It’s now two weeks since this column last struck out from behind its self-imposed barriers and pitted itself against the occasionally ridiculous world of the charity sector. In that time, there’s been an election and, yeah, the sector’s mainest man, one Rob Wilson, now ex-minister for civil society and MP for Reading East only went and lost his seat. With that in mind, we take a trip down memory lane. Vale Rob!
One more time with feeling
So, yes, this time last week the nation was still reeling from the surprising results of Theresa May’s hubris filled snap general election. Jeremy Corbyn, the so-called unelectable, terrorist sympathising, beard having, socialist sympathising supply-teacher lookalike with a panache for social justice and not wearing his tie done up only went and blitzed the electorate and well, the Tories stuffed a majority all the way down to a hung parliament.
Oh, how this column laughed! Laughed and laughed for all of about 10 minutes until it became painfully obvious that the Conservatives would still, somehow, be forming a government which, at the moment anyway, looks like it will be propped up by a bunch of far-right Ulster Unionists. Great.
However, amongst all of the election night carnage, this column was forced to take stock when it became obvious that Rob Wilson, the one-time minister for civil society, had – against all the odds – lost his seat of Reading East.
In the days since the election result that effectively rendered Mr Wilson unemployed, Rob has been reaching out to just about every national media outlet he can find to decry Mrs May’s ludicrous decision to call the election in the first place, and labelled the campaign itself ill-conceived, poorly run and, generally (for lack of a better word) a total cluster-flip.
While it would seem that the vast majority of the sector hasn’t exactly mourned the shuffling off of Rob Wilson from this ministerial plain, Diary was truly devastated. Say what you want about Rob, but he was satirical gold when he went and put his mind to it. He also cultivated, in the waning year of his tenure as minister for civil society, a beard that was truly to be feared.
This column has contacted NCVO to see if it will be holding a farewell party for Mr Wilson although, to be honest, even if one was held it seems highly unlikely that he’d actually attend.
With that in mind, Society Diary is going to take a quick trip down memory lane and look at just a few of the times that Rob graced its pages. *Wipes away a single tear*
11 September 2015 – Rob Wilson is smilling.
This story marks the birth of the Wilson beard© and shows your man Rob sporting civvie gear (in ill-fitting jeans and sneakers); riding a skateboard (?) and smiling. Yes, smiling! Weird and wild times.
15 Jan 2016 – Rob takes off his shoes for an interview
13 May 2016 – Rob Wilson calls on “everyone in Reading to do better”.
Quick summation: Your boy Rob, clad in navy blazer and chinos (tres Tory chic) out and about in Reading with constituants pointing at urine soaked, graffiti lashed parts of town while looking grumpy. “Spending time walking around Reading town centre, it’s clear that certain shop-frontages have been overlooked. It’s simply unacceptable!”
You cared so deeply for Reading, Rob and this is how they repaid you!
20 April - 8 June 2017 – Rob Wilson on the campaign trail
This column said repeatedly, during the 8 weeks or so of election campaigning, that we should all appreciate Rob Wilson’s Twitter account while we could. Rob Wilson in full campaign mode was, truly, a thing of rare and wondrous beauty.
Highlights include, but aren’t limited to: Rob Wilson in shorts speaking at an old folk’s home; Rob Wilson tweeting #WetWetWet while holding an umbrella and being rained on; Rob Wilson, in an attempt to plump for a local charity, accidentally exhuming the knitwear ghosts of Brooks Newmark’s past and, of course, the piece de resistance: Rob Wilson forgetting his own name briefly while tooling around in the ‘Reading East Battle Van’.
Speaking of the Battle Van, here's the video one last, glorious time.
I'm talking to residents across Reading East. Obviously I can't knock on every door, but I do want to hear from as many people as possible. pic.twitter.com/bAcEFvq0OB— Rob Wilson (@RobWilson_RDG) May 25, 2017
Good night sweet prince!