Saturday, 8 December 2007

The glamour of being an MP

As everyone knows, MPs lead incredibly glamorous and cosmopolitan lives, hob-nobbing with the great and the good, drinking champagne and nibbling on canapes as we discuss world affairs and exchange titbits of political gossip. If only...

True, I did have invites to five Christmas parties/ receptions on Tuesday night, including what may have been a celebrity-laden ITV bash, but I ended up spending the whole evening in my Westminster office, helping Ministers prepare for DFID questions the next day.

Yesterday saw me back in Bristol, with a surgery south of the river, in Brislington. We were using one of our regular venues, St Lukes Church Hall, to which we've been given a key. Unfortunately the caseworker who knows where the key is kept is in Ireland, and we couldn't get hold of her. Still, we thought that taking the mysterious key with a tab saying "Hall" attached was probably a safe bet. It wasn't. We ended up conducting the entire surgery sitting on the wall outside, in the freezing cold - although one kind constituent did allow us to sit in her car. Some very complex problems raised, including a young mother who had her child taken into care because she has mental health problems; I've promised to do what I can to help.

Today was the march and rally in Keynsham, against the closure of Cadbury's. It rained. Actually, that is an understatement. It rained and rained and rained and rained. We all got very wet, but it's an indication of the level of support for the campaign that about 300 or more people did turn up, and as we marched - or rather, squelched - along the High Street, all the shop workers turned out to applaud us on our way. We ended up back in Memorial Park to hear speeches and a band signing "I am a Cadbury's worker" to the tune of a Wurzels song. (It may even have been the Wurzels - I am too short and the umbrellas were too big for me to have a clue what was going on on stage). I did see Jacob Rees-Mogg however, looking rather bewildered. He's their Tory candidate for the next election and looked somewhat out of place amongst the trade union banners and the women trying to sell soggy copies of Socialist Worker.

It is at times like this, as I sit here in the constituency office on a dismal Saturday afternoon, that I wonder about the parallel universe inhabited by the likes of Sir Peter Tapsell and Sir Patrick Cormack, the grandest of Tory grandees. Whenever Sir Patrick does one of his regular diaries for the House magazine, life seems to be an endless whirl of art exhibitions, classical music concerts, quaffing fine wines and the occasional speech at the Golf Club.

Anyway, I am definitely going to the Fabians Christmas party next Wednesday. Definitely.

No comments: