When you get to my age – and if you want to do that I strongly recommend that you either bathe regularly in the spring of eternal life that bursts from the hillside above what used to be headquarters of the Association of Liberal Councillors in Hebden Bridge or get your hands on the cordial sold by the Elves of Rockingham Forest – occasions of public rejoicing like the Glee Club are tinged with sadness.
Similarly, when I think of our great by-election victories – Sutton and Cheam, Brecon and Radnor, Littleborough and Saddleworth – I think first of the manly, dignified memorials we erected to those who fell in these battles. I think too of the poor souls I visit at the Home for Distressed Canvassers in Herne Bay.
Above all, I think of Lembit Opik who went over the top at Dunfermline and West Fife – and has been over the top ever since.
In his defence, he has given those two little dots he used to sport over the O in his name to Julie Pörksen. I have to say, I thought that a Very Kind Gesture.
So let us drink deeply of Smithson & Greaves Northern Bitter (eschew the gassy Dahrendorf Lager) and sing the songs of our youth: The Land, Losing Deposits, Lloyd George Knew My Father….
But before we do, ladies and gentlemen, I give you a toast:
PS Reading over this foreword, I see that the moral is we Liberal Democrats need another by-election in a constituency with an “and” in it.