The big local fundraising social of the year took place in my home today. Our star guest was Nick Clegg (Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary). A huge turnout – partly ‘cos Nick is a big draw and also partly because eleven would-be GLA candidates competing for selection on the list came to lobby for votes. (The party is currently selecting its candidates for the next London elections, and as this is done by a postal ballot of party members the wannabes are busy going round to lots and lots of local events at the moment).
Several local members put together a fantastic array of food (which is the real reason this annual event is so popular) and Nick gave a brilliant summation of where we are and where we need to be going.
In his introduction he obviously talked about our time working together in the Home Affairs team – and in describing me – he said I was a mix between Sienna Miller and Alastair Campbell! I was flattered by only one of these – your call as to which one!
Sadly two pieces of bad news today too. One of our long-serving activists and committed party members, Roderick Benziger died after a long illness. Roderick was one of the very first people to kind of believe in me and give me the confidence and courage to go forward. This never stopped us arguing over a range of issues as Roderick was a thinker and liked nothing better than a good political argument in the pub after any of our activities. From high politics to whether FOCUS should be ready-folded or on gold paper! I was so sad. Particularly as having spent seven months or so at the Whittington, he was finally moved to a nursing home only very recently (which his partner Diana had had to fight tooth and nail to even get him in) and I suppose I was hoping that he would have time and peace to make some sort of recovery. But it wasn’t to be. All the Lib Dems and I send Diana our condolences and love. Roderick was held in great affection by all of us.
The other bad news is the stabbing of a police officer who was working at the front counter of Wood Green police station. A young man jumped over the counter and stabbed the officer in the stomach. The officer is recovering in hospital and a fifteen year old has been arrested. What on earth was the motivation? Was it revenge for some grudge against the police? Was it drugs? When I spoke to the police – obviously it was too early to know any of those aspects but it does remind us abruptly and forcefully just what the police can have to face. Best wishes to the officer who wishes to remain anonymous at present for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: Duncan Borrowman and Jonathan Fryer have now blogged about the Nick Clegg event too.