Dinner invite to the Home Secretary
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has made some unfortunate remarks suggesting she wouldn't feel safe on the street after dark in my home borough of Hackney.
I guess it depends which street.
Personally, I put this down to the usual ignorance of south-of-the-river dwellers (her London base is in Peckham) about anywhere north of the Thames. I'm sure I'm just as ignorant as her, but in my case about sarf London - I always thought (based entirely on watching Only Fools and Horses) that Peckham was a hell hole until I actually went there and discovered it had streets of Georgian town houses as well as decaying estates.
If Jacqui would like a night out in Hackney, Linda and I would be delighted to take her and her Special Branch protection team and Special Advisers to any one of numerous eateries - I'm fairly sure the Turkish restaurants on the A10 are way better at kebabs than the place she goes to in Peckham - where she will discover that actually Hackney is a very good place to go out in the evening. Probably better to avoid the "Best Turkish Kebab" on Stoke Newington Road though, as that is frequented by the coppers from Stokey police station, who might want to bend her ear about pay increases.