Firstly, my apologies to regular readers who may have wondered if I have fallen off the edge of the world. I had in a way – the first 3 months of this year have been the busiest I have experienced at work for quite some time. Clearly the recovery has finally made itself felt in the Temple!
I have to admit that, when Parliament was dissolved and the general election campaign began, my first feeling was one of disappointment. I worked hard over the last 18 months to try to be selected to stand again for Parliament. As I have a young family and a time-consuming job, as well as obligations arising out of my role as a councillor and cabinet member, I had to pick and choose seats carefully. I only applied for seats where I would expect to win. I have fought a safe Labour seat before, in 2001, and I could not afford to take the whole of the 5 week campaign off if there was no real chance of winning. Nor would it be fair on my family to disappear for such a long time. My wife also has a demanding job as a solicitor for our local authority. I am not interested in standing anywhere that would have me and so I only appIied for seats which were local to where I now live, or close to where my family and my wife’s family live and where I felt I would be at home. I gave it my best shot, and made the final dozen in Thirsk and Malton, and the final 4 in Louth & Horncastle. So I have to admit I felt – and still feel – a bit left out.
But we need a Conservative government. Particularly so given that the alternative – a Labour led government propped up by the SNP would be so totally contrary to the UK’s interests as a whole. Sturgeon and Salmond play down the idea of a second independence referendum, but does anyone think they would not insist on one if they win another overall majority in the next Scottish parliament elections? In terms of policy they are far to the left even of Ed Miliband; they would insist on a return to borrowing and spending (biased towards Scotland) and of course they would scrap our independent nuclear deterrent (on which I have no firm views on whether we should have 4 boats or 3, provided they are enough to deter Putin or North Korea or any Middle Eastern country from firing nuclear weapons into Western Europe).
So I’ve been hitting the phones to support Paul Scully in Sutton & Cheam and pounding the streets with James Berry in Chessington as he seeks to dislodge arch-environmentalist Ed Davey from Kingston & Surbiton. It’s good to get out there, especially when the weather is fine and people aren’t yet fed up of the sight of politicians.
One thing that has come across clearly is how valuable David Cameron is to us. Quite often, when I ask people whether they are going to vote Conservative, I get the reply “I’m voting for Cameron” or “I can’t vote for Miliband”, rather than mentioning the parties. I know some people decry the politics of personality but the Conservatives are right to highlight the fact that this election is a choice between 2 potential Prime Ministers, as it is a contest which Cameron is winning hands down.