Meeting with Tessa
I wasn't expecting much but I walked out of that meeting feeling positive and encouraged. She appeared to listen, she gave the impression that she cared and she seemed to be willing to learn from us. The most encouraging thing that she said, for me, was that 'this is the start of a dialogue'. I was expecting it to be a one-question, one-off. There I've met them, I've listened, box ticked.
But it was more than that, I lost count of the amount of questions I & others asked. The meeting overran by an hour and more are planned. Many questions went unanswered but we were left with a promise that they would be next time. We shall see. It is still far too little far too late and however the dialogue develops it will never be a substitute for an independent enquiry.
What really stuck me throughout the meeting was the incredibly dignity that filled the hall. There we all sat, the same people who were trapped underground on that day, together again. Many were meeting others and telling their story for the first time. They told Tessa, voices breaking, how they have been suffering alone. Even the most iron hearted of MP's could not fail to be moved by what she heard.
No tempers were lost nor voices raised, it was that same calm stoical resilience that people showed on the day. I came away feeling proud to have been bombed with such a wonderful bunch of people.