I CONTINUE to be disappointed -- indeed alarmed -- by the increasing numbers of people who do not bother to vote. The right to vote is extremely valuable and should not be ignored at election time. There are many reasons for this apathy.

1: A lack of interest in politics in general.

2: The "invisibility" of councillors between elections, and the lack of public information about councillors to enable people to make a considered choice.

3: An increasing perception that some councillors are not acting as they should when dealing with public affairs. More than one has been accused of "arrogance" in these columns.

4: Many voters prefer Independent councillors rather than party nominees.

5: Bury MBC was recently described as "weak" in an independent survey -- but surely that is a reason to vote rather than a reason not to! I am one of those who does not believe that our council taxes are being used wisely.

6: The system of selection of party candidates does not produce the best person. Unfortunately, most people vote for the Party and disregard the candidate's personal qualities -- or lack of them.

Incidentally, are the Labour candidates this year of the "Old" or "New" Labour variety? Because there are considerable policy differences between the two -- as Mr Blair has made clear.