Last night saw the Annual Dinner of Borough of Brent Liberal Democrats, with star guest, Vince Cable.
How times change. Two years ago, Vince stood in at the last moment and was considered worthy if not the biggest draw in the world. Now, he is a hero, bestriding the world of liberal democracy like a colossus. Unsurprisingly, there was a good turnout for what has become a pretty good draw on the speaker circuit. Brent's Annual Dinners normally include entertainment, homemade food and decent supplies of wine, and tonight was no exception, as Vince very graciously pointed out. This time, we had a steel band and salsa dancers, and I noticed that Vince was paying close attention to the dancers. I wonder if he does the salsa?
Vince spoke of the crisis in the financial markets, and the action that will be necessary to stabilise matters. As usual, he made a compelling case for stronger regulation and action to deal with personal debt.
Brent Liberal Democrats have seen the best of times in recent years, and a great deal of that stems from the event whose fifth anniversary we were celebrating, the by-election win in Brent East. At that time, we had nine councillors, the most we had ever had. Three years later, we had twenty-seven, and were leading a joint administration with the Conservatives.
The work ethic that applies here is quite something, and Paul Lorber leads from the front, never asking anyone to do anything that he isn't willing to do himself. Sarah Teather may not be everyone's cup of tea (the lack of respect from her opponents is quite horrendous), but she has inspired a cadre of activists to seize power and use it.
And so we look to the future with confidence, and rightly so...