This is an indulgent personal post - stimulated by Janice Hooper and an anonymous comment on another post over the last day or two. Their general entirely reasonable point has been made by several others - usually supporters.
At about the age of 12, I developed a forceful temperament. Not overly aggressive, but 'Never a step backwards' became a personal style. Around the rugby fields of the Midlands I became known as the 'Paul Ringer of Mid Wales'. Rugby fans will know what that means. Over the years, I worked hard to drive out this 'dark side' - and been so successful that Janice and others who comment on my blog occasionally accuse me of being politically wimpish. Since this appearance of reason and reasonableness is the result of a conscious decision, I will try to offer an explanation.
I suppose it started when I first ventured forth from our hill sheep farm in search of a breeding partner. Experience quickly informed that compromise was a precursor to success. And then children, where an unnatural gentleness was essential. The final nail in the coffin of the belief in winning argument by force was hammered in when I reached the age of 32. My father died, leaving me to run the family business, and I was elected to Montgomeryshire District Council in the same month. Suddenly what mattered were 'outcomes', both political and financial. Its been the same ever since.
Some 15 months ago, the Montgomeryshire Conservative Association adopted me as their candidate for the next General Election. Although I needed a 11.4% swing to win, I decided that there was a strategy that might deliver an unlikely victory - instill in the thoughts of the people of Montgomeryshire that we are, first and foremost, committed to public service in their interests. The media give huge unbalanced publicity to my Liberal Democrat opponent, so we have to go direct to the people - and focus rigidly on our commitment to public service. That's what we do. Generally, I ignore the activities of the Montgomeryshire MP. He does it his way. So far, our strategy has gone rather well. Last May we took 6 of the Montgomeryshire seats on Powys County Council. (We had never won a single election before). Many people who have never voted Conservative before are telling us that they are now with us. I genuinely believe that I'm now in with a chance of winning. Often I'm told that the Liberal Democrats will 'play dirty' using a 'rumour network' - suggesting that I should do the same. Sometimes we might feel like that, but why change a winning strategy.
Occasionally, I will attack the Liberal Democrats, and sometimes criticise the current MP. But I believe the strategy we have adopted is that most likely to deliver - and I want to win.