“Why would you want to do that?”

When I was rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean, many times I saw sharks attacking a school of fish in a feeding frenzy. My attention would first be caught by seabirds circling overhead, anticipating tasty scraps. Then I would see the roiling, seething surface of the ocean, criss-crossed by shark fins as predators devoured their prey. After ten or fifteen minutes the attack would subside, and the waters would become calm again.

The sight didn’t scare me. I was a safe distance away, and I reckoned as long as I stayed in the boat, and the sharks stayed in the water, everybody’s happy.

But now I’m entering a different kind of shark-infested water, with no rowboat for protection. I’m standing for Parliament.

This is certainly not my lifelong ambition. Around twelve years ago, a few friends said I would make a good MP and urged me to stand. I spoke to a few MPs and concluded there was absolutely nothing about the life of an MP that I would enjoy.

But the country has changed, our politics have changed, and I guess I’ve changed too.

Weirdly, it was during the brief and tumultuous Liz Truss era that the notion to be an MP came back to me, and this time it wouldn’t let me go. For several months, since I’d finished writing a book about the positive change we need in the world, I’d been trying to figure out how I could take what I’d learned in twenty years as an environmental campaigner and put it to good use. It was the day of the Queen’s funeral, and I was reflecting on her life of devoted public service, when it became clear to me what I needed to do.

For all the many flaws of our antiquated, unfair, chaotic and often sleazy politics, for now at least it is still the best way to make change happen. Entering the political fray is about as appealing to me as jumping into the middle of the sharks’ dinnertime, and I fully expect to have a few chunks taken out of me along the way, yet I know it’s exactly what I’m meant to be doing. Within 11 months, I had passed a rigorous evaluation to become an approved candidate, and local Lib Dem party members had selected me to fight the new – and very winnable – seat of the South Cotswolds.

So when people on doorsteps ask me – as they often do – “why would you want to go into politics – and now?”, I know exactly why. I don’t do things because they’re easy or enjoyable. I do things because they matter, and nothing matters more to me than doing whatever I can to fix this broken Britain.

Other News:

A great evening at Sustainable Sherston last Friday. Thanks to all the environmentally concerned folks who came along and asked such great questions. We could have talked all night!

As I mentioned last week, I went to see The Boys in the Boat, much of which was filmed in the Cotswolds Water Park. It’s a film based on the true story of the Washington rowing crew that beat the posh Ivy League boys from the East Coast to represent the USA in the Berlin Olympics of 1936. It was a little schmaltzy, the music a little overblown, but you can’t beat a good story of the underdogs triumphing over the odds to win. (This may explain why I’m a Lib Dem. 😜)

To keep up to date with me and my campaign, please follow me on Facebook! Or on LinkedIn, if that’s more your style.

We’re keen to welcome more campaigners to our team to help with deliveries and/or doorknocking. Please consider lending us an hour or two a month. Email my wonderful Campaign Organiser, Poppy Fair, for more details.

We are also looking for financial support. Every pound matters – even the price of a weekly latte would help. If you’re ready for positive change in the South Cotswolds, please put your money where your mouth is by hitting Reply to this email, and I’ll let you know how. Thank you! 🙏

Quote of the Week

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have a great week!


Photo of Roz by Hunter Downs, Republic of Kiribati

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