The details of how much all General Election candidates spent between January 1st and May 6th this year has just been released by the Electoral Commission. Because of the terrific local support we had in Montgomeryshire, I was expecting us to have spent more than Lembit Opik. But I was wrong. He managed to outspend me by almost £3,000. Only goes to prove that spending money is not the secret to winning elections.
What would be interesting about this is knowing where the money came from. During the campaign there were plenty of whispers and rumours that my campaign was being funded by Lord Ashcroft - which was untrue. I said nothing at the time - because I thought it just made my opponents look desperate. In fact, all but £2,500 was raised locally - and that single 'declared' donation was from an individual with whom I'd worked on 'care for the elderly' and who wanted to support me personally. Every penny of the rest was raised locally.
I've no doubt that I'll be the recipient of comments about my hill sheep farmer background - which instilled in me a caution about throwing money around. I've always reckoned that the long-term comfort of financial security outweighs any short-term pleasure derived from wasteful spending. Others claim, rather unkindly that this phrase is synonymous with 'tight-fistedness' - and no doubt they will claim that today's announcement confirms that as official.