CONGRATS to battle-hardened Lib Dem Flick Rea for her MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours today. I’m envisaging a lot of her famous port wine jelly being consumed tonight. Her public service as a councillor in Camden clearly needs recognition and few others at the Town Hall have been through the ups and downs of council politics quite like her. Others have beaten me to it in filing their congratulations. People have been queuing up all day with warm words.
But would, if she could choose, Flick swap her gong today for a year as Camden Mayor? Or would she swap it for a place in the House of Lords? She has been in the frame for both in the past. That queue of people sending delighted congratulations today include Labour people who could help her become Mayor and Lib Dem people who could do more to make her a Baroness. A thought for another time maybe.
Instead, it might be in better spirit to digest, with the jelly, an old interview on the West Hampstead Life blog in which she really explains why she has devoted so many years to the Town Hall:
“It’s certainly not for the money. What I absolutely love is the entitlement to poke my nose into all sorts of places. Somebody once said ‘Flick Rea would come and inspect my toilet if I let her’. I like hearing what’s going on, being early with the news, and I really care about where I live. I love West Hampstead and I want to make it better. And I hate to say this because it sounds goody-goody and I’m not but it’s payback time. I’ve had a privileged and lucky life, not exactly free from financial stress, but I’ve never had to endure some of the things that other people have to put up with. If I can do something to help others, this is a good way of doing it.”
Don’t worry, Flick, we know you’re not a goody-goody. That’s what the press bench likes.
* CONGRATS too for Pam Chesters, former Conservative leader in Camden, who was awarded a CBE.