Friday, February 17, 2006

A rummage through the memory vaults

And so to Harlesden/Neasden/Stonebridge (delete as appropriate), for the second Brent Liberal Democrats Annual Dinner. Daniel and Valerie (old friends and now Brent councillors) had invited me last week and, given my historic links to the borough - my parents still live in what is now Fryent ward and I fought Roe Green ward in 1990 - it seemed like an opportunity to meet some old friends.

Somehow, I shouldn't have been surprised to see Jonathan Fryer there. There is a theory that there is more than one Jonathan Fryer wandering around London because, to paraphrase, everyone knows someone who has met Jonathan at a Local Party event. Anyone would think that he wanted to be selected for something...

I ended up on a table with Jonathan, John Hammond and Alan Johnston (two of our original councillors from the early days in Barham), Daniel and his wife Karen, and a charming evening was had by all.

The guest speaker was Lembit Opik. Now I remember Lembit long before he was an 'out' Liberal/Liberal Democrat, having attended the Winter 1985 National Union of Students Conference in Blackpool (if you think the town is bad in September, try December...) where he ran as an independent to fill a vacancy on the National Executive (unsuccessfully, as I recall). Coming on stage wearing a white lab coat and carrying a guitar was a USP, and somehow persuading 1,500 fairly politicized students to make sheep noises was pretty impressive. Amazing how he ended up in Montgomery, when you think about it...

It is sufficient to say that he gave an excellent speech, laden with jokes and asides, demonstrating beyond any shadow of a doubt that he can work a room. Whilst this does demonstrate his entertainment value, I'm yet to be convinced that he has the gravitas to be an effective Party President.

Of course, Brent has its own MP, the increasingly prominent Sarah Teather. She rallied the troops in advance of the May elections and gave a passionate call to vote for Ming (too late, Sarah, I've already voted...). She is impressive. If she were six inches taller, she'd be quite intimidating, although I'm not sure if that's a good thing...

So, all in all, a good evening and an event I would recommend to anyone. Perhaps next year...

1 comment:

James said...

She intimidates me, and I'm 6'4"!