Tuesday 19 February 2019

Nothing is as old-fashioned as a future that has died


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Michael Heseltine, now Lord Heseltine, as minister for aerospace and shipping, poses with the supersonic Concorde in 1972. 

Concorde had many grave problem, always lost money and was scrapped. The Common Market (now the EU), which Lord Heseltine then as now strongly advocated seemed, like Concorde, dazzlingly modern in 1972 and offering a hopeful scientific future. In 1972 (I was ten) Great Britain seemed in worrying relative decline, whereas now it is the continent that is in marked decline.

He does look spivvy in the picture but he once said he "could pass for white in the Tory party". He went to Shrewsbury. A girl I knew who was a rollicking snob briefly worked for him before working for the grandson of a duke and said he was not a gentleman. Was it Alan Clarke or John Wakeham or both who said that he was "the sort of man who had to buy all his own furniture"? 

But these things are not important to me, who am a man of the people.

Good for Lord Heseltine that he made a fortune in publishing.  Harold Macmillan's grandfather did too.

Alan Clark's family made its money from a cotton factory, which reminds me that A.N. Wilson wrote a poem about the Queen which he published anonymously, pretending it was by a courtier. It contained the memorable lines
Mr Chamberlain's factory made tacks. 
How they would have preferred Lord Halifax.

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