Cash for Access — My Story

This photo might be more relevant for my other novel, that’s currently languishing on the back burner waiting for The Angel to be completed and sent off to its destiny, but it’s certainly topical.

It was taken this morning after the Sport Relief mile at Prestwood. This is a village in the Chilterns, ironically quite close to the HS2 route, but also only about three miles or so from Chequers. I’ve done the Prestwood 10km race at least twice in the last few years, if not three times, and the first half of that course is painfully hilly — going up and down the rolling Chiltern slopes.

But the Sport Relief mile was confined to the sports ground from where the 10km starts and finishes and is totally flat — not a bad place for the Prime Minister to come and jog.

David Cameron After His Sport Relief Mile
David Cameron After His Sport Relief Mile

This is my photo — I did actually get that close to him and it wasn’t my doing either — he just appeared next to me after he’d been in the sports club pavilion immediately after the run. It was all incredibly informal although there seemed to be a mobile CCTV surveillance van parked to keep an eye on things (the camera attached to a mast can be seen in the background).

And Cameron did actually run the mile with a couple of minders but also his wife and children and a few friends of his that I maybe should have recognised, but didn’t. By contrast, I can’t imagine anyone being let within a Sport Relief mile of Obama in an equivalent situation in the US.

I was on the lookout for some sort of celebrity when we arrived at the sports ground as I couldn’t see why else there were TV cameras plus four photographers with huge lenses if it was only a couple of hundred locals there — and just before the race started the Camerons appeared discreetly out of a little convoy of cars.

I’ve not watched any of the TV coverage but found a few links to the race. I’m on this one - just about…on the far left partially obscured behind a blonde woman with sunglasses…and I streak past in a blur in this ITV coverage on the Daily Telegraph site.

On a more minor scale I also saw David Lidington, who’s the Minster for Europe, in St. James’s Park last week and he recognised me and said hello (I’ve met him a few times, although I know his wife better to talk to — we saw her last time we went to IKEA Milton Keynes).

While Cameron was clearly on a photo-opportunity, he didn’t try and muscle in on the event and was quite approachable — something that is true of most of the politicians in this country and that we should perhaps give them more credit for? And the cost of this privileged access to the Prime Minister — £6 to charity.


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