Tribute to the contribution of David Rendel

The Newbury Weekly News very kindly published the following letter from me in a recent edition. I reproduce it here in case it is of interest to a wider readership:

Through your columns, I’d like to pay warm tribute to the extraordinary contribution to the Liberal Democrats and West Berkshire which David Rendel has made over an unprecedented 28 years as our local parliamentary candidate or MP (that, of course, includes time during the existence of our predecessor party).

It’s difficult to know where to begin. On a personal level, towards thousands of local people, David has shown consistent kindness, generosity and, yes, downright niceness. Many have shared remarkable acts of unsolicited kindness which David and his family have shown towards those who are sick, grieving or in need. David has often gone out of his way to take home an aged supporter, to console someone who has lost a loved one, to help with the washing up at gatherings, or to provide practical help to someone who was homeless.

What is absolutely breathtaking about David is the long hours he has spent pounding the pavements in West Berkshire in all weathers, calling on local people; as well as hours spent on letters, casework etc. He has never stinted in his super-human efforts over three decades.

I have often asked myself “Why does he do it?” – why does he relentlessly spend innumerable hours working on local and political matters? I am sure he has, and has had, alternative “cushy numbers” open to him. But he has not taken those opportunities because he has been devoted to the simple hard work of a local candidate. That, in itself, is testament to his unimpeachable credentials as a real, true “Liberal” and “liberal”.

The answer to the question “why does he do it?” is, I believe, two-fold. Firstly, David genuinely enjoys the contact with local people and issues. Secondly, it is clear that David and his family have, exceptionally, geared their entire lives towards helping others. That sounds like a cliché, but all the mind-boggling, staggeringly vast amounts of hard work that David has put in for West Berkshire and the Liberal Democrats is testament to its simple truth.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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8 Comments

  • Peter Chegwyn 19th Nov '12 - 7:48pm

    Adrian is right. When you look at some of the people awarded honours you do indeed wonder why David Rendel has been overlooked. If he was in the House of Lords I’m sure he would be an active and effective campaigner for the Liberal cause.

  • That is true Peter – though I don’t think as a matter of principle people who were defeated at an election should be put back into Parliament through the back door.

  • Paul Walter 20th Nov '12 - 7:33am

    Maybe he doesn’t want to be in the Lords out of principle?

  • Paul that was a nice tribute. David is one of the hardest working people I know having seen him at close quarters over the last twenty years. I concur that he would have a lot to offer in the House of Lords but as Paul says maybe he does not want to follow that path. Of course up until now there has been the very pertinent point that membership of the House of Lords would be incompatible with his desire to become Newbury’s MP once again

  • George Crozier 21st Nov '12 - 6:47pm

    Yup, I’d agree with all that. An excellent campaigner and constituency MP and a real gentleman. And a great shame we won’t see him back in the Commons (though delighted to see Judith Bunting selected in his place). I very much enjoyed sharing an office with David in Norman Shaw North for three years in the mid 90s. Those were the days pre-Portcullis House when it was two MPs and as many staff as you could fit per office – and queueing to use the Rendel/Maddock fax machine in the pre-internet days!

    I note that David is intending to stay on West Berks Council. Wish you all best of luck retaking it in 2015.

  • Alun Williams 19th May '13 - 11:51pm

    Many eminent Liberals have never been honoured in any way. John Pardoe, the charismatic MP for North Cornwall between 1966 and 1979, has received no official recognition. It is shameful to appoint so many lesser people to the Lords while Pardoe continues to be overlooked.

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