I’d not realised quite what a heroic figure my cousin Simon is.
When we were all children, as the oldest and cleverest cousin, he was the one who made us all laugh with his commentary on slide shows of holiday photos (we’re talking family gatherings 70s style) and patiently let smaller relatives chase him about.
Our grandfather was from Finsbury and our grandmother from Holloway, but they later moved out to the Harrow area, and now Simon lives in Harrow too.
He works in Westminster, like local MP Tony McNulty. Unlike Mr McNulty, he commutes in and out every day. Like Mr McNulty, Simon has parents who also live in the Harrow area. But, unlike Mr McNulty, Simon claims no public money for their home.
Mr McNulty’s office insists that he has done nothing wrong. I hadn’t realised that the daily journey from central London to Harrow was so long and traumatic that it entitled MPs to a second homes allowance. But what moves me even more than Simon’s heroism is his modesty. When asked about his extraordinary journey, he simply says that thousands do the same every day.