I got to the House of Commons with a few mins to spare before the 2.45-3.15pm appointment and found a great (really great) wedgy of lecturers queuing to get through security to lobby their MPs over college cuts. I watched Big Ben eat up 10 minutes of meeting time in the static queue, took a deep breath and asked the people immediately in front of me if they minded if I pushed in to get to the last 15 minutes of my meeting.
“Go for it”, they chorused and I pinged down to the front of the queue, feeling like one of those bastard cars that refuses to get into one lane early on and barges in at the front. Unfortunately I got a bit off track once inside and ended up standing in the Lobby, greeting the lecturers, as they pitched up, handed over green cards and went. By now it was 3.05pm. I was clearly in the wrong place.
I took a photo of the clock. Feeling stressed/distressed/frustrated at missing my slot.
“Most people take photos of the ‘no photos allowed’ sign,” said a cheerful policeman, who then filled me in on some Lobby history.
Just before 3.15pm, I was ‘found’ and shepherded along to Simon Hughes’ office. We launched straight into a no nonsense discussion about inquests. His aide (?) reminded him he had to leave almost straightaway. They had a quick convo about ringing his next gig and explaining he was slightly delayed but would be there by 3.45pm.
The call was unanswered.
‘The Secretary of State? He’s just upstairs. You could nip up and tell him I’ll be along be along shortly. He’ll understand.’
Oh my blinky blonky blimey, I chuckled to myself. Was that scripted? Was that a genuine exchange? Really??
I don’t care. On the eve of #107steps to justice, the Minister of Justice demonstrated interest, respect and a genuine commitment to improving the experience for families in the coronial process. That’s pretty cool.