Now there are those of you who might wonder what sort of organisation would hold a fundraiser for by-elections in the run-up to a General Election. The answer is the Orpington Circle of the National Liberal Club, and I had the great pleasure to attend this year's fundraising dinner in the Lloyd George Room of the Club last night.
Naturally, the Club was able to attract an all star cast, with Ros introducing the main speaker, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Lord Avebury giving the toast to our candidates past and present, and Lord Steel of Aikwood taking care of the vote of thanks.
One of the features of recent years has been a rather closer relationship between the Club and the Party. Not too close, I would add, but given that the Club has a membership structure which gives additional rights to its Political Members (those willing to declare themselves to be liberals in politics), it is odd that it has taken the leadership of the Rev. Paul Hunt to create a fund to support Liberal Democrat activity.
It was a thoroughly charming evening, with the top table left somewhat bereft at one point as five Peers (Avebury, Chidgey, Garden of Frognal, Scott of Needham Market and Steel of Aikwood) were whisked away to vote down the Government before returning in time for dessert.
It's nice to see the old traditions being maintained...