On Saturday November 16, at Carpenders Park Community Centre, I met Watford’s new Conservative candidate, Dean Russell. Unusually for Watford’s recent line-up of politicians, Dean appears to believe in democratic accountability, national sovereignty and the importance of losers’ consent, the bedrock of democracy. He is also obsessive about making sure that our nationalised industries, health and education, do not waste taxpayers’ money.

I recalled this interaction when Mr Russell began to describe a poignant experience he had some years ago in the Philippines working with a charity that provided hearing aids for deaf children. He described the moment when a deaf child, realising that the vibrations felt by her hand placed on the throat of the demonstrator linked to her own undeveloped ability to copy speech, turned to her mother and said ‘Mama’ for the first time.

Dean Russell has a background in physics. This does not mean he is competent to run the economy, but it might mean he is competent to resist the temptation to run it.

Prof. Christine Wheeler McNulty