One of the great things about running Politico's for seven years was that I got to meet a huge number of people from across the political spectrum, who otherwise I would never have got to know. Duncan Brack was one of those people.
Unless you're a LibDem activist you've probably never heard of him. But he's been a leading light in the LibDems for more years than he cares to remember. He was Head of Policy under Paddy Ashdown and for several years now has been chairman of the party's conference committee. It's safe to say that he is on the 'beard and sandals' wing of the LibDems and viewed Charles Kennedy's leadership with barely disguised contempt. He is no more likely to say "read the Orange Book, it's got some great ideas" than to vote Conservative. He is also one of the driving forces of the thriving LibDem History Group. I've also pubished several excellent books which he has written or edited and he's an author who is both professional and a pleasure to deal with.
Why am I writing this? Why am I am paying tribute to a LibDem? Partly because tonight I am attending Duncan's 50th birthday bash, but mainly because Duncan is one of the unsung people in this country who make politics tick. He's a man of integrity, intellect and dedication. And I don't say that about many LibDems! But more important than that, I am proud to call him a friend.
And if the LibDems have any sense, it won't be long before he changes his name to Lord Brack of Streatham!
Happy birthday, Duncan.