Well, its all over. Its been delivered. David Cameron has made his much anticipated conference speech - and very unusual it was too. A full hour and eight minutes, without a note. I listened to the speech in my car, parked outside the Buck in Caersws. Couldn't judge what it was like in the Conference Hall - but it sounded like a very good speech indeed in my car. David sounded calm, controlled, totally on top of his brief and confident. It might not suit me, but I really think he wants the Prime Minister to call this election on Nov 1st..
So I consider myself to be midst an election campaign. I was in Caersws today leafleting the village. My leaflets were inviting recipients to join me tomorrow at a new coffee shop called Feast for Food. Four people rang me tonight to say they are coming along between 10.30 and 12.00. One man rang me to ask whether the cost of my leaflets are going to be included in my election expenses - miserable sod. It was quite a funny afternoon. First house I went to there lived a man named Hadyn who remembered when I captained Berriew Youths in a cup game against Caersws Youths. Now that's going back a bit. As it happens, I also remembered the game because I was given the task of 'softening up' a brilliant 13 year old called Micky Evans who was just beginning to make his name. Micky was a lot too good for me and I never got anywhere near him - which was no surprise because he went on to enjoy a very successful career in the Football League. Bit further on and John opened the door. He used to play rugby for Welshpool - and reminded me of his last game, a 'friendly' against a Shrewsbury Guest team. I was playing openside for Shrewsbury and one of my Figi-type hits on him cracked a couple of ribs and forced him into retirement. Thats the problem with standing for Parliament in a place where you've spent the whole of your life!
While I was in Caersws current MP, Lembit Opik visited - in a huge motor home plastered in posters, which looked every inch a campaign vehicle. He's on a several days tour of Montgomeryshire, being an MP. He's also been posting out glossy literature telling everyone what a wonderful MP he's been. I suspect that all of this is coming out of his Parliamentary allowances i.e. paid for by you and me. It is pretty clear to me that other sitting MPs are doing this, having anticapated that there was going to be an election some time ago. The MP for Chester was on Newsnight tonight, not even bothering to deny that she was using her allowances to campaign in all but name. She had sent out 42,000 glossy magazines to every ratepayer. It seems that it is all ok if there is no request for a vote. I can honestly say that I never did this with my expenses when I was an AM. It is outrageous - and I would never do it if I were to be elected. This sort of thing only makes me more determined to give it a real go.