Sunday, October 17, 2004

Conrad Russell - some personal memories

Reams seem to have been written about Conrad and we will all miss him dearly.
My first encounter with him was when he was the guest speaker at a constituency dinner. He was one of those people who you can guarantee will be engaging, stimulating and interesting.

I was also aware of him at a Conference when I attended a number of sessions on women in politics (I was trying to decide whether I should take the first step on the road to being an MP). He was often the only man in the room so he stood out just a little.

I first spoke to him during the by election campaign where he bent my ear about beta interferon for MS. Conrad was very engaging and he never got much canvassing done because his natural interest in people got in the way and he was very good at listening to people and acting on their concerns. He also never passed up an opportunity to share a cigarette with someone!

My favourite recollection of Conrad is during a Party Conference. The speaker (who remains unremembered) was ranting about eccentric peers. Cue Conrad, shambling through the Hall and carrying a carrier bag bulging with papers. I seem to recall that it was a Waitrose bag for life.

He lived in the Brent East constituency and I know that he was delighted to live in a Liberal Democrat constituency. The only shame was that he didn't live in one for longer.