People not parties: Vote for the decent | Vote for the honourable | Vote for democracy

It has come to this. Decision day. Thursday, May 7.

PeopleNotPartiesBigIt has come to this. Decision day. Thursday, May 7.

I hope you have been thinking about the decision we all face. As much as I have.

I am in a privileged position: the editorial director - and co-owner - of a newspaper that distributes more copies per issue than any other newspaper in our city.

My city. Our city.

My children grew up in this city. My three-year-old grandson is growing up in this city.  My family’s future is invested in this city.

Brighton and Hove Independent is the newspaper of the city, for the city, and in support of the city. Whatever happens on Thursday, that will continue to be the case.

You may be used to traditional owners of "big media" telling you how to vote. Explicitly, or implicity. Insidiously, and selfishly.

It's not going to happen in Brighton and Hove Independent. We're not like that. We are small, and modest. And better than that, I hope.

We recognise and applaud the passion, the character, and the decency of most - most, but not all - of the people who seek to serve you after May 7

We have highlighted in recent weeks the people who do not deserve our vote, who are nasty, who are self-interested and small-minded - and self-serving. And twittering.

Do not vote for the nasty, the self-interested, the small-minded, or the self-serving. If you can, follow them on Twitter!

We are independent. But that does not mean we are without opinions, strong and fierce opinions. About what kind of city we want to be. About what sort of MPs and councillors we want to represent us.

Our message - my message - is simple and straightforward: it is the person, not the party, we should focus on.

There are Labour candidates who should not be elected, should not be allowed out in public; there are Green candidates who are foolhardy and naive - even incompetent - who are well-meaning; and there are Conservatives whose values are alien, but whose spirit and skills are indispensable.

We used to be able to rely on our favoured political party - our tribe - to sift candidates we could trust and follow. And believe in.

No longer is that possible. Our political parties are machines, largely undemocratic and uncaring. Vehicles for personal advancement and careerism, rather than environments for political engagement.

So what is to be done?

There is no easy answer. All you can do is do your best. Vote for the decent. Vote for the honourable. Vote for democracy.

But, most of all, vote on May 7. Don’t be a voiceless member of the silent minority.