It’s not every day you get an invite to their Lordship’s House, to walk through Black Rod’s Garden, to enter the Palace of Westminster through the hallowed portals of the Victoria Tower (that’s where HMQ arrives by horse-drawn carriage for the State Opening of Parliament, don’tcha know… I was on foot).
Nor am I in the habit of spending a Tuesday evening eating canapés in the company of Sir Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Charlie Condou, Mick Hucknall and sundry other celebrities I either didn’t recognise or wasn’t introduced to.
The invitation came courtesy of The Fatherhood Institute, the charity dedicated to dads, working to improve our role and status and press for a fairer deal for fathers generally.
As they said in their presentation, their aim is ‘a great dad for all’ and they’ll do all they can to help make it happen – whether that’s campaigning for equality of paternity entitlement or educating and supporting dads on a day-to-day basis.
It’s a small charity, not as well-known as it ought to be (hence the high-profile guests – myself excluded – and celebrity status of many of it’s newly-appointed ambassadors). They want to raise their profile. They want (as their chief executive said) to make the UK like Iceland (which is fine by me, I love Iceland…) in terms both of public expectations and institutional support, they want every child to have a great dad, and they want to help dads do better.
As Tony Robinson said in his speech, ‘…we’re all crap at it but a great dad is someone who aspires to be’. They don’t want perfection but they want us all, dads that is, to aim for it.
The irony, of course, is that while we were all listening to all this someone else (in my case, my mum and dad and – when she got home from work – my wife) was at home looking after the kids. Pity they weren’t invited, really.
With loos like these I could even have done the children’s bathtime…