Sunday, 8 August 2010


I am reliably informed that my first participation in politics was being pushed around Coleraine in a pram as my parents participated in Loyalist Association of Workers protests against Heath and the Sunningdale Agreement.  I doubt if I was able to take much in at the age of 1.  However, as I grew up with an interest in politics Heath was a figure eminently easy to dislike - not solely for his policies here but rather his entire period of rule.  His behaviour after he'd lost the leadership is also an excellent example of how a politician's actions can actively destory their legacy.

The ultimate Heath moment for me was during a BBC documentary about the UK and Europe. Shortly after the UK joined the French President visited Downing Street.  A key topic of discussion was a single currency to be introduced within a few short years.  During the debate about membership Heath had been repeatedly explicit in ruling this out.  When challenged on this Heath simply dismissed it - Everyone knew that was what it was all about - No not if you'd been told it wasn't.  Arguably his misrepresentations from that period have haunted the UK's relationship with Europe ever since.

Now the case for the defence has been produced with the publication of his official biography.  Blue Blog argues:

"Ziegler’s elegant, discerning and highly enjoyable biography enables us to understand this hard-working, resolute, stubborn Tory leader more fully and sympathetically than was possible during his lifetime. Above all, he wanted to modernise Britain, clearing away habits and attitudes that held the country back. This great task would pass to subsequent Tory leaders, first to Margaret Thatcher and now to David Cameron."

I shall read it with interest but my scepticism will probably defeat even the most persuasive writing.


Charlie Reynolds said...

The pram pusher was to blame for it all

Anonymous said...

Heath was the first of the non patrician tories and also a person who believed in Europe as a force for good against petty nationalism. It is hard for me to disllike these aspects of him.