Public affairs is a small world, as Water UK parliamentary affairs
officer Miles Celic and Shelter communications director Olly Grender
have discovered. It so happens that Celic has unwittingly just bought
Grender’s three-bedroom house in Balham, that increasingly gentrified
corner of south London.
Grender tells me Celic and his girlfriend only realised the potential
identity of the vendor of their dream home when they saw the political
books and posters adorning the place. Grender’s Liberal Democrat
credentials are about as strong as Celic’s Labour links. She was Liberal
Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown’s speech-writer before joining Shelter.
Meanwhile, Celic worked as a researcher for Calum MacDonald, now a
Scottish Office minister, on projects including closer links with the
Lib Dems. What a coincidence.
After four years in Balham, Grender is moving up several price notches
to trendy Clapham, with her husband-to-be. ’Balham’s a lovely area. It’s
got a cosy feel about it,’ she tells me, adding that she also made a
pretty penny on the sale.