posted on Jul, 18 2005 @ 07:33 AM
Ted Heath was the son of a carperter, he went to Oxford and very much a man of his time.
In WW2 he personally went to war and served in the Royal Artillery. He was a man who understood, on a personal level, the agonies of Britain and
Europe riven by war and catastrophe.
During the disaster of Suez he pretty much kept the tory party together and he spent over 10yrs slogging away with steady unglamourous diplomacy all
across Europe to gain the UK membership to the EEC/EU.
Rightly Heath will be long remembered as having finally done the UK the huge service of finally negotiating British membership of the EEC/EU.
(EU haters might just - for once - give a little thought as to why.
It could hardly have been for any notions of personal vanity, as some insist, considering the relentless attacks he faced from many in his own tory
party for it ever since signing - and worse, convincing the public to approve it in referendum)
He (fairly uniquely these days for a tory) had a sharp sense of humour and wit.
(Witness his echo of Thatchers' 'rejoice, rejoice, rejoice' when he heard she had finally gone.)
He also (fairly uniquely for many politicians these days, full stop) had a life outside of politics too (famously being an excellent competitive
yachtsman and a concert standard conductor).
Undoubtedly Heath saw Thatcher and the (on-going) move to the right she and others in the tory party initiated as a disaster for the tory
party.......and, even if the results of her policies were delayed, he was right.
Thatcher and her right-wing chums have wrecked the tory party for at least 2 generations......with absolutely no serious signs of revival on the
horizon, at all.
(Labour party supporters used to point with horror to the 13yrs of tory rule 1951 -1964 and shudder; one can only wonder what tory supporters feel
about being out of power 8yrs+ with no signs of coming back any time soon.)
Those who criticised his losing the election in 1974 to Labour (and some claim the Miners strike of the time) might like to reflect that it was the
public that decided the outcome that election, not Heath.
The public was not at all happy at the 'direction' of the then tory gov (if you know about or look at the legislative program there were many
'tough' policies - especially in respect of industrial relations, or lack of them).
No matter what the 'conviction' zealots might claim, you can't force the public to adopt a particular direction if the public don't want it.
Much as there is plenty in Heaths' tory party/gov to criticise (surprisingly similar in aspects to Thatchers' later efforts in places......not that
the Thatcher fans would care to admit it) he will no doubt be missed as a man of great experience and some wisdom.
[edit on 18-7-2005 by sminkeypinkey]