Every now and then there appears on the horizon a warrior galloping furiously on his white steed. Such was the case a few days before the much hyped election. Our very own Sir Galahad Lewis (Roy to locals) had been present at the plenary meeting of the Board of Deputies, mentioned elsewhere on this blog, as one of Sheffield’s deputies. He heard the infamous Lord Wallace espouse the sort of sentiments (details not relevant) one expects to hear from BNP candidates not from a leading light in the Lib Dem party. He couldn’t believe his ears; after growing up in Sheffield, raising a family, running a successful solicitors firm and all the while mixing with men and women of all backgrounds he could scarcely expect such thinly veiled anti-Israel offensiveness from a mainstream political representative and ‘noch’ in the 21st century. Well our Sir Galahad was not going to take all of this lying down and he immediately set about arranging a husting with the candidates of three major parties and one small one so that the community would have a chance to put their questions to them. Perhaps we could get them to understand the Jewish perspective and feeling as well as being adequately informed of what each one would do should he or she get into power.
The result was one of the best evenings I have enjoyed for a long time. Speakers come and go but this was more than just a few speeches. It was the ordinary person’s chance to come face to face with real politicians and hear what they have to say not from some carefully worded statement but ‘from the horse’s mouth’. The interaction between them as well as the audience was very dynamic and for over two hours the broad mix of people who packed the Harold Cantor suite didn’t move as everyone listened attentively to the voices of our would be representatives. Whether we agree with them or not at least each one, particularly the Conservative and Labour candidates who were quite young, had the courage to come and face the crowd and they deserve credit for doing so. By the time the evening was over our Sir Galahad had slain the dragon of political mystique and brought us face to face with the real thing. I think we all went to the polling booths wiser and more informed than before the meeting.
Roy deserves a special mention for contacting the candidates, persuading them to come to Kingfield and chairing the whole evening with legal precision. His introduction was a masterpiece and I for one identified with everything he said. The election is over now and the results are known, time will tell whether the choices we have made have indeed brought mazel and brochoh!