Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Pressure of Politics

I happened to bump into this blog post by Nick Radford recently which explained his decision to leave front-line politics.

I don't know Nick personally but his name is familiar to me within the Liberal Democrat Party and as he states he is a former Parliamentary candidate for the party in Wiltshire. He explains the many different reasons why he's leaving front-line politics after 5 years. I thought that his deliberations were very honest and thought-provoking and I'm sure he speaks for many people involved in politics for differing parties and at varying levels when he said in conclusion...

Nick Radford

"In all the 5 years that I was in politics, I never met a single person involved who came across as content, peaceful and happy in life. Everyone in politics is strained. I just don't think it is an occupation which puts you at peace. There is constant conflict, drama, hyperbole and everyone is always in a rush. You're always being attacked or attacking someone - it's just not good karma. It leaves you nervous, paranoid, hollow. There was no time for the simple things in life.

These days I feel like a different person. I have a quiet, wholesome happiness right at my core. I know it sounds cliched but I have an "inner peace" which I never had at any point in the last 5 years. I get to read books, go for runs, make good food, research obscure topics that interest me, spend time with my family and with Eeva, dream and make plans for the future – it's like a whole new lease of life".

I can certainly sympathise with his views. Being in politics isn't easy. It is immensly rewarding when you successfully help a resident with one of their concerns or when you have made a positive contribution to a facet of policy-making but living your life in the public eye can sometimes result in some of the emotions above that Nick testifies too.

I've been doing this now for 7 years and as mentioned previously, I intend to stand for re-election to Ceredigion Couny Council next year. I enjoy the drama, the hyperbole and the rush. If I didn't, I wouldn't have lasted as long as I already have.

But I'm only 28. In a way, like Nick, I've gone about it in an unconventional sense. Instead of taking on front-line politics in my latter years as is usually the case with many, I've done so from an early age - being elected originally at the age of 21.

Who's to know how I'll feel in 5, 10, 15, 20 years time. But I know that if the enjoyment of the cut and thrust of being in politics is ever overtaken by that hollow sense of paranoia and nervousness, then the time would come for me to make the same bold decision that Nick has made.

Good luck to you Nick. It's a courageous man that makes a life-changing decision from a life he has known to one he may not.

I wish you the best for your future.


  1. I got to campaign for Nick back in 2010. It is a shame he is leaving front line politics but I completely understand the attacks after the election I remember as being particularly personal.

  2. If it is any consolation, Mark, I will be 37 by the time of the next local elections in Ceredigion and would like to (if there are no huge objections) stand for the Lib Dems again in those elections, something I have done continually since 2004 (for Henfynwy, then for Ciliau Aeron in 2008) and I do so simply to be able to say (if I am elected) "Right, what would you like me to do on your behalf in council?"