On Monday I was sitting in the Market Tavern sipping a milky latte and gazing vaguely at my iPad. I’d been asked to write a piece for Lib Dem Focus and was finding it quite a challenge. As I struggled to simplify a tortuous phrase, Tony, a neighbour of mine thankfully joined me.
We talked local politics and he asked whether I had finally decided whether to stand for council next year. I found myself replying with a curious mix of pride and caution that I found a little disconcerting.
“Yes,” I said. “I’m standing for the Lib Dems.”
He looked startled and for a moment I thought he was going to rant about Nick Clegg. But he simply asked where I was standing. “Right here,” I said. “Right here in Demsbury Central.” Tony looked impressed. “Against Mad Max? That’s great. You will get my vote for sure.”
I can’t tell you how excited I was at this. My first vote! A precious moment indeed.
The next morning, I was preparing lunch in the kitchen when I caught a glimpse of a familiar face. Mad Max was striding towards my front door! I ducked out of sight, cursing as I knocked a wedge of Garstang Blue cheese to the floor. Fortunately, Max did no more than shove a glossy leaflet for the Tory police commissioner candidate through the door. I picked up the cheese and mashed it onto rye bread toast, all the time roundly cursing Max. I swore even more when I read the leaflet. How can someone claim she is not a political candidate when she has the Conservative party logo stamped on every page!
But not one person was talking about the police commissioner election in Demsbury. THIS Tuesday night was THE election. Melissa and I sat up late to watch TV and debate American politics over a few glasses of Pinot. I so love the glamour of US elections. If only we had at least a touch of razzmatazz over here!
I went to bed dreaming of being elected to the strident sounds of the Demsbury Silver Band. I awoke to BBC radio reporters quietly informing the world that Obama was still the president. Hurrah!
Later, in the evening, I was sipping a glass in the Market Tavern when Max walked in. He’d been out leafleting again. I’ll say this for him, he’s a hard grafter. “What did you think of the result?” I asked. He flushed red and launched a tirade against Obamacare and the coming “bankruptcy of America”.
“But surely,” I ventured, “the NHS is this country’s greatest asset and Obama is just trying to go some way towards that?” I should have known better. Max exploded and ranted about civil servants destroying Britain and the urgent need to privatise almost everything.
I was not going to let him get away with that. “If I was American, I’d have voted for Obama,” I told him bluntly. “You’ll be telling me you’re a Lib Dem next,” he spluttered.
“I am,” I said quietly. “I’m standing for council next May.”
I could briefly see the astonishment on Max’s face, but he quickly swapped that for the professional smile he adopts in the presence of women and babies. “Well, we need more town councillors and it’s not party political anyway,” he said quietly.
I couldn’t help but grin. “I’m not standing for Demsbury Council Max. I’m standing for Libbyshire. Standing against you in fact.” Max was speechless. He mumbled something I could not catch and made his way to the bar.
I had silenced Max with the news that I am to be his political rival. Another precious moment. Two in a week!
I am beginning to enjoy this. But now I really must finish my piece for Libbyshire Focus. It’s time to get down to the serious work of politicking and winning an election.
* Libby Local is based on real events. Details have been changed to protect the innocent and disguise the guilty. Libby’s passion and determination, along with her angst and frustration, are set to be a regular feature of Lib Dem Voice as the May 2013 elections approach. You can catch up with all Libby Local's episodes to date by clicking here.