I was having a lie-in this morning when Post Cynta phoned. They wanted to ask what I thought of Ken Clarke's return to the Front Bench. I told listeners that I was very pleased. As our country moves into an economic and financial position which until today was something beyond our wildest nightmare, it has to be useful to have onside the man who was Chancellor of the Exchequer when we emerged from the last recession in the early 90s. Its also inevitable when a party has been out of power for a long period that experience becomes a valued commodity - and Ken has bags of that.
And Montgomeryshire has connections, albeit tenuous, with the great man - enough for me to claim that I think Ken Clarke rather likes Montgomeryshire. I recall someone ringing me a few years ago to tell me that he was sitting outside the Cefncoch Inn having a pint and a cigar. He was on a birdwatching holiday. And last year he came to speak at our President's Dinner at Welshpool Town Hall. He's a good friend of ex-MP for Clwyd South, Robert Harvey who lives near Meifod, and of course he knew ex-MP for Montgomeryshire, Delwyn Williams. We all met for a chat and a drink at Robert's house, before I took him along to the excellent Derwen Farm Shop near Guilsfield run by Rachel Joseph. We then went and did a bit of birdwatching at the Coed-y-Dinas Nature Reserve, near Welshpool. I thought I knew a bit about birds, but when strolling along to the hide with Ken and Clive Faulkener of the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, I quickly realised that I was in the presence of experts. And then he joined us for dinner and spoke in his inimitable style. We all liked him. And he new what he was talking about. And these are the two reasons why the big beast is back