Now, folks, there's been something going on for a little while that I haven't mentioned to many people and haven't blogged about. Some months ago I applied for the parliamentary selection process in North East Somerset. I applied because it's an area that I care about, and I applied because I knew there wasn't a chance I'd come anywhere near getting it, and that it would be a great experience.
Last night, I was selected by the good members of North East Somerset and I'll go on to fight Jacob Rees-Mogg (amongst others) at the next General Election. I can't tell you the mix of feelings I had last night and today. I'm humbled, as I always am and will be when members of our party put their faith in me and I'm proud to move forward with another challenge. I'm also scared, excited and anxious to get started.
One thing that I did yesterday, was make a speech. As a Councillor, I'm used to speaking in meetings, but I've never been tasked with standing in front of a room of people and engaging them for ten minutes. Being anxious about this, I made a lot of notes, did a few redrafts (something I never do) and tried to make sure I was clear what I was putting across.
My page of notes, my collection of bullet points and my list of things to remember was then promptly left, by me, on the table of a Sainsbury's cafe, not in my backpack on the way to the selection meeting.
Whilst I think my speech would have been improved by the use of notes, I think I might commit to not using notes at all now - perhaps I won't miss them if I never use them!
Either way, there was one part of the speech that I was really proud of, which I don't think I got across very clearly and which, to be honest, I didn't want to go to waste. It's a very basic outline of why I'm a Liberal Democrat, and I thought I'd reproduce it here, having retrieved my notebook last night.
'People often ask me why I'm a Liberal Democrat - what it is that makes me walk all the miles and deliver all the leaflets. I wish I could say something worthy about how I'm committed to electoral reform or how green energy makes me tick, but it wouldn't be the whole truth.
The reason I'm a Liberal Democrat, is because I believe Liberal Democrats are a voice for the voiceless - and I know it because I've been there.
When I was young, successive Conservative governments vilified single parent families to the point that mothers including my own were given enough money to feed their children but not themselves.
When I was growing up and realising that I wasn't like other boys, Labour legalised Civil Partnership but still didn't believe that I should be able to marry - actually, properly, marry - the person I love.
The only people who who come to bat, every single time, for people like that, people like me, people who are marginalised are the Liberal Democrats.
That's why I joined and that's why I stayed, because the LibDems became a family for me. Just like family, we have arguments and upsets and difficulties, but just like a family, when our backs are against the rope, we pull together, we work harder, walk further and we go that extra mile for the people we represent.
I don't think we do it just to get elected either. We do it for the lady whose child has had six chest infections in as many months because her house is damp and the Council won't do anything. We do it for the young person struggling to get a job, whose only internet access is at his local library which is threatened by closure. We do it for those people who need our support, who the other parties have ignored or taken for granted, for the people who fall through the cracks.
If we don't do it, nobody else will do it for us. That's why I'm a Liberal Democrat, and that's why I'd like to be an MP, because people deserve a voice and people need to have someone on their side.'