“I’ll say this for you love, you’ve picked a great time to go into politics!” The man on whose door I had knocked guffawed loudly before adding kindly, “but I admire you anyway, I shan’t be voting this time, can’t trust any of them, but good luck to you all the same.” At least it was a friendly encounter. Not all of them were.
My timing was impeccable. With the Brexit mess obscuring everything and Parliament in meltdown, I decided to stand in a marginal seat for District Council election. As a Conservative candidate.
Demonstrating the same great timing back in the summer of 2008, bang on the eve of the financial crash, I used my BBC voluntary redundancy money to go into property development. It took a heck of a lot of hard work, but I managed to turn a decent profit back then, going on to buy, transform and sell six houses in the midst of a global depression. I reckoned I could apply the same grit to local politics.
I had been dipping my toe into the political waters for a while, trying on various activist roles for size. But finally cutting my 20-year staff and freelance ties with the BBC last summer meant I was now free to actually stand. I must admit it took a certain number of deep breaths to come out and nail my true political colours to one mast after so many years of being professionally impartial.
But I realised impartiality is easy. For large swathes of the population, particularly in organisations like the BBC, it is far easier to hide behind a cloak of neutrality and scoff at anyone who declares a political allegiance, especially if that allegiance is right of centre.
Easier and maybe a tiny bit cowardly? It takes guts to state publicly what you believe in and get stuck in, it’s so much easier to sneer from the sidelines.
I have many Tories who are friends, but not many friends who are Tories.