Almost 40 years ago I went to see Lord Jenkin at his constituency surgery. I was endeavouring, unsuccessfully, to get a government grant to help set up what ultimately became Community Links. I realised that a dreamy adolescent with a bit of an idea would never get a meeting with a senior politician in the approved manner so I pretended to be a constituent and just rocked up at the surgery. Patrick Jenkin, as he then was, not only saw me and talked to me at some length but we eventually did get our grant.
Patrick must have realised very early on in our relationship that I didn’t live in Woodford but perhaps he also saw some higher purpose in the shallow deceit. He was consistently kind to me and quietly supportive throughout his life even after it would also have become clear that my personal politics were different from his own.
The death of Lord Patrick Jenkin today reminds me of the true and important line from the maiden speech of Jo Cox, a political rival who we also lost in this fraught and often fractious year “We are far more united, and have far more in common with each other, than the things that divide us”.