It's all very well being the Honourable Lady Mark, but what is the job description? Tonight, I had the opportunity to get some advice from the only prominent Presidential consort that has registered on my radar, the extraordinarily fragrant Lady Dholakia.
Ann was an ever present presence besides Navnit during his two terms as Party President and, over dinner in an Italian restaurant between Westminster and Victoria, I took the opportunity to get a sense of how being the consort works. Admittedly, we come from rather different backgrounds in terms of our experiences within the Party, but her advice was treasured nonetheless.
As I think I've noted before, being the Presidential consort isn't necessarily a comfortable place to be. Are people being nice to you in pursuit of their agenda or just because they're nice? Indeed, can they be trusted if you say something inadvertently indiscreet? Are you being used as a means of 'getting to the President'?
Personally, I've always taken the view that people should be trusted until they prove to be unworthy of that trust, but I may need to be a little more cautious for the next two/four years (the choice is yours, ladies and gentlemen...).
However, Ann's advice was that I should continue to be myself, as people have grown used to my slightly idiosyncratic ways (my words, not hers) and that I should continue to speak out on the things that matter to me. And so I will. I might hold back from time to time, and I trust that you will understand if I do. After all, it isn't right to upset people just because I can, even if it might be fun to do so.
Meanwhile, Navnit and Ros were discussing the Presidency, and how things worked and what was learnt. Not really my territory, methinks...