I love Medway.
Sure, it’s got its faults, but, having lived in this corner of the UK for 25 years, I can say in all honesty that Medway is a place we can all be proud of.
Indeed, I love Medway so much that I stood for election to Medway Council, wishing to represent the people of Medway when important decisions were being made. The voters of Rochester South and Horsted decided they wanted to stick with the councillors they knew and trusted, and have no fear: in Trevor Clarke, Sylvia Griffin and Rupert Turpin, they have three wonderful local councillors who have always worked hard for their constituents and, no doubt, will continue to do so.
Four years ago, I decided against seeking election because (as was well known) I was moving away from the area just a couple of months afterwards. I stood this time because it was my intention to live in Rochester and work hard for my community. Had I been elected, I wouldn’t have resigned from UKIP and I wouldn’t be writing this post today.
The fact I love Medway so much, the fact most of my family and friends live in Medway, the fact I work (well, used to work) in Medway, the fact I volunteer in Medway and the fact I am a trustee of a Medway charity all made the decision a difficult one. However, it is time to spread my wings (again) and experience a new life further afield.
Today, I am boarding a flight to Barcelona, to start a new life with my (Catalan) fiancée.
The decision to leave my family and friends behind was not easy, and I will miss them greatly. However, thanks to modern technology, they are only a Skype call away, and they know they are more than welcome to benefit from cheap holidays to warmer, more pleasant climes. (My flight this evening only cost £36, although I have obviously paid extra for the benefit of taking two suitcases of most of my important and necessary possessions with me).
The decision to leave my job was not quite so difficult. I will, of course, miss my amazing work colleagues, but the profession I joined, even a short time ago, is not the same today. I will leave to your imagination why that might be, but at 25, I am able to start again in a new career without too much trouble. I have enjoyed my time in law, but I don’t enjoy it any more and I certainly won’t miss it.
What the future holds for me in Barcelona is far from certain. A short period of rest from a hectic 12 months, and a short period of settling, will be welcome, but I do not intend to be sitting on my backside for too long. I may not have enjoyed my job in the end, but that didn’t stop me from working hard, because that is the right thing to do; to work hard to have a life, not to expect other people to pay for you to live on easy street.
So, while it will be sad to watch the green fields of England fade into the distance this evening, I know I have made the right decision. For myself, for my fiancée, and for our future children (don’t worry, there’s no news on that front – and we aren’t planning on it for a while yet, either!): I am confident that living in a warmer, healthier, more tolerant region will provide the best possible future for our family.