Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Clare Cozens Memorial - 11/12/10

I was honoured to have been asked to share my memories of Clare at the memorial service which was held at St Giles Church on Saturday.

Everyone who talks about Clare talks about how broad ranging her passions were and how she was exceptional in  all the things she committed to.  She was renaissance woman in that she was equally exceptional in many ways.

A passionate champion of equality.

A great cook.

A dedicated animal lover.

A labour activist who took local community action as her starting point.

A singer and musician.

But these were not in separate compartments, they all blended together.

So I remember being in Clare's front room,

with a cat on the arm of my chair and a dog on my lap,

eating a  bread roll fresh from the oven,

alongside clare's friends from the local labour party branch,

while clare challenged us just not to put up with a situation where local labour functions were being held in places which were not accessible to disabled people,

great food, friendship, politics, equality - all together,

and I remember clare and her friends from the local party organising a highly successful fundraiser in motzarella and pomodoro, at which David Lammie spoke about equality at, and which Clare sang at with Cleo and Ali - the red rosettes.  Music, politics, equality, friendship - all together.

But though she was incredibly warm and welcoming - we all felt cosy and at home in her front room, her kitchen and her garden - she was not a soft option person.  She expected us to be as good as we could - I always felt the weight of her high expectations on my shoulders.  She would not let you off the hook if you did something wrong.    Not in a nasty judgmental way.  But just so you would be better in the future. 

So my personal memorial to Clare is to think, as I go about what I do - specially in the local party, in the local community and on equality - would this be good enough for Clare.  And that will guide me well.

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