Today we go to the polls, for what some have called ‘the most important election for a generation’ (never quite sure what ‘a generation’ is, but it sounds impressive). Your vote will determine our country’s political and economic future. Elections come and go and, for most of us, life goes on much the same whoever wins.

It’s very different for those who live at the edges of our society, the most vulnerable. For them a slow-down in economic activity or ill-considered changes to the benefit system or lack of affordable accommodation, means the difference between happiness and misery; between having enough to survive and going under; between choosing to feed your children or keep them warm.

Locally grown charities, such as Alabaré and Trussell Trust, born out of the sensitivity, compassion and community spirit for which Smallsbury is renowned, have grown regional and national. They have become barometers to the effects that changes in our social climate are having on those whose lives are most endangered; giving food to the hungry, homes to the homeless and care to those who cannot manage on their own. They provide day to day stories of real people behind the statistics, evidence of the crisis of care that in Britain is comparable to its climate crisis.

But whereas all the political parties have fallen over themselves to persuade us of their green credentials, promising more trees than we have space, speed or staff to plant them, the cries of those in most need have failed to make themselves heard above the evasive slogans, promises that will not be kept and refusal to be held to account; the cacophony of this election campaign.

But vote you should; it is a privilege denied to most of our forebears, for which some gave their lives and for which people in other countries are today are taking to the streets to demand. And though the polls tell us that most of us will vote with a heavy heart, choosing, not the party and leader whom we favour, but reluctantly putting a cross against the one we least dislike; to do so is an assertion that whichever political dotard claims victory, they are ultimately accountable to their conscience and to us, the people who bear the responsibility for having given it to them.

I have already cast my vote by postal ballot. But this time it isn’t my vote alone. I asked my 14 year old son for whom I should vote, reasoning that since the consequences of staying in or leaving the EU will cast a longer shadow over his life than mine, he deserved some say. I was impressed by his choice.

Whichever way it goes today, I fear the harsh judgement that our children will make on us for failing either to care for their world and those with whom we share it.