Yesterday at 7.30 I got off the tube a few stops early and walked into Westminster. Cast in the misty gold of an early summer morning it was difficult to believe this village – and political Westminster really is a village – was home to the skulduggery and shameless greed we have been watching unfold over the past fortnight.
The 45 minutes with Hilary Benn further lightened my spirits. Here was a humorous, honest, committed man untainted by the expenses scandals. We were able to have a good banter about the troubles but there was also no doubt about his senses of serious purpose. It is probably the family heritage but here was someone who still embodies the old fashioned idea of real public service. No doubt there is an ego there, there has to be, but it is subservient to the real task of getting things done. Not getting things “done” for self-promotion, ghastly KPIs or to win a dodgy bonus. Just getting things done because it’s the right thing to do. How refreshing.
My rosy glow lasted about as long as the May sunshine on Westminster. By the time rain was lashing Big Ben I was listening to Hazel Blears and just beginning to understand the complicated world of floating duck houses.