Went back to City Hall for a meeting of ex-GLA members of the London Assembly. Very nice to meet up with old faces. Boris wandered over to say hello. He gave a funny speech – which is his talent. Can’t have been that long after his now much publicised hissy fit where he stomped out of a Commons Select Committee ‘cos he didn’t like the questions about why London transport stopped the night we had snow. What a woos!
Off to OxPoly – as was – now Oxford Brookes University – as an alumni to take part in a panel on ‘successful women’. Unwittingly began my political career there – my first taste of politics was marching against Maggie Thatcher and my first campaign was to Save Art (hugely successful obviously – at least for a short while till I left and they got rid of it anyway). This was a blast from the past. The session itself was sold out and very well attended and hugely enjoyable -hopefully for the audience too.
The other alumni all had stellar careers in a variety of settings – and it was brilliantly facilitated by Peninah Thomson – a real high flier! What she did was, rather than have a sterile format with each of four of us giving a speech, to have questions with herself bringing in the audience right from the start. We all had drinks with the audience after – which was great too.
Several people there actually remembered my Save Art campaign – and even stranger, the Social Secretary from my era was there. He got such great bands to come to OxPoly. I saw David Bowie for example the year before he hit the big time – and there were only about 50 people there! Ahead of the curve…
Went to St Mary’s School in Hornsey – who put on one of the best ever ‘exhibitions’ that I have seen. The whole school got involved in creating ‘The London Experience’. From good size replicas of key London sites from Big Ben to the Globe, to the religions of London, to London Zoo and wartime London – completely brilliant. Wish I could show you the scope, scale and sheer brilliance of this mega project – but look at the photos here and here. I bet the information and learning that the children got from all of this will be embedded in their brains forever – far more than just being taught it. Congratulations to all at St Mary’s!
Turing to a less happy subject – two of my constituents have been held for years under control orders. Every time I write to the Home Office I am simply told they are a threat to national security. They have never known what evidence there is. It is kept secret. Their conditions are awful – let out three hours a day with a visit to report at police station in the middle.
But this doesn’t quite add up. If they are a threat of such great order that this has gone on for three years and everything has to be kept secret, then why are they let out at all? And Mr W spent two years in Belmarsh – but then his charges were dropped. He was then free for five months – but then put under control order where he has now been for a few years.
Finally – lap dancing. I went to an ‘evidence’ session hosted by Andy Slaughter and to which all MPs (like me) who have an interest in how to fight off lap dancing applications in unsuitable areas were invited. Also there were expert councillors who have had experience of fighting off such applications – with varying success etc. I will be writing more on this shortly – so watch this space.