Monday, November 11, 2019

Why I stood down as Blaydon candidate

Back in April we started the process of buying a smallholding near our village of Sunniside in Gateshead. It took six months for the purchase to go through, longer than we expected, and at the start of October, it became ours. In July I agreed to be the Lib Dem candidate for Blaydon in the event of a snap general election which was widely expected to be in held in August, September or October. It looked increasingly like I would get the election campaign over before the smallholding purchase could be completed.

And then....the election didn't happen, at least not in the timescale we first expected back in the summer. As October wore on, the talk was increasingly of an election in the new year. It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to remain as candidate while the smallholding was needing urgent work to bring it into use next year. So, in mid October, I told the party that I could no longer continue as candidate. It turned out to be fortuitous timing as had I delayed taking a decision until the start of November, I almost certainly would have continued as candidate in the snap election which wasn't quite snap enough to be held in the August to October timeline. I would have lost any possibility of getting onto the land this year in preparation for next year. The smallholding is quite a significant investment for us. Leaving it idle next year is not an option.

I was phoned by the Chronicle this afternoon about why I wasn't standing. I was on one of my allotments at that point so while I was doing the interview, there was a chorus of quacking ducks and clucking hens to add authenticity to the situation! In the resulting article, they republished bits from previous articles about my sustainable lifestyle. It's a good write up and you can read the article on this link.

The article also had extensive coverage of Vicky Anderson, our new candidate for Blaydon, and Peter Maughan, our candidate for Gateshead.

The video above was filmed on the smallholding on the day I decided to step down as candidate. In it I explain some of the ideas I have for the site. If anyone is interested and willing to give a hand, tomorrow I will be shipping quarter of a tonne of garden waste and manure from our livestock allotment to the smallholding. Come along and get your hands dirty!

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