Thursday, July 27, 2006

The 41st anniversary of disaster

On this day in 1965 Edward Heath became Conservative Leader. As is so often the case with these things, he was not the frontrunner in the contest. But the next ten years are perhaps the period above all others that most Conservatives would like to wish out of history.

Why anything thinks Ted Heath was ever a Conservative is beyond me. Conservatives believe in the rule of law and order, not in giving in to militancy. Conservatives believe in a strong approach to the economy, not chickening and U-turning at the earliest sign of problems. Conservatives believe in parliamentary democracy, not in imposing dictatorship on part of the country. Conservatives believe in the sovereignty of nations, not in submerging national identity into artificial constructs. Conservatives believe in giving clear leadership to the nation, not in making it a serious question as to whether the country is run by Parliament or the National Union of Mineworkers. Conservatives believe in traditional communities, not in ripping up and redrawing the map of the country.

Truly this is not a day to remember greatly.


Bill said...

The obsessive dislike amongst a lot of 'core Conservatives' of Edward heath is a symptopm of why the Party got into the mess it did from the end of the 1980s until, perhaps Howard, then Cameron took over. Bizarrely a lot of what Heath wanted to do was exactly what Thatcher DID DO during her first six or seven years as PM, until the right-wing nut-jobs gained the ascendancy. I well recall sharing several bottle of champagne obtained quite illegally (and at great expense!) in Jeddah after Maggie was elected in 1979 - that was a wonderful night(!) after the dark, dismal years of Wilson and Callaghan.

Heath's premiership was not sucessful, I would readily agree (and I lived thru a part of it until I fled the country in 1973 for Casablanca!), but that had nothing to do with his underlying ideology on economicc matters, which was VERY close to Thatcher's; their only real disagreement was over Europe, and look where that has got the Tories electorally! Heath was no saint, bu he wasn't the devil either. Personally I mourn him still.

C4' said...

Bizarrely a lot of what Heath wanted to do was exactly what Thatcher DID DO during her first six or seven years as PM, until the right-wing nut-jobs gained the ascendancy.

Don't let the Seldon manifesto fool you. Heath was a traitor and spent the rest of his life trying to undermine capitalism.

Paul Burgin said...

Obviously I don't agree with a lot of what Heath said and did, but (and I regard this as ironic as you are in the same Party as Heath was in, not me!) I don't think he was all that bad. I always liked him as a person as well.
When he signed the UK into the EEC, it was under the understanding of it being over issues of trade. This was ratified by the 1975 referendum called by Wilson. Now Heath may well have had ulterior motives there, but I do think that, with regards to free trade and the first Pro- European moves, the UK benefitted and Heath's tenacity in making sure we were signed in helped us economically.
Although it might not have helped New Zealand! :(
He was also straightforward in day to day dealings with people, many leaders weren't, and if I were a senior politician from that time I would rather be stabbed in the front by Heath than in the back by, say, George Gardiner.
Plus it is thought that Heath might have had a mild form of Aspergers' so his personal style couldn't therefore have been helped.
Plus, as President of the BoT he also scrapped retail price maintenance in 1964.

Anonymous said...

Ted was in fact a nice man.He was a great friend of the long serving Eastbourne MP Sir Charles Taylor.On one fishing trip with Sir Charles, Ted slipped and fell into the river!
The oil price shock of the early 1970s was instrumental in undermining his government's economic policies.
And of course he did buy my brother a whisky!


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