The prospect of the forthcoming local and general elections fills me with both excitement and trepidation.

The excitement stems from the fact that the local elections in May 2010 will be my first experience of running for public office, standing as a candidate for councillor in Chase Ward – the most northern tip of London…

The trepidation comes from knowing the country will go the national polls – possibly on the same date – to make one of the most important decisions that Britons will have had to make for a very long time.

This great country needs a strong government that is prepared to take the decisions necessary to get us back on track, but that government will need a strong mandate in the shape of a large, workable majority.

The vagaries of the electoral system, and the increasing polarisation of the country under Labour mean that this is by no means assured – the Conservatives will have to fight for every vote to ensure that we take the required number of seats (over 100) to ensure victory, and not the just the right share of the vote.

This is what I will remind myself on those cold mornings and evenings when I find myself delivering leaflets or canvassing an unwilling electorate in the coming weeks and months!