It was decision time. I had danced around the issue for long enough. I had discussed, googled, and floated the concept with some friends and family. Over the preceding weeks I had kept things loose, I had not committed either way, my options were open. But as I looked down at the partially completed application form I realised that checking the submission deadline for the 7th time in an hour would not change the fact that it was tomorrow. The wife was out with the dogs, so no further advice was on offer.
There was no reason why I couldn’t secure the signatures to be formally nominated and seconded, and the Parish Secretary had kindly offered to check my forms and hand deliver them to the Returning Officer. Having compressed the timescales down to the wire, the next 2 hours were quite a frenzy. Nip across to a neighbour (and sitting Councillor seeking re-election) to secure a formal nomination – check. Jump in the car, and shoot up the hill to the Parish Secretary’s house to get the nomination seconded, and the forms quality assured – check.
That took all of 15 minutes in reality, but the remainder of the 2 hours was taken up by a very wide ranging discussion with the Secretary and her husband about the Parish, beef farming, the nuclear deterrent, and Brexit. A prime objective of getting involved in all this was to meet and spend time with our neighbours, and the application process alone had certainly delivered on that front. With the forms submitted, the matter was now out of my hands. Nothing (except an unchecked box or undated signature) was going to stop my formal nomination and entry into the election process.
It was all quite exciting. Close friends and family were informed, and a mocking WhatsApp exchange was had with my brother and sister in-law. Living overseas, this is the most common form of communication with my sibling and his better half, and my nomination clearly provided a fruitful subject matter. The exchange played out over several days and centred around suggestions for overly elaborate policies and direct challenges on my personal integrity; specifically that I would abuse my new powers (whatever they turned out to be). A visit is planned for a few weeks time, and I’m sure the long weekend will be dominated by further intense campaign planning suggestions.
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”Winston S. Churchill
But what of the Campaign? I can vaguely recall completing a Parish Council ballot paper as a bit of a sideshow when voting in a General Election several years ago. A ridiculously long sheet of paper, lots of names, and I could pick up to nine of them. With no real consideration I just went with those whose address I vaguely recognised and gave it no further thought; after all, I had an MP to elect and my blunt pencil was on its last legs.
Years later, here I was soon to become one of those names. How was I to avoid being just another box to be crossed (or not) amongst the masses? Having taken the plunge, could I cope with failing to be elected? Do I need to get myself out there and knocking on doors? Could I rework one of the dog’s agility rosettes as the basis of my Campaign branding?
So much to consider. Time to think this through over a couple of beers.
STOP PRESS: As I post this blog update, I have just been informed that the nominations received is equal to, or less than, the number of available seats. The election will be uncontested. I’m in!