Interview with a Lord at the University of West London 8th February 2016
Danny (Lord) Finkelstein and his interviewer Clive Coleman (Legal Journalist and Sit Com writer of the BBC) were introduced by Philip Ells the acting head of Ealing Law School for what was (for me) an illuminating conversation which ranged from the process of becoming a Lord to Finkelstein's view on the results of the PM's EU referendum re-negotiations.
|Quite an audience at Ealing UWL|
From what I learned of the former SDP youth leader and Chelsea supporter there's more to him than meets the eye, revelling in the Pinner area such that he's taken the district into his title he showed great humility as he spoke about his background as the child of refugee immigrants.
Having entered politics as a youngster with the fledgling SDP he was uncomfortable with their merger with the Liberals and took a right-ward shift to the Conservatives and was a back-room boy for John Major, he fought an unsuccessful campaign to become the MP for Pinner but remained close to leading modernising groups within Tory high command.
|A moderate Lord in conversation|
Not winning the seat was a mixed blessing and he subsequently became a senior journalistic figure at The Times but Politics re-entered his life in a big way as he became, appointed by David Cameron a lord in 2013.
What I found refreshing about the conversation between Coleman and Finkelstein was the clarity and directness in the Lord's answers as he described process and compromise (unlike many politicians answers that we here).
The Lord spoke about how one is approached and the mechanism for checks to be made in such an appointment as his, the role of the 'Garter King of Arms' the requirement for some to have their title attached to a district .
Danny spoke too of his beliefs in Human Rights and his Lord's maiden speech which sought to bring a spotlight on governments around the world who continue to persecute those who choose same sex relationships
Danny answered questions about the number of Lords - he doesn't feel we need too many more (there's around 800 at present) but he felt that the ability to call on specialist expertise is key, the balance on minorities - could do better but the bias towards London and South East is perhaps more of an issue as well as his view the age of the Lords, which at 70-ish Finkelstein thought was outweighed by the knowledge and professionalism people selected brought to the party.
It was something of a revelation to me to hear of a Politician who genuinely seems to have been swayed by the arguments and negotiations to move away from being pro BREXIT to pro staying in – one of the points he made well (I think) was that we'd still need to be observant of regulations to trade but would have less influence in making these regulations.
He also spoke about the 'death of the Super-State project' of which the diminution he felt had been part of John Major's aims and achievements ( Danny is against an EU Super State)
It was nice to speak with Danny after his conversation and hear his positive reflections on my brother (Lord Bourne) too.
So Happy New Year of the Monkey - Red's accepted as a lucky colour for the Chinese and here's a local (to me) restaurant that uses the colour to promote itself
|Kung Hei fat Choi one and all|