When you are sitting in the warm sunshine, contemplating sparkling whitewashed chimney stacks jutting out against a clear blue sky, it’s easy to brush off disappointments and to conclude that, all in all, life is good. The children play happily on the beach, there’s some chilled wine in the fridge and no work in prospect for a few days. Just what you need as the weather turns cold in England and the clocks go back.
That’s where I was when I heard from my fellow candidate Mark Ashley-Hacker that there were no local candidates on the shortlist for Esher & Walton. Clearly from the local papers which I scoured on my return, this decision is not popular and the usual websites, such as Conservative Home and the Thames Ditton Residents’ Association have long threads on the issue. Tomorrow the Association’s Executive Council meets to decide whether to approve the list to go forward to next month’s open primary. As Mark and I have a vested interest in the outcome of that meeting, we are quite rightly not allowed to attend. Some enterprising local voters have started an on-line petition in order persuade the selection panel to think again.
I stick by my view that a local candidate would be best for this constituency, particularly so close to the election. Now anyone reading this might say, “oh well, he would say that, it’s just sour grapes” and I can understand that. Obviously I haven’t seen the CVs of the successful candidates but I have done some web-based research on them and there’s no doubt that each of them has something to offer this constituency. Equally obviously I’m disappointed at not making the shortlist myself but that is politics and you should not get involved if you cannot accept setbacks. No-one has a divine right to a safe seat in Parliament.
So, unless something drastic happens tomorrow I will be going to the open primary as an ordinary voter and will cast my vote for the best person there on the night. And then back to the job for which I have been elected – representing the electorate of Cobham Fairmile. And a thank you to Spain, for softening the blow a little.