Christmas 2010


So was it worth it? I don’t know, but I am sure that it was right to try. We increased the Liberal Democrat vote, and our share of the vote. We were able to raise a number of issues that I felt, and still feel to be, important. If there is someone else prepared to put in the effort, time and money to carry on the campaign, we could certainly win this constituency. Unfortunately Debbie and the wider family have had to put up with me being totally preoccupied by all the work, and we still have to decide what to do with a whole stack of orange diamonds saying Vote Charles West on them.

Since the election I have tried to pull back from politics a bit, and we had a lovely holiday in July: nearly a month in France with spells with Matilda, Nick and Bethan, and Alistair, Michelle and Dylan as well as ten days in the mountains walking every day. We had two other trips to France this year though one was very brief, when we went down on the train to drive Debbie’s parents back from the South. Our February holiday was a little different, the combination of weather and the fact that I fell and cut my face meant that we didn’t ski at all. Instead we hired snowshoes and thoroughly enjoyed walking in virgin snow through woods and fields.

Work is winding down. Debbie stopped in February, and after a hiatus over the election I decided that I was getting out of the swing of things a bit. So I have decided to give up clinical practice and now just do GP appraisals. I also took a break from playing in the orchestra over the election period and seriously wondered if I should give up, but they were very kind to me when I came back this term. We enjoyed two re-unions this year: a dinner at Stratford for our year from Birmingham Medical School and a gathering of Wests for Robert’s 70th birthday. We want to see more of family and friends so if we can fit it in between orchestra, child-minding, garden, holidays, politics and work we might do some visiting, or we would love to see you here. My fantasy of spending long periods in France will have to wait.

We missed some of our garden fruits by being away in July, but the damsons were superb this year, and if we get round to picking them all we have lots of apples. So, despite the colder weather I can look out of the study window at leaves turning yellow and gold and red and enjoy the autumn.


This was the year that I was not elected to Parliament. So how does that make it different from any other year? Well, I had been building up to it for over two years, and by the time May arrived the election was dominating my diary, post, telephone and eMail. I was regularly working fifteen hours a day on the campaign and when it crept up to nineteen hours on a couple of occasions I realised that I was not getting enough sleep. There are over 40,000 doors, and though there were a number that I never got to see there were a good number that I visited several times. The major candidates met five times at hustings and my opponents became more offensive and personal as time passed. The Conservative pointedly refused to shake hands.

More from 2010

Summer in France

July and Sept. 2010

Matilda and


Alistair and


and finally

other sites





A good result, but not good enough!