Definitely warmer this morning. If this miracle continues Albert will be divesting himself of his long-johns, which he tells us he also wears at night due to the absence of central heating in Chez Brown. His recent fall into the pond was a blessing in disguise for those who occasionally find themselves downwind of the human ferret. But I musn’t be snide for the wee man helped me clean-out my 50-odd hens this morning, having noticed that my right knee was staging a go-slow of Scargill proportions.
For us at least the topic of Margaret Thatcher is beginning to trigger ennui. No disrespect intended, but we are tiring of the seemingly endless Tory grandees telling us that this was the greatest being since Gabriel popped down for a quick lookaround. On Bumblebee’s Question Time last night it was Kenneth Clarke’s turn to eulogise. When David Blunkett dared to point out that it was Clarke and his fellow senior Conservatives that staged the coup that ended her reign, the Hush Puppy man almost blew a fuse.
We much preferred a piece written by John Simpson who, throughout the 1980s, followed her whenever she went abroad. If you choose to believe Charles Moore the BBC has long conducted a vendetta against the Iron Lady, but when you read the measured words of the Beeb’s political editor that is hard to believe. Then again, Moore is just two weeks away from publishing his book and cash-tills are ringing in his mind.
Simpson writes that Thatcher never cared how television or the press presented her. She didn’t read the press, she didn’t watch TV and certainly didn’t believe in the supposed art of PR. He recalls one occasion when he was conducting an interview with her in India. The two of them were walking side-by-side when suddenly she put her foot down a hole and fell flat. A Downing Street aide screamed at Simpson that these pictures must never appear on air. The lady climbed to her feet and said; “Oh, don’t be silly – of course he can use them if he wants to!”. Simpson wonders what would have happened with Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell.
An inconsequential tale but it does serve to remind us that for all her faults Margaret Thatcher was not interested in pretence. In her own mind she was right and those that believed otherwise could go to hell, which of course is exactly where so many went, metaphorically speaking. In so many ways she was more honest than the creation she saw as her greatest, Tony Blair.
It was perhaps inevitable that yesterday he couldn’t resist the temptation to pause from amassing his fortune to issue a lecture to Ed Miliband. He warned him not to “shift to the left” and to refrain from identifying himself with those who “oppose what the government is doing”. The current Labour leader lost little time in distancing himself from his would-be advisor.
Of course Blair will never be forgiven for the lies that he told as he bagged his place alongside George W Bush. In exchange for a supposed role as the right-hand man of the world’s most powerful, he was prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions in a war that could never be won. He was equally prepared to make Britain the target for every madman in the world.
On the domestic front, under the guise of ‘New’ Labour, he followed the Thatcher lead in almost everything. He was a smooth performer and he won middle-class support. But he left the traditional Labour support without a champion. His was a world of spin, celebrity and total lack of sympathy for the less fortunate.
I met him at the time when we were creating the first Primary Care Trusts. I went to London with a party of local GPs. He entered the room, threw his coat on to vacant chair, and proceded to have us eating out of his hand. Believe me, he said, this venture will have my support for as long as it takes. Three years later he scrapped it.
We codgers have slowly come to quite admire Miliband and would venture to suggest that just about the last person on earth from whom he should take advice is Blair. Yes, Miliband lacks his charisma or eloquence but he has sincerity. In a strange way he resembles Thatcher in only saying what he believes to be true.
Of course he knows that the day of the socialist dinosaurs has gone, but he also knows that every policy must be considered in the light of its potential harm to families. He clearly has much of his father in his make-up. Time has moved on, and people no longer sing the Red Flag, but people do count.
Who knows, the public may come to like honesty with a kindly voice. Either way we hope he will stick to his honourable guns. Right now Britain needs an effective opposition and an incrasingly rebellious public needs to feel that there is a peaceful channel for protest.
As an intellegent young man he will seek advice from many. He would be well advised to exclude Mr Blair!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; ” If life was really fair, Elvis would be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead!” …..Johnny Carson