I have just returned from a particularly entertaining evening with former MP for South Derbyshire and a former councillor of Birminghams Northfield ward, Edwina Currie. The event was held at the New Bath Hotel in Matlock with around 80 guests in attendance. Edwina spoke candidly and in an extremely engaging manner about her time in politics and her feelings and perceptions of certain individuals in our party. I shall focus briefly on a few of her anecdotes. First off, as is typical with Conservative events, Margaret Thatcher became the focus of her attention. She spoke enthusiastically about her time as a junior minister for Health under Thatcher and recalled her previous encounters with the ‘Tory titan’. She focused particularly on one occasion when she was talking to the former PM at a Downing Street cocktail party when Thatcher leant over to her and said ‘Edwina dear, why is it that all the great leaders of the world have low blood pressure? Gorbachev has low blood pressure, Reagan does, I do, so what is it?!’, Edwina, perplexed at such a question wittily responded, ‘perhaps all the those with high blood pressure have keeled over Prime Minister’ a response which was recieved well by the Prime Minister.
Edwina spoke of her great admiration for Thatcher but renewed her commitment to the man she termed ‘the Prime Minister in waiting’ David Cameron. She claimed that Cameron possessed Obama-esque qualities which would ultimately propell him to high office. What I found particularly encouraging about the whole evening was the feeling of consistency, unity and loyalty that radiated around the room. Consistency with our beliefs as traditional but progressive Conservatives, unity as a party in general and loyalty to our leaders, past and present. We are a party proud of our past but hopeful for our future. This is a marked contrast to our opposition and indeed to the Conservative party Cameron inherited in 2005. She reaffirmed what we already know… we are a goverment in waiting. I had the privilege of speaking to her for over 20 minutes after the event as we discussed issues ranging from her time as a Birmingham City Councillor, to her experience as an MP and naturally… John Major *cue awkward silence. To crown the evening off I walked away with a specially signed copy of her book ‘Diaries 1987-1992’ which explosively revealed her affair with John Major! A pretty good evening all in all.