Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hughes, Kennedy, Bruce, Ashdown, spy cameras,Fibber Magee and the ever flowing vodka

Phew, what a week! And here I am sat next to fellow blogger, Toryboy Andrew McConnell, in the city of Wloclawec on the Vista in Northern Poland, trying to catch up.

On Monday evening I attended the celebrations for Simon Hughes, Charles Kennedy and Malcolm Bruce's 25 years as MPs. It was a really nice relaxed evening, sparkling speeches from all three (in Simon's case uncharacteristically short!) and a chance to catch up with fellow libdemmers normally passed as ships in the night. This meant I missed the last flight across to Belfast and I was horrified that it took me over 2 hours to reach my hotel at Heathrow. Partly caused by the ridiculous fact that I had to wait 45 minutes for a taxi at terminal 1. One of the busiest airports in the world and you can't get a taxi! The result was less than three hours sleep. I arrived at the airport at some ungodly hour only to see Paddy Ashdown charging off on the other side of security - I guess he saw me first! This was the first time I have been to Heathrow since they installed the sinister looking cameras - so now you can't get through without having your picture taken and scanned on to your boarding pass. I questioned this and was told it was so that I could go into the international lounge. But says I - I don't want to go into the international lounge - and I don't want to have my picture taken! I was told I had no choice if I wanted to fly. Hmmmmmm, and then all through the lounge the even more sinister posters advertising IRIS - whoever she is! Someone who is even more likely to erode our civil liberties methinks!

So got to Belfast bright and early to speak at the launch of the Young People and Money programme that is being delivered by Citizen's Advice NI. Our chair was Nuala McKeever a comedian who was brilliant - very very funny. Then off to Edinburgh and back to Bedford Wed eve. Thursday I spent in beautiful Henley as I knew I wouldn't get down over the weekend - then a mad rush to pack and get down to Luton for another ridiculously early morning flight across to Warsaw and a four hour drive to Wloclavec our unofficial twintown. But now off to their river festival with my erstwhile councillor colleagues and members of Dom Polski! More later!!!!

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