has taken me to task for having the temerity to suggest that most parish councillors are unelected.
If you don't face the election ballot, and get more votes than someone else, that is not an election. It is a sham, shames the community , and is certainly not a democratic process.
If, as then happens, the rest of the council is selected from "volunteers" that is even more disgraceful. Interviews were held at one peninsula parish council to decide who fitted in with the rest of the council - and who should be excluded. It saved an election. It did nothing for democratic rights.
Elections? - stand up and be counted!