I heard that Gordon Brown recently visited this constituency but instead of meeting local people or taking part in a public question time (as David Cameron did when he last visited) the Labour high command locked him away so that members of the public could not get near him. He visited The Edge, a new housing development near Edgware hospital. As we campaign in the area I notice there is not a single Labour poster as a result of the visit. We do speak with a younger guy who says that he is definitely voting Conservative and is eager to read our leaflet. At the right of the development there is a cul-du-sac which I cannot believe Gordon Brown went down – Cameron Close.
The weather is markedly changed today as it is overcast and raining. This will be a huge relief to everyone who is running the London Marathon. When we ran it two years ago, the weather was sunny and raining. It is vital that it rains as it stops the runners becoming dehaydrated and it is such a relief when it comes down. I will run more marathons but did not this year because of the election. It’s a good personal challenge and Claire and I were able to raise a large amount of money for the North London Hospice, which does so much good work for people in this area.
In the late afternoon we visit the Bhaktivedanta Temple. The Temple was donated by George Harrison back in the 1970s and the trustees are working on a memorial garden for him right now. I am introduced as a regular visitor who has a particular interest in the Goshalla, the cow shed – which is absolutely true. As we visit the cows again I grab the opportunity to ask the priest about the case of Davender Ghai. This is a Hindu man who wants to be cremated on an open-air pyre in Newscastle. It is an issue that recently came up with residents in Colindale and my view is that if someone wants to be cremated in this way then they should, in a sensitive manner, be allowed to. This is an issue that I have considered a lot as I have visited open air cremations on the banks of the river Ganges in India. There were huge piles of wood ready to be burnt and priests would bring the deceased out and place them on the wood. It was all very calm, respectful and well run.
We had a similar debate within Barnet Council as Cllr John Hart proposed introducing woodland burials. As we are running out of cemetary space in London, this is a sensible proposal and though it is not something that I would want (I also would not want cremation) I thought it was a good idea and voted to introduce it. Unfortunately, though it had support from all political parties, some councillors voted against it on religious beliefs. I think this was the wrong decision as they would not be forced to have a woodland burial but it would be for other people to decide if the option was available for them.