Angela Richardson is the Deputy Chairman Political of Guildford Conservatives and the Vice Chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council
Mention the famous Marshmallow experiment designed by Stanford University Psychologist, Walter Mischel, in the 1970s and most Conservatives I know would fall over themselves to declare they would, of course, delay gratification. It is also a fairly accurate predictor of long-term successful outcomes. What could be more Conservative?
This Thursday 23rd May, we are holding “the election that should never have been”. The commentary from within our own ranks, some positively salivating at the thought of sending a message by abstaining, spoiling their ballot, or indeed voting for another party, makes me wonder how many of us would pass that famous test at the moment.
This week I was at the South East Conservative Policy Forum Conference, where Dan Hannan MEP opened proceedings highlighting how truly grave the consequences are for one of the two main parties when it is sitting at nine per cent in the polls. By the end of the day, I was listening to a conversation of our party faithful who feel that MPs after the local election results are still not listening. That the message didn’t get through and needed sending again.
Having overseen a campaign of unparalleled intensity and dedication by candidates in the run up to the recent electoral wipe-out of my Guildford Borough Council colleagues, as well as narrowly missing out in the Waverley Borough Council Ward I was contesting to Lib Dem opposition who didn’t even campaign, I can assure you that our Association definitely got the message.
I wanted to sit on my hands and do nothing for this set of European Elections. As a Brexiteer, I am frustrated beyond belief at a Parliament, who by taking “no deal” off the table in the worst example of helicopter parenting I’ve seen, who by trying to protect us from the harmful economic and social consequences they perceived would result in leaving with “no deal”, have actually created the perfect conditions for precisely that outcome.
We are ushering in an opposition government by our own hands who aren’t the Labour of the past, like my grandfather who worked on the New Zealand Railways; was a trade union member; and in his retirement volunteered in his community for those who had even less than he did. This is a potential disaster of monumental proportions, because not only will we have a Marxist Government, we will have a decimated Conservative Party if we work against ourselves.
At the weekend I went out in my own village of Ewhurst in Surrey to deliver the well-written leaflet for the South East by Hannan. Many were in their front gardens cutting the grass or washing their cars. I expected the conversations would be awkward, but these are aspirational Conservative voters who said: “At least you’re from the right party”. I bumped into a member walking her dog who had recently emailed into the office to say she wouldn’t be supporting any of our Constituency events until we had a new PM. But she said: “I will definitely be voting for Daniel, he is excellent.”
Change is coming within the party. We will have a new leader soon enough. Let’s not kill our chances in the inevitable General Election to come, by succumbing to the temptation of that sugar-loaded marshmallow on Thursday and be gluttons for our own punishment.