10 May 2010

The Conservative Party - my role in its success

Election night 2010 (May) was an excruciating kind of tourture for those of us who had been waiting all our adult lives to vote for a Tory government. What started off so well in Sunderland and Kingswood quickly turned into concern in Torbay, disappointment in Tooting, despair in Westminster North finally disaster in Wells and Eastbourne. Not that there weren't any bright spots in the evening as some friends and colleagues from long ago entered Parliament for the first time but as the sun came up on Friday morning all hopes of an historic car journey from Notting Hill to Buckingham Palace were dashed.

Having been a party activist in my time, I resolved to do more at the next election, which could be very soon (this year perhaps) and wondered what difference I could have made had I done more this time around. Or whether I was better off staying well out.

Looking at my record, it must admitted, it is bleak and it may be that I do more harm than good.

I was born in 1976, so could not have had an impact on any election prior to that. The first three elections of my life were in 1979, 1983 and 1987. These were all great elections for the Tories but I was far too young to have been involved.  By 1992, aged 16, I was interested in politics and was keen to see John Major re-elected. However, any chance of campaigning was scuppered by a school trip to Australia. I missed the excitement of election night and only picked up the results and tit bits such as the loss of Chris Patten from Australian National Radio.

By 1997 I was old enough to vote and had become firmly involved with the Conservatives. I was chairman of the student branch at Bristol University and spent most of my Easter holidays (and the first few weeks of the summer term) campaigning, if not for a Tory win, at least to save Bristol West and its sitting MP, cabinet minister William Waldegrave.  I could not have done more but we fell short by around 1500 votes and the seat went red in the massive landslide which swept Blair to power.

2001 was another bleak year for the Tories. I had started work in the City but had been hired to build websites for seven Tory candidates.  Six of those candidates lost, including one in Ludlow which had been held in 1997, and was regained again in 2005.  My only winner was in Taunton, which was promptly lost again in 2005....

My involvement was scaled back in 2005 and although Labour returned to power, it was with a reduced majority.

Which brings us to 2010 - the best Tory result in years but not quite good enough. I went to at least one fundraiser, gave money to various candidates and evangelised to friends and my wider network and enthusiastically tweeted in support. 

I'm now wondering if I jinxed it.

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