David Steel Reveals
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 24th June, 2008
No less than three of us LibDem Eurocandidates for London were at the Slovenian National Day reception at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall this evening. With just a few days of the Slovenian presidency of the EU left to go, one could almost hear the sighs of relief emanating from Ljubljana. The Slovenians had hoped to go out with a bang, with the successful ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, but the Irish referendum put the kaibosh on that. Nonetheless, they have done nobly, and as the first of the ‘new wave’ of EU member states to hold the presidency, they have put up a more than creditable performance.
I had to leave early, to attend a Central Camden LibDem do at the National Liberal Club (NLC), at which the guest of honour was (Lord) David Steel. In case anyone is wondering what on earth David has to do with Camden, it transpires that he launched his (successful) leadership bid for the old Liberal Party there, in Hampstead — which was a bit cheeky, as his rival, John Pardoe lived, and indeed still lives, in Hampstead Town.
David’s link with the NLC is more obvious. Apart from attending numerous Club functions over the years, he actually lived there for a while, when he, like several other Liberal MPs, used it as his London base. The Club was distinctly scruffy at the time — I remember it well, with Young Liberals sitting on the floor of the David Lloyd George room, backs to the wall, swigging beer from the bottle — and the bedroom accommodation upstairs was distinctly rudimentary. As David recalled this evening, he and fellow residents would be shaken awake in the early hours of the morning in winter by the clanking of the radiators. Tactfully, he did not mention other disturbances during the night, when bedroom doors opened and shut with surprising regularity.