It is a dark day for the Conservative party, especially locally.
Alan Collins has resigned.
When I first dived into Twitter and active politics I quickly learnt the party lines with Tristan Osborne & Vince Maple in red, Gary Allanach & I in gold, Chris Irvine & John Ward in blue supported by the indomitable blogging force of Alan Collins.
Alan was and is an inspiration in the way he conducted himself and blogged, always even keeled and authoritative - something I've tried to emulate but never quite achieve. Indeed, when I wrote the Clegg city-status letter last year, it was Alan's disappointment in me personally (as well as another Conservative's disappointment in our actions) that led me to write an introspective. Although I stand by our actions and reasons, disappointing them, especially Alan, was tough and somewhat galling.
I'm proud to say, that despite that, we're friends, at least online, and one weekend (this season) I will get out of work and away from the family to come watch our beloved Gills FC and share a beer with him.
I totally understand his reasons for leaving the party. The Conservatives have moved to a more central, almost Liberal ground (though with differing motivations) and a lot of people with conservative values, who had a home in the old party, are finding themselves no longer represented. Cracks are also visible in parliament.
The Coalition has been tough to bear as well. I'm going to be honest, I've nearly walked away a couple of times. Tuition fees shook me to my very core and there was a lot of soul searching. I generally try to focus on the good things and the good work our local party & councillors do to get me through and at the bottom I still believe the party has liberalism at its' core. For others, it has been harder to stay loyal to a party and not loyal to yourself.
It is a tough decision to make and I know Alan will not have made it lightly or rashly . From his post, this is something he has really thought long and hard on and it takes guts to do what he's done.
The Medway Conservatives have genuinely lost a star.