About six years ago I wrote a blog. It started well. I blogged about Conservative politics and life in general. Over several months I built up a regular following of 30 loyal readers (although many told me afterwards they read it out of a sense of fear in case I questioned them about what I had written!) Then one morning I noticed my "hit counter" increase from the usual 50 to over 1,000. As I sat admiring the massive spike on the graph, a friend phoned. "I see your blog was featured on Iain Dale's Diary this morning..... he was slagging you off." In ten minutes my mood went from euphoric to despondent. Suddenly I realised that my new found "fame" was not based on anything other than mass ridicule by proxy. My enthusiasm soon waned.
Over the intervening years I often wished I had shown more resilience. Major events have come and gone. The 2009 Kent elections, when I was county-wide Campaign Manager, helping win a record 74 seats. The 2010 General Election, when I had the honour of being Tracey Crouch's Campaign Manager in Chatham & Aylesford, helping win the seat from Labour on twice the national swing. The 2011 local elections and No to AV Referendum, again helping secure the Conservative's strongest local government performance in the UK and a massive NO vote in the referendum. These events came and went, with all the accompanying stories, amusement, intrigue and histrionics, without any record, other than fading memories and recounted tales.
So here we go again. Over the next six months there are two major events happening in my life; one personal, one political. In July, my partner, Steve, and I (along with out two cats) will be moving from our London flat to live on our narrow boat Barleywood, which is being taken by road from the River Wey in Guildford to her new residential mooring at Rochester Bridge Marina. And co-terminus with this, and up to 15 November 2012, I have the honour of being Campaign Director for Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative candidate for for the first ever Police & Crime Commissioner elections in Kent.
I believe both of these are worth recording, and even if this blog serves no greater purposes than allowing me to vent my frustrations, it will be worth while. Sadly in politics, some of the best stories must remain untold, as they involve real people and the behind the scenes cock-ups which no apparatchik would wish to commit to public record. However, I will be as honest as I can, even if this means changing a few names on the way, or writing some posts and not publishing them until after the event!
For now, here is a picture of Barleywood, as she leaves her mooring at Guildford for the last time (taken yesterday - Sat 23 June 2012). She is spending two weeks at the TLC boatyard at West Byfleet having various changes and improvements necessary for us to live on board, before her trip by road to Medway.
Tomorrow... I am off to an as yet undisclosed venue in North Kent with the Prime Minister, before returning to the office to organise the 2012 Summer Raffle. The joys of being a Conservative Party Agent !