Friday, 21 April 2017

Helen Szamuely has died


I was shocked to read of the death of Helen Szamuely, one of the founders of UKIP, whose obituary is here. I met her four or five times. She was perhaps the rudest person I ever knew, but on Facebook not in real life. She was clever and had the gift of mostly being right, especially about the EEC/EC/EU.

She died much too young, but I am very happy that she lived to see the result of the referendum. It was the triumph of her life's work.

Helen's rudeness was Waughian. 

“I notice you have no arguments just personal invective,” she wrote to one commenter. “I am proud of my enemies and you are an excellent addition to the group. I shan’t bother to reply to you again but be assured your self-satisfied silliness is appreciated.”
I know people like that.

Reading her obituary, I am sorry that I was not a Eurosceptic in the 1980s or 1990s.

I am not sure that I should have been a Thatcherite but I should have been a Eurosceptic. There were no social conservatives in those days. When one is young left of centre people seem to embody the idealism and sweetness of youth and conservatives, unless they are high-born cavaliers, often seem prematurely middle aged. But conservatives, even if Repulsive, are always Right.

She could not give Nigel Farage, whom she hated, any credit for the referendum result, which was silly of her. She also, although a Tory, admired the Suffragettes, which seemed to me to make no sense.

It's interesting that the three British people I have known who were most passionately anti-EU were Jewish, which contradicts the canard that Jews are not patriots. Helen, born a Russian-Hungarian Jew in Moscow, was a model immigrant, as British as the flag.

Add to them Dean Godson, whose parents were American Jews and who cared more about keeping Northern Ireland in the Union than anyone from outside the Six Counties, apart from Enoch Powell and possibly me. Dean even wrote a biography of Official Unionist leader David Trimble so long that, so I am told, even David Trimble, who was intensely interested in the subject of the book, couldn't get to the end of it.

Helen had the great good luck to be supervised for her doctorate by AJP Taylor. She was very learned in Golden Age detective stories, which she convincingly argued were a conservative literary form. She wrote these blogs, which of course survive her, as blogs do.

1 comment:

  1. She also, although a Tory, admired the Suffragettes, which seemed to me to make no sense.

    The Suffragettes were an abomination.