For me the saddest, and in many ways most unexpected, result last Thursday night was Simon Hughes’s ousting from Bermondsey and Old Southwark after 32 years as the area’s member of parliament. One knew that Labour had been absolutely flooding the place with campaigners for months — including shedloads of Labour MPs who were urged to make the short trip across the Thames when they had a few spare moments — but Simon could have hardly have worked harder for his constituents throughout his long tenure. I am sure that those people in the constituency who voted Labour in the hope of keeping the Tories out will soon realise what a mistake they made. Anyway, this evening, at The Grange in Grange Road, there was an election thank you party for all who helped in Simon’s campaign, as many hundreds did from all over London and beyond. Far from being a wake, the event was quite joyful, not least because of the more than 11,000 new members who have joined the Liberal Democrats this past week, over 100 are in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, bringing useful new blood to an already strong local team, who have already declared that the fight back has started. Simon helped the upbeat mood by quashing the Labour Party rumour that he will accept a peerage. But being Simon he then made a speech that took us all down memory lane, from the very first time he stood for election as a Liberal in the area, as a GLC candidate. I was interested to note that he no longer says “thirteenthly” when he enumerates the points in his speech, and has instead learned that if one starts at three and moves down to one, you can then move back up again to another three without many people noticing. Because he is so widely loved, we all view such tactics with affection. Most of us even agreed to sing a song he had heard on SmoothFM as he was driving out of the House of Commons car park in his signature yellow taxi for the last time earlier today. And it was gratifying to hear from the man who was until last week Minister of Justice that he could not have borne to be in the department with the new incumbent Michael Gove in charge.
Posts Tagged ‘Bermondsey and Old Southwark’
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 14th May, 2015
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 25th March, 2011
There have been many surprises since Britain last May got its first Coalition government since the Second World War. Who would have thought that the Conservative David Cameron would be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Nicolas Sarkozy in leading the international acceptance of the Responsibility to Protect vis-a-vis Libya? But there have also been big wins in the more personal arena, too, largely thanks to the Liberal Democrat influence in government. This is particularly visible in the field of LGBT rights. Britain has been leading the way on marriage equality, for example, as well as on the recognition of the rights and contribution of transgender/inter-sex people — with the feisty LibDem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, flying the flag for equality in diversity. This innovation is being followed with interest on both sides of the Atlantic, as became clear in discussion at the annual dinner of Bermondsey and Old Southwark Liberal Democrats at the Yellow House in Surrey Quays last night. It was encouraging to see how many young atendees there were. Where the party is active, young people are rallying round, despite the rumpus over tuition fees.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Bermondsey and Old Southwark, David Cameron, Hornsey and Wood Green, LGBT, Lynne Featherstone, Nicolas Sarkozy, Southwark Liberal Democrats, Surrey Quays | Leave a Comment »