Every time I go to a West Ham match I pop in to the Newham Bookshop, which is a few yards away from the ground. It's a wonderfully chaotic bookshop but is fantastically successful and plays a real role in the local community. Tonight they hosted an event at Wanstead Library with Martin Bell and I played the role of interviewer. I left Tunbridge Wells at 4.45 but due to horrendous traffic problems on the M25, A2 and A20 I arrived a little late but no one seemed to mind. The audience was very lively and engaged in the issue we were there to talk about - restoring the reputation of parliament.
As you can imagine, I don't agree with everything Martin Bell says on the issue - I think he can sometimes be overly simplistic and is too eager to tar everyone with the same brush. But he has some valid arguments which very much resonated with the audience. It was a very good humoured event and the audience seemed just as interested in my views as they were in Martin's. They especially liked it when I read out a tweet from Christine Hamilton who expressed the hope that my traffic problems would continue but that if I did eventually arrive, would I please kick Mr Bell in his non existent balls! Even Martin had to laugh at that.
I found it very encouraging that around 150 people were willing to turn out on a damp, dark night to listen to a debate about the future of politics. Few of them were political activists but all were deeply concerned by what is happening to our politics.