This weekend I was lucky enough to meet Roger Ward, the author of the book "City State And Nation" - Birmingham's Political History 1830 - 1940. His book is one of my favourites because it offers unique insights into Birmingham's political development and in our brief conversation today he managed to recommend a couple of others and passed on a couple of pearls of wisdom. The briefest of meetings with a real authority on a subject is worth its weight in gold.
As a member of several political groups in Birmingham, the topic of political speakers comes up from time to time. Many of my colleagues seem overly keen on getting leading politicians of the day to come (up from London) to talk, but I find them to be less than candid and often in a hurry. Apart from Roger my short list of the people I would like to have present at one of our local political meetings looks like this.
Dermot Reeve - Successful Warwickshire cricketer, innovator and man manager.
Nick Booth - Community media guru - full of ideas, enthusiasm and delivery.
Clare Short - Always has something interesting to say (e.g. this weekend)
Heather Brooke - The successful open government campaigner.
Jon Moulton - As someone who speaks with clarity about the recession, he is a rarity.
Roger gave me a quiz question which I was unable to answer. Name the last Liberal elected to Parliament from Birmingham? Can anyone get that?