At 11PM all seemed right with the world and none of us believed the exit poll and although expecting losses never in our darkest moments imagined the levels that were to pass. The Local election just added to the woe as we were wiped out.
After 19 years of service Cllr Geoff Juby fell and 21 years Diana Smith. Even in Gillingham South a ward where a Conservative vote was considered a wasted vote the blues scored high, not as high as UKIP and Labour but higher than us.
I looked at my rosette and began to wonder if my renewal was a little premature.
Though I pride myself on a near Teutonic rigidness to follow orders mixed with the Pullen stubbornness and Sams pigheadedness of not admitting I'm wrong I, like rational human beings have to question my course from time to time.
Maybe signing up was a little premature and the party was dead. Suddenly the family motto of Dum Sperro Spirro (Whilst I breathe I hope.) wasn't enough.
Whilst at the Local count I was offered a Labour membership form twice which I politely turned down, mainly because of who asked me, had it been someone else I may not have been so polite(!). There are many things that could attract me to Labour but the parliamentary group really put me off, they had no policies, no direction and no charisma and failed to provide a credible opposition.
As for locally... Well what really got under my skin was a leaflet put through my door the night before the election calling on people to oust Clegg and his acolytes who had voted for tuition and bedroom tax before urging them to vote for the Gillingham South team. That poisoned the well for me. Geoff, Tony and I had absolutely bugger and all to do with those issues and neither did Medway Council. If anything I almost quit the party in the wake of tuition but after much soul searching I thought I should invest in our work locally.
Then I looked right. As the saying goes; If you can't beat 'em...
It is true that I am a big fan of Tracey Crouch's work and the idea of a new caring Liberal Tory party was quite alluring. The grey lines of the Coalition had got very confusing...
Problem was that as I looked around the room there was a lot of smugness and self congratulation and if there is one thing worse than a bad loser it is a bad winner (this includes you Cllr Bowler (Lab) strutting onto the stage and air punching is a tad undignified). It is enough to put me off, I can be quite shallow sometimes, but ultimately though with the direction this new Conservative government is taking... It is probably a "nah, you're alright" from me.
My beliefs and membership is not up for grabs sand despite the pros (and cons) of the other parties I cannot abandon my principles, there are more important things than being elected.
The Liberal Democrats are where my heart lies and where my beliefs are strong. I have been a member for six years through quite literally the best of times and worst of times and will still be knocking on doors and delivering Focuses for years to come even if I'm the last LibDem standing in Gillingham.