Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At Fifty : Favourite Politician That I've Met


When I was about 16, Rayleigh Liberals invited Clement Freud to our town to speak and I wandered along to listen.

Only about 15 people turned up, but Clement spoke at ease and with aplomb, and I asked a question (though I can't remember what it was). He shook my hand after the meeting and I took his photo. I was still a young Heathite Conservative back then.... it took a while for me to realise that he was on the cover of Band on The Run (see my previous post).

So he's my favourite Liberal MP that I've ever met (with Ros Scott being my favourite baroness). I still enjoy listening to him on Just A Minute.

I like his story about how he got elected:

"Politically, I was an anti-Conservative unable to join a Labour party hell-bent on nationalising everything that moved, so when a by-election occurred in East Anglia, where I lived and live, I stood as a Liberal and was fortunate in getting in. Ladbrokes quoted me at 33-1 in this three-horse contest, so Ladbrokes paid for me to have rather more secretarial and research staff than other MPs, which helped to keep me in for five parliaments."

And about his family :

During his time as a Member of Parliament, he visited China with a delegation of other MPs, including Winston S. Churchill, a grandson of the wartime leader of the same name. Freud noticed that the Communist Chinese hosts regularly gave Churchill larger, or higher status, accommodation than him. Tactfully he enquired why and was told it was because of the status of Churchill's namesake. Freud observed that this was the first time ever that he had been 'out-grandfathered'
Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.


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