One of the disadvantages of having travelled the length and breadth of the country is that you get to meet a lot of people. Now I know what you're thinking, "He means advantages, doesn't he?". And normally, you'd be right. But not always...
The news that John Warman, the councillor for Cimla on Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, has defected to Labour has triggered a touch of regret on my part. You see, during the Presidential campaign, Ros and I went to Cimla, to meet John, Frank Little and Des Sparkes, and some of the small, but committed, group of Liberal Democrats, striving to keep an entrenched Labour council vaguely honest. They gave us a warm, generous welcome, and organised a short but enjoyable schedule of events for us to participate in.
John, in particular, had ploughed a lonely furrow on the council for many years, and I admired their determination, against the odds, in fighting on, when the temptation to settle for an easier life and join Labour would have been strong. And let's not mess around here, Neath Port Talbot is an old-style Labour fiefdom - when we visited, full Council lasted sixteen minutes, including a gracious welcome to Ros from both the Mayor and Leader.
So, whilst some may question John's decision to join the Labour Party, I can only regret the loss of a stalwart councillor. Not a big name, perhaps, but there are very few instances where a defection is welcomed. My condolences go out to Frank Little, Des Sparkes and the Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats. They're a decent, warm-hearted bunch, and they deserve better.