Monday, January 31, 2005

Coffee Morning

In the end, I did go along to the coffee morning to meet Tony McWalter, the Labour MP for Hemel Hempstead. He gave a brief talk about what his job entails, focusing much more on the dealings he has in the town and how he represents us in Westminster rather than the jobs he has had in the Government. He then took questions for over an hour.

I was probably the youngest person in the room and certainly two or three decades below the average age. I almost turned round when I got to the door and saw that but in the end I went in and sat down and I am glad that I did.

I have met several MPs in the past; mostly high-profile and all of them Tories (my grandmother used to be heavily involved with the Conservatives where she lives and I went along to a few events), but I wasn't sure what to expect on Saturday. While the others were all a little bit removed from me, because they were either pushing a new policy or firing up the troops before an election or because they were simply aloof, Tony McWalter was nothing of the sort.

He spoke intelligently and honestly and was passionate about the things that affect life in the borough, like the proposals to close the hospital (which he is set against). When he didn't know something he admitted it rather than blustered his way through it.

The questions people asked were all about local issues, with the exception of one (slightly ill-informed) rant against the Mental Capacity Bill, and it was very interesting to find out more about the area we moved into almost a year ago.

The impression I took away from the meeting was that our MP is just the sort of person you want to represent you in Parliament, ready to help you regardless of your or his political leanings. And that creates a bit of a problem for me in the upcoming election. There is very little chance I would choose to vote for the Labour party in an election but there is now a very real chance I would want to keep the MP we already have. A bit of a quandary, that.

The other thing I gained from the meeting was more content for Clear Blue Skies. I had planned to write a series of posts before the election taking a look at what the Government has or has not achieved in the last few years and to help me in this, I have got a great handout called '50 government achievements since 1997' upon which to base it. Fantastic. That will come along in the near future but first I've got another short series of posts I want to write.

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