It didn't say much, but from the gist, he sounds like he could've been my kind of guy - accomplished blue-collar type politician (if I'm reading that right), a yachtsman (cool), musician (in what capacity?) and he was knighted. I never really knew anything about the guy, but he sounds like he was the working man's guy.
Banco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2297 times:
Quoting Gkirk (Reply 2): Old gits like Banco and Skidmarks will remember him though
Mmm. I was 2 when he left office. Nice try, Kirkie.
He wasn't a particularly good Prime Minister though. It was a bit of a surprise when the Conservatives won the 1970 election and that government was marked by external difficulty with the oil crisis as well as internal strife with the miners strike.
He did indeed take the UK into the (then) EEC, something he always felt was his greatest achievement.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
He played piano, even in public, very nicely. He changed the currency from 1 Pound to 20 Shillings to 12 pennies into 1 Pound at 100 pence, just two years before I went to London for three months in 1972 to learn English. A real service for what I was most grateful to the gentleman. He not only brought Britain into the EU, he initiated the change of Britain into METRIC measurements including degrees centigrade. He reformed civil aviation (uniting BEA, BOAC, Cambrian Airways and Northeast Airways -- all state-owned -- into British Airways, gave more rights to the independent airlines, etc. So that he in fact was a quite successful British PrimeMinister. His problem rather was that he as a person was popular while his party was not.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13606 posts, RR: 76
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2240 times:
Heath was passionate about the UK being in the EEC, as it was then, due to his own experiences, something that many politicians today (who have been nothing but politicos), too often forget.
As a student in the 30's he was an observer in the Spanish Civil War and thought the UK should intervene on the Republican side.
He also went to Nazi Germany, was horrified by what he saw of the nature of that regime, at a rally Hitler came close enough to brush the young Heath's sleeve.
In WW2, he was in the fighting in NW Europe, in armored vehicles, rising to Lt.Col by the end of the war.
From then, he always was for a closer Europe, to prevent another war.
As a moderate 'One Nation' Tory (then the norm), he rose to become leader in 1965, the first properly elected and from a more humble background.
Unexpectedly winning in 1970, he started out on a course similar to what Thatcher would later emulate, but events changed this.
R/R went bust in 1971, as a vital defence contractor, as well as an important economic asset in it's own right, Heath nationalized it.
Less clear was why the Upper Clyde Shipyards were a year later.
But the early 70's, when the UK's long standing economic problems were coming home to roost, was not a good time to be PM.
His first chancellor, Anthony Barbour, was a disaster, creating false booms, Home Secretary Reginald Maulding was too, disinterested and reactionary on Northern Ireland.
Heath was convinced the UK industry needed the shaking of complacency that he thought EEC membership would bring, as former Imperial Markets slipped away.
So actually implementing what Labour PM Wilson had proposed, EEC membership, was more than just a personal goal for Heath.
The Heath period was marked by embarrassing climb-downs against mass union power, however my personal belief is that at this stage, 1972-74, UK unemployment was still low, many people were living in a fool's paradise, Thatcher could do a decade later what Heath failed to, and a whole llot more against his 'One Nation' principles, as conditions were that much worse.
After losing twice in 1974, the first election being called early by Heath during industrial strife, Heath was out, the unlikely replacement being Thatcher.
So began what Heath's critics called the 'longest sulk in history'.
But while Heath could be grumpy to say the least, his analysis, that Thatcher's destruction of 'One Nation' conservatism, the personality cult, the dogma, was so alien to Tory principles it would, after she went, wreck the party, was true.
He may not have outlived his nemesis, but the last decade has surely shown that he was spot on about the damage Maggie would do to their party.
Heath was the least pro-US PM in post war Downing Street, he wasn't anti in the leftist sense at all, he just had a mild distrust of US motives, while still being a staunch NATO supporter, maybe it was fall out from Vietnam, or that the President then was Nixon, maybe Heath, well before Watergate, saw something in Nixon he did not like.