Interesting to look through the list of new MPs – there are four who I knew from my days in student politics, two Conservative and two Lib Dem (this was not an election when my Labour contacts would have been much use). The two Tories were both called Greg and both Cambridge contemporaries of mine, Greg Hands (Hammersmith and Fulham) who I beat in the election for Deputy President of CUSU, and Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells) who in those days was one of the remaining cheer-leaders for the David Owen’s post-split SDP. The two Lib Dems are David Howarth, who was (and I guess still is) a Fellow at my college, now elected for Cambridge, and Tim Farron, who was the sole success of the “decapitation strategy” defeating shadow education secretary Tim Collins up in Westmorland. (Hey, Quarsan, I know you’ll have been pleased by that.) Tim Farron’s star rose rapidly in the student Lib Dems in my time of involvement, and he was always in his element.
Other new MPs who I know slightly include some of the Northern Ireland ones who I vaguely knew in my time in politics there (specifically Sammy Wilson – DUP, East Antrim – and Alisdair McDonnell – SDLP, South Belfast) and also the two Lib Dems who have switched from the European Parliament, Chris Huhne (Eastleigh) and Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam). Indeed, Nick Clegg was also an exact contemporary of mine at Cambridge, and remembers me though I don’t remember him from university.
Naturally, it makes me think what might have happened if I had pursued my own vestigial political career. I’d be now waiting to hear if I had been elected to my third term as a local councillor in Newtownabbey, probably, with a miserable result in North Belfast announced yesterday. A lucky escape.