My Week: David Laws, Campaigner for the Pension Rights of Electricity Workers

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The Independent Culture

Get up, it's extremely cold and I am worried that it will spoil my tennis. I'm on the court at 10, but it's so cold I can barely hold the racket. One of my friends from Unison rings to say that National Grid think they are going to have to repay the money they took from our pension fund.


I get a call in the morning to confirm the court number and start-time of 9.30 for Wednesday. This causes me some consternation, because we have sent out 1,200 letters to members of the Association of Electricity Supply Pensioners telling them it is a 10am start. This will cause difficulties over cheap day-returns. Some of the lovely East Midlands ladies call to say that the rail fare will be pounds 60; they apologise for not being able to come.


At bloody 8.30 the phone starts ringing; I get 50 calls from people committed to coming and some giving apologies. In the evening my girlfriend arrives with huge quantities of food from Marks & Spencer. I crack open a bottle of wine and put my feet up. Later I get out my suit with the mothballs; I am not particularly happy to be wearing a tie, as I haven't worn one in five years, but I think I should try and look reasonable as I might hit the TV.

I get a call from my solicitor, Peter Wood, to revise our meeting for 8am tomorrow. I watch the news before going to bed.


Up at 5.30. I am lucky that my girlfriend has offered me a lift to the station. I am feeling reasonably confident, I arrive early at my solicitor's. Peter is still in his cycling gear when he tells me we've won. I let out a big yell, hug him and dance. My fellow campaigner Reg and his girlfriend arrive, and we study the judgment. I am delighted to find the decision is unanimous, a victory for 2,000 members in all the electricity companies in the country - a victory for the ordinary man.

I am astonished to see how small the court is. There are about 60 members here, which is a joy to see; it's the breath of real people in this stuffy atmosphere. My emotions rise as the judges walk in; the size of the victory is beginning to dawn on me. The normal team from National Grid is missing; they are too embarrassed to turn up.

On leaving the court, there is a clamour of goodwill and congratulations, which is extremely touching. I make every endeavour to stay together with Reg and Peter. Reg seems to have problems keeping up, but he is 75. All the press are there. I do a photo-call, with some astonishing posing.

Everyone goes to The George pub. Within 10 minutes, the barman tells me that the limit behind the bar from our fund has been reached; we rapidly agree to extend it.

I have an interview at Meridian TV for the six o'clock news. I feel like it hasn't gone well, but they seem happy. My girlfriend arrives unexpectedly. I'm in a happy mood and indulge in a cigar, a coffee and a brandy. I am determined to catch and video the news.


Get up and listen to all my answering-machine messages from yesterday. They are heart-warming and congratulatory. Local radio and newspapers have also called but I know it's too late to call back. It was yesterday's news and today it ain't. Today is clear-up-the-house day, then I'm off to the town centre to do my shopping. In the evening I meet my girlfriend in the leisure centre bar. It's a nice end to the day.


I call Peter in the morning to speak about the case. I've left it a couple of days before calling him, to collect my thoughts. In the afternoon I make a guest list for a celebratory evening I'm arranging. I've got to be realistic, about 30 to 40 people, I don't want a wild party.