David Laws, the Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office, was billed to speak at a bangers-and-mash supper at the Clarendon Hotel in Blackheath this evening and Liberal Democrats from the three boroughs of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley — plus me — arrived prepared to quiz him quite firmly on issues such as his somewhat disparaging recent remarks about teachers and how he would justify some of the Coalition’s economic policies. But as so often happens with Ministers (and indeed MPs) he cancelled, because of other obligations, during the afternoon. So in through the door marched Party President Tim Farron instead. Now if David Laws might have felt like Daniel in the lions’ den, Tim found himself amongs a group of purring pussy-cats. Well, almost. He has a manner that can charm the proverbial birds off the trees and part of his widespread appeal across the party is that he acknowledges the mistakes that have been made in government, and where he has not agreed with what the government was doing. And not being a Minister he has a greater freedom to range more widely than many of his colleagues. He is undoubtedly closer to the ideological soul of LibDem activists than some. In the Q&A session after his speech, he was asked where he thought Britain was heading in its relations with the EU and he reaffirmed the party’s strong commitment to the UK’s need to be at the heart of Europe. He said he believed that the mood of the country means that we would probably never join the euro, which is the one major point on which I disagreed with him when I made a short speech myself on EU matters later in the meal. There may well come a time when it would be our interest to join the single currency, albeit not in the short-term, but the question remains whether our partners would open the door if the British Conservatives continue to handle dealings with them so ham-fistedly.
Posts Tagged ‘Blackheath’
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 5th November, 2012
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 4th November, 2012
Last night I joined Lewisham Liberal Democrats for a curry supper at the house of a couple of members before we all headed up to Blackheath Common where a throng of many thousands had gathered to watch the famous firework display. This year’s show was a few minutes shorter than some previous years’, as Greenwich Council reportedly withdrew funding for budgetary reasons, so Lewisham had to shoulder all the burden. It was cetrainly worth it. There was a floral theme to the display, as rockets shot up into the sky where they blossomed into giant chrysanthemums and protea — even magnificent palm trees at one stage. Brilliant and fully worthy of the enthusiastic applause from the punters. The whole of the centre of Blackheath village was a sea of people as we left, but a mixture of stewards and police ensured that the mass moved forward slowly and safely and even effectively managed to funnel those people who don’t live locally onto the station platforms. There was a terrific atmosphere, like one big party. So, Lewisham, from someone who was there for the first time: thank you!