Friday, 23 December 2011
Britain is still a country for an old Member of Parliament called Lord Tebbit, once 'Mrs Thathcher's Rottweiler' and now 'on the side of the angels'
Norman Tebbit, an 80 year old political veteran, prominent in Margaret Thatcher's Governement in the 1980's and universally hated by the political left, is at last basking in popularity. An article in 'The Gaurdian' this week was entitled :
Lord Tebbit enjoying 'being on side of angels' in battle over legal aid cuts.
Apparently, he is campaigning to preserve legal aid for children involved in medical negligence cases and is opposing Government financial cutbacks in this area.
He said : "I have listened and read the arguments and I think there's sufficient in it that we ought to examine. It's nice to be on the side of the angels for once."
Michael Foot as Labour leader of the opposition in Parliament once memorably described him as a "semi-house trained polecat" in recognition of his fierce right wing views.
What you possibly didn't know about Norman, that he :
* was born into a working class family in Middlesex who after leaving school did 4 years of National Service in the Royal Air Force flying Meteor and Vampire jets and once had to break open the cockpit canopy of a burning Mosquito aircraft to escape.
* joined BOAC at the age of 22 in 1953 as a pilot, was an official in the British Air Line Pilots' Association and elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament in 1970.
* in the aftermath of the 1981 London riots, responded to a suggestion by a Young Conservative that rioting was the natural reaction to unemployment saying : " I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it".
* from that point on was often misquoted as saying directly to the unemployed : "get on your bike and look for work" and* during a debate in Parliament in 1978, was labelled by the Leader of the Labour Party, Michael Foot, as a "semi-house-trained polecat".
* in the 1979 Conservative Governement was appointed Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and in 1981 as Employment Secretary and was portrayed as a sinister, leather-clad bovverboy by the satirical TV puppet show, 'Spitting Image'.
* was injured in the IRA's bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton during the 1984 Conservative Party Conference , his wife, Margaret was permanently disabled and he resigned from the Cabinet in 1987 and stood down as a Member from Parliament in 1992
to care for her and re-entered Paliament as a 'lord'.
* responded to Mrs Thatcher's "No.No.No" speech in the House of Commons in 1990 :