Saturday, June 30, 2007

In Praise of Stalwarts

Last night, my first speech to a Tory audience since losing my position in the National Assembly (rather unexpectedly) on May 3rd. I was the 'Name on the Ticket' at a cheese and wine do at Llyswen, near Brecon. Introduced by Nick Bourne, who said he missed my presence, and my sage advice in the Assembly. So I started off by saying what a splendid chap Nick is, and how well he's managed the shenanigans that have been going on over the last few weeks.

I don't usually plan what I'm going to say at events such as these. I just go on what I hear and see when I get there. And last night, what struck me was that so many of the audience were the same as when I first spoke at Breconshire and Radnorshire many years ago. The phrase that came to mind was 'Party Stalwarts' - loyal supporters who have stuck by us through good times and bad. Since David Cameron took over, we've been concentrating on changing our clothes and mood music as we reach out to new voters. Absolutely essential if we are going to stand any chance of forming the next government. But we must never forget the party stalwarts. And its the same in life. Lots of new friends are great. But never forget the friends who stand by you when its raining. I drove home feeling good - and remembering why I enjoy party politics.

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