Twins, wheels, and the ballroom dancer
I was stopped at the lights at the top of the Haymarket in Piccadilly Circus. My head was down over my handlebars. Then there they were at my left shoulder. Two stubbled chins, two shiny bald heads, two men in their late thirties astride two bicycles. Two brown identical twins in shorts, T-shirts, and trainers with dispatch bags slung over their right shoulders.
“Twins?” I asked, as we pedalled down Whitehall. “Yes”, they said. “Identical?” I asked. “Yes”, they said. “Rare”, I said. “What, twins?” they asked. “No”, I replied, “rare to see identical twin disptach riders on bikes cycling along in London”. “Yes”, they agreed “we work together”.
Normally we cyclists in London don’t talk to each other. It’s a dog eat dog world and we are in a hurry. But when we drew up at the lights leading into Trafalgar Square the twins told me they were from a small Italian town of 6,000 inhabitants.
Amazingly when they were born, five other sets of identical twins appeared in the town in the same period. And with that they were gone. Look out for them! They deserve a documentary!
I was en route to the 50th anniversary of the Overseas Development Institute – an aid think tank. There I found a rather relaxed Vince Cable, secretary of state for business.
Any initial collywobbles he may have had about being in government seem to have vanished. He’s enjoying power. Had he ever expected ever to be a minister? “Frankly Jon……er…no!” He’s finding government a massive challenge he told me. But he’s still getting an hour of ballroom dancing on a Friday!
As I left, there was Hugh Bayley, Labour MP for York, unshackling his bike from the neighbouring rack. Another man with a passion for development.
I don’t know him of old, though I should, he’s been an MP for many years – civilised, decent, and knowledgeable. We had an engaging conversation about the new Commons – the old strangleholds have been smashed, he told me…all the wrong candidates got elected to be deputy speakers.
In other words all the RIGHT candidates got elected, breaking the stranglehold of the party whips by being elected against their wishes.
We parted and cycled off in our different directions into the night.