Three Ways of Thought in Beckenham
Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 4th June, 2011
Up-market restaurants whett their pampered clients’ appetites with sorbets between courses. But Beckenham Liberal Democrats, at their fund-raising dinner in the Churchill Rooms of Bromley Parish Church this evening, employed an effective alternative: a different, very short, speech from three local members before every dish. Tom Papworth, Crystal Palace Councillor and now Leader of the LibDem Group on Bromley Council (which interestingly has a LibDem Mayor and Deputy Mayor this year) kicked off strongly with a defense of the current Coalition government, saying that whatever flak our Ministers are coming under, many LibDem policies are being implemented. Tom also dreamed of a time when there could be 30 LibDem Councillors on Bromley Council — and what a difference that would make. Indeed. Second in, between the consommé and the lamb, was David Crowe, former local councillor (most recently in Clock House) and stalwart of the Beckenham Liberals/LibDems since the 1960s. He took us down memory lane, reminding us of both the highs and the lows of the past 50 years, and ended with an impassioned plea for the LibDems to remember that they are a centre-left party, essentially progressive. In sweet contrast (before the baked peaches served with Greek yoghurt and Amaretti biscuit crumble), relatively new member and live-wire Anuja Prashar drew on her own background as an Asian woman who grew up in East Africa before settling in Britain with her business-oriented family to encourage us to think centre-right, or rather, not centre or right at all, but progressive capitalist — asking us to remember that it is the BRICs these days that are setting the pace globally and that we can learn a thing or two from them. The menu, incidentally, was put together brilliantly by Bromley’s perennial LibDem chief, Steve Daniell.
Photo: Anuja Prashar with local party bastions Cllr John Canvin and Reg Baskett (President)