John Simkin Posted July 20, 2005 Share Posted July 20, 2005 I have never voted for Edward Heath or his party but I have always respected him as a political figure (I know everybody in now saying this but I really mean it). I say this for the following reasons: (1) In 1938 he went with three other undergraduates to observe the Spanish Civil War. He met leaders of the Popular Front government and on his return he campaigned against General Francisco Franco and the Nationalist Army. (2) Heath was a strong opponent of the appeasement policy of Neville Chamberlain. Although a member of the Conservative Party, Heath supported his university tutor, A. D. Lindsay, the anti-appeasement candidate in the Oxford by-election in October, 1938. (3) In the 1950 General Election Heath won Bexley with a majority of 133. A committed European, Heath made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 26th June in favour of the Schuman Plan. He ended his speech with the words: "It was said long ago in the House that magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom. I appeal tonight to the government to follow that dictum, and to go into the Schuman Plan to develop Europe and to coordinate it in the way suggested. (4) Heath was a one nation Conservative as illustrated in his article showed in the seminal Conservative pamphlet, One Nation (1950). (5) In 1965 Heath supported attempts by Harold Wilson to bring down the white minority regime in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This upset Conservatives on the right and Heath had to deal with a rebellion led by Lord Salisbury. (6) Heath lost the 1966 General Election to Harold Wilson. In 1968 Wilson's popularity slumped after Enoch Powell made his "rivers of blood" speech on immigration. Instead of supporting the use of the race issue to gain favour with the British electorate, Heath sacked Powell as a member of the shadow cabinet. (7) He considered Margaret Thatcher to be a right-wing authoritarian and like another former Conservative prime minister, Harold Macmillan, Heath constantly criticized her policies. (8) After leaving office he did not spend his time getting obsence amounts of money from the lecture circuit in the US. Instead he campaigned for justice for the Third World, for example, he was a key member of the Brandt Commission. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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