I am typing this post at 6am on 27th April. I will press "publish" on this posting after the actual results are announced on 4th May. Today I will print off this posting and post it back to myself in the Royal Mail, sealed in an envelope with sellotape which I will sign across, to prove through the postmark when I typed this.
For West Berkshire Council I predict this result:
Conservatives 41 seats
Liberal Democrats 11 seats
And for Newbury Town Council I predict this result:
Conservatives 16 seats
Liberal Democrats 7 seats
The Liberal Democrats locally and nationally fought a fantastically good campaign. It was first class. However, there is a tide at work at the moment. National trends, Tory phone banks, repeated letters - that sort of thing. West Berkshire is a marginal enough area as it is.
As I learnt as a kid living on the coast, you can't fight the tide. It comes and it goes.
Us Liberal Democrats in West Berkshire and nationally have all slogged ourselves out through hard work. But then again, we fought just as hard a campaign in the mid-1990s when we won all but seven seats on Newbury District Council. But at that time the tide was with us and against the Conservatives.
We should remember the old Rudyard Kipling lines:
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
At the end of the day, we should be able to say that we did our very best and that we know what we believe in. In West Berkshire and nationally, us LibDems did our very best in this campaign, we clearly know what we believe in and we are our true to our beliefs. That is all that matters. The rest is tide.
Two of my friends are currently facing cancer and have days or weeks left in this world. It puts things into perspective.
It is sometimes worth asking oneself: "When I am on my deathbed (if I am lucky enough to have one!), what sort of things will I regret not doing?"
The answer for me is: I would regret it if I didn't spend enough time enjoying my family, being with friends and enjoying God's world - sun, dawn, sea, rivers, exercise, fresh air, real ale etc.
What I definitely won't say to myself on my deathbed is this:
If only we had won that election....and if only I had spent more time in council meetings.