Thursday, 4 June 2015

And there he was...gone!

It was Sir Robin Day who in a post conference interview in 1982 famously referred to the then Defence Secretary, Sir John Nott, as a "here-today and gone-tomorrow politician". If proof were needed that such a statement is as true today as it was then, I witnessed it with my own eyes just a few hours ago.

I was in Westminster with Tracey Crouch's parliamentary team watching her first appearance at the dispatch box as Minister for Sport. As I walked through Portcullis House with one of her assistants I passed a man with a healthy tan who looked familiar. He was sitting alone at one of the tables with a pile of papers, furiously writing notes.  "He looks fit and well considering what he's been through" said K. "Who does?" I asked.  "Him - Ed Miliband."  Suddenly it dawned on me. The man who looked familiar, sitting alone with a pile of papers, was the man who most commentators thought just five weeks ago would probably be Prime Minister. 

Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,
  Never glad confident morning again!

I thought about just how transient politics can be, and of Enoch Powell's "all political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs."

As I walked around Parliament today I met many old friends and colleagues who have just been elected - some unexpectedly so. Almost all have given up more secure, better paid and less intrusive jobs to serve their constituents and their country. In doing so they have placed themselves and often their families in a spotlight which few of their critics could or  would tolerate. I wish them every success. 

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